Etsy vs. eBay

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

Mark Hammersley

Mark Hammersley

Last updated 16o July 2020


Etsy

3.8  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 10.00 / month

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

small retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.

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.

Etsy or eBay: Which is best?

Can't decide between Etsy and eBay?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Etsy 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 Etsy right for you?

Etsy is a well-known marketplace and ecommerce platform for retailers that offer vintage items, handmade products, and craft supplies.

It’s a straightforward, cost-effective option for small businesses and individuals with an inventory that meets Etsy requirements. By running your store on Etsy, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that come hand-in-hand with larger solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce, while also gaining access to one of the world’s largest third-party marketplaces. You can upgrade to Etsy’s separate solution, called Patterns, which enables you to build your own store and sell whatever you like on it while still using the Etsy engine.

Retailers with diverse inventories and high product turnover, however, will almost certainly need a more feature-rich platform.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Provides access to the Etsy marketplace.

Drawbacks

  • Limited inventory options.
  • High fees.
  • Limited feature-set.

you’re a small independent retailer specializing in handmade or vintage items (or craft supplies). Etsy has a forever-free plan, along with an inexpensive premium option, so it’s an incredibly cost-effective solution.

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 Etsy and eBay platforms are to run.

How easy is Etsy to use?

Rated 5/5 for Ease of Use

You won’t find a platform that is easier to use than Etsy. This is partly due to the fact that there aren’t lots of complex features (which some might see as a downside) and partly due to the simple, intuitive design of the seller dashboard. Etsy makes essential tasks, like creating listings and generating reports, nearly effortless.

What Etsy customers are saying...

“Discovering Etsy and opening a shop enabled me to take control of sales.”
“Etsy has allowed me to build an international customer base that already appreciates handmade products.”
“Etsy has been an incredible experience for 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.”

Etsy is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Etsy 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 Etsy's themes?

Rated 2.5/5 for Design

Design flexibility and freedom isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. Most Etsy stores look very similar, and there’s a reason for this: Etsy only offers a limited number of customization options.

As a seller, you can change the colours, fonts, and photo styles in your store. You’ll also be able to upload a unique logo and banner - which has the option of a photo “carousel” - and set a homepage description.

Users of the Etsy Plus premium plan will have access to a handful of additional features, such as the option to highlight top-performing products on the homepage.

Customizing your store is a very fast and straightforward process. While design freedom is limited, this won’t be a problem for people with little development experience who already like the standard Etsy storefront.

Etsy Examples

  • Planner Kate
    Planner Kate
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 Etsy or eBay offers better value for money.

How much does Etsy cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

At first glance, Etsy looks like one of the most cost-effective ecommerce solutions on the market. It has a forever-free plan and even the premium option, Etsy Plus, only costs ten dollars per month. “Pattern by Etsy”, a service which allows you to run an “independent” online store on your own domain (in conjunction with your Etsy store) only costs $15 a month.

But it’s crucial to take account of fees. Retailers are charged $0.20 for every listing. When a sale is made, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee, along with a 4% payment processing charge, which amounts to nearly 10% of the overall item price.

If you only process low sales volume, then these fees can be viable. With higher volumes, however, Etsy becomes less feasible.

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 Etsy's and eBay's support measure up?

How good is Etsy support?

Rated 4/5 for Help and Support

Etsy has an excellent support package, even on its free plan. Along with one of the largest seller communities on the web and extensive and in-depth training materials, users can also take advantage of live-chat and phone service.

Inexperienced retailers, in particular, will find a lot to like in the comprehensive tutorials and “seller handbook”. The online forum, through which users can join “teams” to exchange ideas and collaborate, is an excellent learning tool.

All support options are accessible from a tab in the seller dashboard, so assistance is easy to find when you need it.

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.

Etsy is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

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

Etsy: Our Verdict

Retailers considering Etsy should understand that it isn’t an ecommerce platform in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone app like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. You should only consider it as an option if you’re planning to sell your products to the broader Etsy marketplace.

If you do fall into that category, however, then you’ll find a lot to like - it’s a streamlined, easy-to-use platform at a fantastic price.

Furthermore, Etsy “Pattern” enables retailers to have a store at their own domain that isn’t bound by typical Etsy restrictions but is still managed from the central store manager. If you think it might be for you, sign up for a free account and give it a whirl.

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 Etsy to be the better ecommerce platform.

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