As an experienced ecommerce seller who has managed extensive operations on both Amazon and eBay, buyers often ask me – which site is better for purchasing products in 2023?
There are pros and cons to sourcing goods on each marketplace from a buyer and seller point of view. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll compare key factors shoppers should consider based on my decade of experience selling on both platforms.
Let‘s first look at how the Amazon and eBay marketplaces differ at their cores before comparing key elements like product selection, pricing, shipping, returns, service and more.
Amazon serves primarily as a retail platform, competing aggressively on pricing and service levels. eBay operates as a facilitator connecting individual buyers and sellers through listings and auctions.
These differing models lead to variances in product availability, costs, policies and overall buying experience. Neither is wholesale better or worse – it comes down to aligning with your purchasing preferences.
Product Selection and Availability
Consumers recognize Amazon today as the "Everything Store" with seemingly endless selection. But eBay also offers extensive catalog, albeit with more used and specialty goods.
- Primarily new condition, branded products
- Extensive selection across all major retail categories
- Large volume of eligible Prime items
- Significant availability of electronics, media, apparel
- Limited vintage or collectible assortment
- Mix of new and used inventory
- Strength in rare/collectible categories
- Vintage and handmade goods unavailable elsewhere
- Useful for locating hard-to-find or out of production items
- Requires more hunting for hidden gems
Based on my experience, eBay retains an edge for sourcing uncommon, niche items you won‘t reliably find on Amazon. But Amazon carries almost any mainstream consumer product at equal or better pricing.
We know sellers ultimately determine listing prices on both marketplaces, but the platform business models impact pricing in different ways.
- Higher sales volume leads to lower wholesale rates from suppliers
- Lower referral fees for sellers (avg 15%) than eBay
- Negotiates discounts from vendors to undercut other retailers
- Large shipping infrastructure reduces fulfillment costs
- Smaller scale means higher wholesale rates for sellers
- Significant 10% final value fee on seller‘s total sale amount
- Less bargaining power vs major brands / suppliers
- Sellers have higher packaging and shipping expenses
This allows Amazon to underprice eBay on identical new items in most cases. Prime also entices buyers to purchase more frequently with free shipping perks.
However, eBay delivers better value for discontinued, unique and handmade goods. And you can sometimes negotiate better deals directly with sellers.
Shipping and Handling
Amazon sets the standard for convenience here with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
- Free 2-day Prime shipping incentivizes bigger purchases
- Packages arrive faster – avg 1.5 days from order to delivery
- Reliable Amazon fulfillment and tracking
- Single easy returns process for all items
|Delivery Times||Amazon Prime||eBay Standard|
|Expedited||1-2 days||3+ days|
|Standard||2-5 days||5-10 days|
|Extended||6-10 days||10-30 days|
- Higher shipping costs deter some buyers
- Arrival estimates less accurate without standardized fulfillment
- Returning items more complex dealing with individual sellers
- Faster shipping usually incurs added fees
Amazon streamlines fulfillment and returns substantially compared to eBay. This provides buyers much greater convenience.
Amazon again leads in ease of returns – a major consideration for shoppers.
- 30 day return window on most items
- Free return shipping labels provided
- FBA items can be returned at Whole Foods, Kohl‘s, UPS locations
- Automatic refund initiation upon scan of return
- 30 day window but not all sellers accept returns
- Buyer must pay return shipping on most items
- Return processing and refunds takes longer through sellers
- Additional hoops to jump through depending on seller
I advise buyers to review return policies closely on eBay. Amazon will almost always take back any unopened products with no hassle. eBay provides less return option guarantees.
As high-volume sellers, we rely heavily on each marketplace‘s seller support. Both leave something to be desired.
- Offers phone, chat and email support
- Wait times can still be lengthy for critical issues
- Response quality hit or miss depending on rep
- Tends to side with buyers in disputes
- Mainly email support tickets and automated messaging
- Slower response times across the board
- Reps less equipped to address complex seller issues
- More balanced mediation between buyers and sellers
In general Amazon provides sellers more ways to get support but resolution rates are still low. eBay support takes patience but leads seem more technically capable on the back end.
Fraud and Buyer Protection
From a seller perspective, fraud and chargebacks are persistent concerns on any platform. Amazon does lead in countermeasures here.
- Rigorous requirements to sell – Brand Registry, proof of sourcing, etc
- Actively polices counterfeit listings using machine learning
- A-to-Z guarantee backs buyers for issues
- Managed payments help combat chargeback fraud
- Loser seller ID verification standards
- Less effective monitoring results in more knockoff listings
- Money back guarantee has some buyer protection gaps
- More payment fraud with PayPal integration
Sellers must be vigilant against hijacked accounts, fake reviews and other scams on both sites. But Amazon has more advanced policies and technology to maintain integrity.
So in summary – Amazon tends to be the safer choice for hassle-free purchasing and peace of mind as a buyer:
- Convenient selection of affordable new products and brands
- Fast Prime shipping accelerates purchases
- Returns are simpler and refunds issued quickly
- More options and responsiveness from customer service
eBay however can‘t be matched when you need access to:
- Rare, hard-to-find or collectible merchandise
- Discontinued items no longer in production
- Significant deals on used and vintage goods
The best approach is to leverage both marketplaces for a comprehensive search based on your specific needs. But for most routine everyday online shopping, Amazon comes out ahead due to better pricing, shipping and service.
Hope this detailed seller-focused comparison helps you find the products you seek at the best values! Please don‘t hesitate to reach out with any other ecommerce questions.