Amazon FBA vs. eBay

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Amazon FBA and eBay stack up.

Mark Hammersley

Mark Hammersley

Last updated 6o November 2020


Amazon FBA

3.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 0.99 / month

Free Plan?

No


Best for

online sellers with limited product ranges. It is also a good option for retailers with established stores that want to take advantage of Amazon’s significant reach.

eBay

3.5  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

N/A

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

retailers that intend to sell mainly through eBay or want to expand their existing market.

Amazon FBA or eBay: Which is best?

Can't decide between Amazon FBA and eBay?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Amazon FBA and eBay. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.

Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.

Is Amazon FBA right for you?

Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is Amazon’s in-house fulfillment service for sellers. Instead of taking care of the storage and delivery of products themselves, sellers who opt for Amazon FBA can use Amazon’s warehouses and logistics networks. This can significantly reduce financial and administrative burdens.

It’s important to recognize that Amazon FBA is an additional service for Amazon sellers. It will only meet your needs if you already intend to sell products on Amazon. It is not a self-contained ecommerce solution that will allow you to list a wide array of different items and keep all the revenue from sales. What’s more, Amazon takes a significant cut of the final purchase price. You will also have to compete with other sellers in the marketplace.

With all that in mind, it’s essential to weigh up the benefits associated with access to the world’s single largest retail market with the cons of hefty fees, limited control, and high levels of competition.

Generally speaking, small retailers that don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing an entire ecommerce store (and all the technical, marketing, and logistical tasks this involves) will find a lot to like in Amazon FBA. Equally, retailers with established stores that want to bring their best products to a broader market should consider Amazon FBA.

Finally, keep in mind that running a successful business on Amazon FBA requires a unique skill-set. It’s a different ballgame to running a “traditional” ecommerce store, and this should be accounted for. You will need to familiarize yourself with topics like competitor research, keyword analysis, product page optimization, results page optimization, and so on.

Advantages

  • Access to one of the largest retail markets in the world.
  • Limited logistical and administrative burden.
  • No need to run your own ecommerce store.

Drawbacks

  • High listing and fulfillment fees.
  • Lack of control over design of product pages.
  • Relatively high startup costs for initial order.

you are a small independent retailer who doesn’t want to run their own store and handle complex back-end logistical tasks. Amazon will do a lot of the hard work for you while providing access to a large retail marketplace.

Is eBay right for you?

As an ecommerce retailer, you’ve likely already heard of eBay. Most people know it as the web’s leading auction site. But eBay also offers a suite of tools for businesses. Retailers can use the eBay ecommerce platform either as their sole store or in conjunction with their self-hosted website.

Tools for businesses include the “Selling Manager”, of which there is both a free and a paid version; “File Manager”, for high-volume sellers; “eBay shops”, which enable you to build your own dedicated storefront; and a large library of integrations and third-party tools.

Consider using eBay if you want to leverage the marketplace’s existing audience, or if you’re looking for a straightforward solution that doesn’t come with the hassle of building a store from scratch.

Advantages

  • Access to eBay’s existing marketplace.
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • The platform itself is inexpensive.

Drawbacks

  • Limited design options.
  • Comparatively high listing fees.
  • Difficult to promote your store outside of eBay.

you want to take advantage of eBay’s large marketplace, want to grow your sales by establishing a presence on eBay in conjunction with your existing ecommerce store.

Ease of Use

Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.

Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.

We take a look at how simple the Amazon FBA and eBay platforms are to run.

How easy is Amazon FBA to use?

Rated 4.5/5 for Ease of Use

Amazon FBA is managed through “Seller Central”, an online dashboard that all Amazon merchants use to manage their inventory, product listings, storefronts, and analytics.

The interface is very user-friendly, and you can add and configure products quickly. There is a substantial amount of help documentation online through the “Seller Central” portal and Amazon also offers an “Amazon Seller App” for mobile devices. All in all, it’s a very good option for beginners, along with retailers who have limited technical expertise.

Configuring fulfillment options is also a straightforward, linear process and is completed within the “Seller Central” area once products have been added to a catalog.

Finally, you can manage your own independent store, which will show all your Amazon listings, via the “Stores” tab.

What Amazon FBA customers are saying...

"This website is good for beginners who want to earn."
"This platform is the most solid on the web to sell products online."
"They have never failed to pay me and they have been supportive when deviant customers have tried to steal from me."

How easy is eBay to use?

Rated 4.5/5 for Ease of Use

eBay is very easy to use. Sellers without any technical knowledge or limited experience navigating an ecommerce dashboard will find it particularly appealing.

The business tools, like Selling Manager Pro and File Exchange, are intuitive and straightforward and come with extensive documentation. If you’re comfortable with the normal eBay dashboard, then you won’t have a problem adapting to the more advanced features.

What eBay customers are saying...

"It was through eBay that we were able to realise the potential we had."
"It was so incredible getting my first sale within 24 hours. We were literally jumping with joy."
“Selling Manager Pro suits me fine with only around 130 items per month going out.”
It's a draw!

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Amazon FBA and eBay templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are Amazon FBA's themes?

Rated 2.5/5 for Design

Amazon doesn’t offer much in the way of design freedom. Sellers can only customize specific product page elements, such as the title and description, images, and in-depth “body copy”. The layout and overall page design cannot be altered.

Once they have registered their brand, sellers can also open their own Amazon storefront, which affords a greater (albeit still limited) level of design flexibility.

If you’re looking for complete control over your store, you will likely find that a self-managed ecommerce solution like Shopify or WooCommerce better fits your needs.

Amazon FBA Examples

  • Rogaine
    Rogaine
Item 1 of 3

How good are eBay's themes?

Rated 2.5/5 for Design

eBay doesn’t offer much in the way of design flexibility. Shops and listings follow a standard template. In terms of the storefront, users can modify the logo, banner image, and description. It’s also possible to alter the navigation section on the left side of the store by creating various categories and subcategories.

In regards to the listings, sellers have control over the title, variation options (colour, size, model, etc.), and initial description.

The central overview area can also be used to add further product information and extra pictures.

If you’re looking for a high level of design freedom, then it’s probably fair to say that eBay isn’t the solution for you. If, on the other hand, you’re happy to work within the constraints of eBay’s storefront, then there won’t be any issues.

eBay Examples

  • Fishwest
    Fishwest
Item 1 of 3
It's a draw!

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Amazon FBA or eBay offers better value for money.

How much does Amazon FBA cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

“Value for money” is a slightly mixed bag when it comes to Amazon FBA. It’s important to stress that all serious Amazon FBA sellers will have to purchase a subscription to an Amazon Seller account. There are two plans available. The “Individual” plan is free, but a charge of $0.99 per item sold is collected. The “Professional” plan is $39.99 per month.

On the surface, these figures don’t seem significant. It’s when you get down to the nitty-gritty of item fees that a more precise picture starts to emerge. FBA sellers have to account for several charges: a referral fee (which can be up to 15% of the item sale price, a storage fee), storage costs, and a fulfillment fee. All of these can quickly add up, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fine print and do all your calculations to ensure you can make a sustainable profit.

How much does eBay cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

Depending on the specifics of your situation, including your volume of sales, the size of your existing market, and your return-on-investment from advertising, eBay may fall at either end of the spectrum when it comes to value from money, from absolutely excellent to jaw-droppingly terrible.

The business tools themselves aren’t particularly expensive - Selling Manager Pro will set you back by $15.99/month and a “Premium Store”, which allows for 1000 free fixed-price listings per month, will cost you $59.95/month. Compared to most ecommerce platforms, those fees are very good.

The main costs, however, lie in the “final value fee”. Whenever you make a sale, eBay will take around 10% of the sale amount (which includes the payment processing fee).

For smaller businesses, the total fee amount per month will likely be lower than what you would pay if you opted for your own store with a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. For high-volume retailers catering to a market outside of eBay, however, final value fees will likely represent significant and unnecessary losses.

It's a draw!

Help and Support

If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does Amazon FBA's and eBay's support measure up?

How good is Amazon FBA support?

Rated 3/5 for Help and Support

Amazon provides support to sellers through online tickets and has published extensive online documentation and training for new users. There is also an active community forum where it’s possible to get answers to questions.

While the support options are reasonable, we would like to have seen phone and email support in conjunction with the options already on offer.

How good is eBay support?

Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support

eBay’s help and support package varies depending on which type of plan you purchase. Higher-level subscription options come with “eBay Concierge”, in which users have access to additional support options compared to the basic package. Basic customer support is mainly provided through email and live chat.

“Concierge” includes lower wait times, access to highly-trained members of the support team, and sales and marketing training. You’ll also receive extra assistance with negative reviews and listings that don’t meet eBay criteria.

Generally speaking, we’ve found eBay response times and the quality of customer support to be very good. Sellers also have access to extensive documentation and training materials.

eBay is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

Amazon FBA: Our Verdict

The FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) program has done a lot to open up Amazon’s sizable marketplace to new sellers and streamline the often-complex process of storing items and fulfilling purchases.

If you are starting out in the ecommerce space, and find the prospect of running an independent store daunting, then Amazon is a viable option. Equally, if you already have an established online presence and want to reach new customers, selling your top-performing products through Amazon is also worth considering.

Just keep in mind that running a profitable Amazon FBA business is different from running your own online store. It requires a unique skill-set and the ability to evaluate competition and find gaps in the market.

eBay: Our Verdict

Consider using eBay as your primary ecommerce platform if you want access to the marketplace’s large customer base or if you’re looking for a streamlined, easy-to-use solution that doesn’t come with many of the hassles of running your own independent store. It has a wide selection of seller tools, solid customer support, and won’t break the bank.

Many well-known brands, like Adidas and Dell, also run eBay shops alongside their main websites to reach new customers.

If, however, you want full control of your store and plan to market directly to customers, then you will likely need a more advanced solution like Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce.

Overall, we found eBay to be the better ecommerce platform.

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