Which Marketplace First: Amazon or Ebay?

July 12, 2016

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When starting up your eCommerce business, you’re initially faced with the choice of where to sell first. There are a plethora of marketplace options, but the two biggest, and most dominant, are eBay and Amazon. Selling on these marketplaces gives you the chance of increased product exposure, placing your items on sale in front of a highly captive audience who are actively looking and ready to buy. Amazon is the most popular eCommerce store with almost a hundred million unique visits every month.  eBay is the largest auction site in the world, with over 150 million active registered users. Both provide sellers with the opportunity for increased sales without the need for expensive website development and unpredictable marketing costs. But where should you start first?

There’s no simple answer as to which marketplace to choose

Each marketplace has pros, and each has cons. These will be different for each seller too, as the positives and negatives vary depending on what it is that you’re selling. There are a few key factors to consider when deciding where to sell:

Level of Experience

Ease of use can be a big deal breaker for new sellers, and so consider your experience first and foremost. eBay tends to be the first place where brand new eCommerce sellers will begin, because it’s easier to actually secure those first sales, learn about the process of selling, and improve your offerings in a shorter space of time. Whilst Amazon is more ‘professional sales’ orientated, the listing process is more rigid with many product details pre-populated and clearer rules to follow, which makes it easy to input items for sale. However, competition is fierce on Amazon, and it isn’t easy to win the sale. Depending on what you’re selling, you could be waiting months for your first transaction.


If you’re building up your own eCommerce business, branding is a big factor to consider when selling on a marketplace. Amazon has a highly established brand, which means buyers have increased trust and legitimacy in the products they see on there. But the flip side of that means that there’s very limited opportunity for you to promote your own brand on there. Buyers feel like they are buying from Amazon, not your business.

eBay on the other hand does allow sellers to brand their own shopfront, and is seen more as hosting platform for multiple businesses. This gives you the chance to display a really strong brand to customers. With both marketplaces, if you use software like ChannelGrabber, you’ll be able to reinforce your own brand through customisable invoices.


The big difference between the two marketplaces is their setup. The trick to succeeding on eBay – being the top of search results – is different to being successful on Amazon – winning the Buy Box. As mentioned above, Amazon’s listing system is very rigid, with most product information pre-populated, giving you very little flexibility for customisation. eBay however allows you to write what you want and have relatively complete control over your template listing. There’s a lot more product freedom on eBay too, allowing you to list non-standard items. On Amazon, you need a Pro Account to sell unique products, and even then there are still limitations.

Whilst eBay offers the flexibility of auctions and ‘Buy It Now listings’, on Amazon, you’re competing to be the product that’s in the ‘Buy Box’, and that’s primarily won by price (amongst other factors). On Amazon’s Marketplace, there’s always the risk that Amazon will choose to sell your product directly, pushing you out of the equation. But on the plus side, it does have a great referral algorithm that suggests your products to customers when they’re buying similar or related products.


The final factor to consider is the fees you will have to pay to the marketplace for the privilege of selling there. Whilst these can usually be factored into your profit margins, they can be complicated on both platforms. Again, it depends on what you’re selling. For example Amazon charges an 8% referral fee for video games consoles but a 25% fee for jewellery, compared with eBay’s 10% final value fee. But, eBay also has an insertion fee and other optional fees to consider, whilst Amazon charges a variable closing fee based on delivery charges. And don’t forget, if you’re accepting PayPal payments on eBay, there will be additional fees there too. Do your research on both eBay fees and Amazon fees, and compare the seller accounts of each to decide which option might be best for you.

Why not try both?

There is no quick win on either eBay or Amazon. Whilst one marketplace might work best for one product, another might work better for a different item. So why not try out both of them, to test which will work best for you? Using software like ChannelGrabber, you’ll be able to synchronise all your stock across both marketplaces, and process all your orders from one place, so you won’t need to keep switching between the two channels.

Just list your products on both eBay and Amazon, and then simply let ChannelGrabber do all the hard work, giving you the time to see which marketplace works better for you.

Learn more about Amazon and eBay order management