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Online Business Training - Sell Used Books on Amazon and eBay

Amazon versus eBaySelling on eBay and Amazon - 9 Points of Comparison

By: Skip McGrath

I have been selling on Amazon since 2006 as a merchant fulfilled seller and in 2010 we moved into FBA.  Since moving to FBA, our sales have grown almost 800% and we have been very profitable. (FBA means Fulfillment By Amazon –You send your goods into Amazon in bulk and they handle the shipping, returns and customer service).

I get a lot of questions asking me what are the differences between selling –and making money, on eBay versus selling on Amazon.  We now make a lot more money on Amazon than we do on eBay, but we still sell in both venues.


Amazon vs eBay - Nine Key Comparison Points

Many eBay sellers have wondered if it’s really worth selling on Amazon. Some feel there are too many rules and it wouldn’t be worth the effort. I’ve chosen a dozen points of comparison that may help sellers make a decision.

Fees

Amazon’s commission and FBA fees work out substantially higher than eBay’s, but we sell so much more on Amazon that we make more money overall.

Advantage: Tie

Format (Auction vs. Fixed-price)

eBay Auctions are the best way to get market value for used, vintage and collectibles. eBay is better if you are selling unique items and want the best prices.  But Amazon is the king of new products.  The one exception is used books which sell quite well on Amazon

Amazon is the fixed-price king, but eBay has moved strongly in that direction by downplaying auctions and encouraging fixed-price listings. The advantage is in the buyers. The Amazon buyer is more affluent, and pays a higher average price for products.

Advantage: Auctions: eBay
Advantage: Fixed-price: Amazon

Stability

Online retailers rely on the stability of their chosen platforms to operate smoothly. Changes cost time (and time is money). Sellers have developed systems that allow them to list, sell, and deliver items. When rules change, or things don’t work, the systems break down and profit is lost.

Amazon has had very few major changes in the past few years and even those are fairly minor. Even though there are some restrictions, they generally stay the same, and are enforced consistently. When changes have been made, they tend to stick and sellers can adjust.

eBay makes major changes every year, including Feedback, fees, how the search engine works, digitally delivered items, search results, Detailed Seller Ratings, and more are to be expected.  eBay makes their major changes in the Spring and fall.  Sellers have been greatly affected in real and perceived ways. Some changes have been rolled out, only to be reversed causing even more consternation among sellers.

Advantage: Amazon

Feedback

Both eBay and Amazon have a feedback system allowing buyers and sellers to record their impression of a transaction. Both sites allow buyers to leave negative comments for sellers. Both sites only allow sellers to leave only positive comments for buyers.

The eBay culture has given much more weight to feedback than their Amazon counterpart. Amazon buyers can see the seller’s feedback score, but tend to overlook it more readily than eBay buyers. Amazon’s A-Z Guarantee may have a bearing on this by making the buyer feel more protected when purchasing an item.

Amazon does not "'disadvantage"' sellers, as eBay does, by moving them down in the results when shoppers perform a search. eBay does this by considering the seller’s feedback score and making them less visible to shoppers, rather than letting buyers make the choice themselves. (But, if your feedback becomes very poor on Amazon they may suspend your account.

Advantage (especially for sellers): Amazon

Branding

Amazon restricts sellers from reaching out to buyers and marketing to them. eBay used to allow this but no longer does.

Recent changes at eBay have virtually eliminated the ability to use eBay as a lead generating tool for off-eBay business. eBay has all but forbidden any outside links from any eBay pages including custom store pages, and About Me pages. This has effectively neutralized eBay as a "'branding"' tool.

A new technique on Amazon (and you can do it on eBay too) is private labeling.  You create a product and put your own private label on it.  This way you always own the buy box on Amazon

Advantage: Amazon

Taxes

Marketplace sellers are responsible for the sales tax on any items sold on Amazon.com, and if necessary, they generally add this cost into the price of their items.

Both Amazon and eBay provides a mechanism to collect the taxes in addition to the sale price. This way the taxes don’t eat into the seller’s profits.  But, although both sites will collect and pay the taxes to you, you are still responsible for filing and paying the taxes

Advantage: Tie

Average Sale Price

Amazon buyers are affluent, and willing to spend more on similar items and are less bargain-hunter mentality. eBay buyers tend to look for bargains, and are willing to wait through an auction to save a buck or two.

As a seller, I’ll pick the buyer that is willing to spend more. I have actually used eBay to source products at rock-bottom prices, that sold for good profit on Amazon. Amazon buyers often don’t even look on eBay, and they ultimately pay more.

Advantage: Amazon

Payment Methods

Amazon sellers must use Amazon Payments to accept payment. That’s it. Amazon collects the payment, and deposits it into your bank account twice per month.  They collect and deposit the funds with no fees added. (But they do take the credit card risk which PayPal does not)

eBay sellers can accept PayPal, and credit cards.

Amazon sellers do not have to send invoices, payment reminders, or track unpaid items. If Amazon cannot collect the payment, you don’t have a sale, and your item is still listed on their site. eBay’s system is simply more work, more time, and ultimately costs more to manage as a seller.

The big advantage of PayPal is I get my money faster

Advantage: Tie

Shipping

There are two ways to sell on Amazon – Merchant Fulfilled (you ship the item to the customer) or FBA (You ship your items to Amazon and they handle the shipping and customer service

If you Merchant fulfill, Amazon gives sellers a "'shipping credit"', based on an item’s category. This does not always cover the full shipping amount, but usually does. The amount is fixed by Amazon. You cannot ask for more from the customer, and even if the shipping credit does not cover your shipping costs, you must ship the item. Since the shipping credit is fixed, it can be figured in when setting your price.

Which is better? I like to have control over my shipping. But if a seller is careful, it’s pretty easy to figure in the shipping credit on Amazon and not lose money. Even if there is a loss, it’s minimal. (And on some items I actually make a little money on the Amazon credit so it tends to even out over time)

I have found items I wanted on eBay, only to leave because of the outrageous shipping charges. ($1.99 item + $10.99 shipping for a cell phone cover.) I go straight to Amazon, because I know shipping is standard and I won’t feel ripped off. How many other buyers do the same? I’ll take those buyers…

Advantage: Amazon

Summary

There is no question eBay is best for some items, while Amazon is best for others. But the overlap is incredibly large. The vast majority of items that sell on Amazon will also sell on eBay, and vice versa.

The important thing to remember is the shoppers are different. While you and I may shop on several sites, many Amazon shoppers are very loyal to Amazon and won’t even visit eBay. Some eBayers feel it would be a sin to shop on Amazon. By selling on both sites, you are potentially getting millions of additional eyeballs on your products.

If you are avoiding Amazon because you think there are too many rules – take a look at eBay’s User Agreement. eBay is moving closer to Amazon’s model, in many ways. Like it or not, this is the wave of the future. Will you be ahead of the game, or will you be playing catch-up?


So which platform is best for you?  Either way, Id like to share with you what Ive learned.  

The Complete Amazon Marketing System

Complete Amazon Marketing System

The course consists of four main sections, plus over a dozen free bonus items. This system will teach you about online business basics, Amazon selling basics, advanced selling strategies and product sourcing.  Did I mention that this product comes with a 90-day, no-questions-asked guarantee? Let me show you how to sell on Amazon.

The Complete eBay Marketing System

Complete eBay Marketing System

You will learn everything you need to know to get your eBay business up and running. Topics include eBay business basics, creating auctions, launching auctions, advanced selling strategies, product acquisition and more. There are also bonus items and a 90-day, no-questions-asked guarantee.




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