Magento vs. eBay

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

Daniel Adams
Mark Hammersley

Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley

Last updated 10o July 2020


Magento

3.8  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 2200.00 / month

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

Magento “Open Source” requires development knowledge and is suitable for large enterprises. “Magento Commerce”, a fully-hosted version of Magento Open Source, available on a range of plans, catering retailers from mom-and-pop stores to global enterprises.

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.

Magento or eBay: Which is best?

Can't decide between Magento and eBay?

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

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform owned by Adobe which is offered in a range of formats. The best-known option is a completely free, open-source version called “Magento Open Source”. Retailers that want to use the platform while taking advantage of cloud hosting, customer support, and additional functionality, can opt for one of the paid options under the “Magento Commerce” banner.

Because of its extensive feature-set, scalability, high customizability, and popularity among developers, Magento is particularly suitable for retailers running larger stores. Medium-sized retailers that need a comprehensive and feature-rich solution will also be drawn to Magento.

For smaller retailers without any development experience, however, a more user-friendly and streamlined solution will probably be preferable.

Advantages

  • Open source version is free.
  • Powerful, feature-rich solution that scales easily.
  • Completely customizable.

Drawbacks

  • Paid plans are expensive.
  • Open-source version will be virtually impossible to use for retailers without in-house coding expertise.
  • Extensions are expensive.

If you’re a large retailer that needs a customizable, powerful solution through which you can manage multiple sites in different countries. Remember to take care of hosting, security, and troubleshooting yourself if you opt for the open source version.

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 Magento and eBay platforms are to run.

How easy is Magento to use?

Rated 3.5/5 for Ease of Use

While advanced development knowledge is required to run the open-source and paid enterprise version of Magento, the management dashboard itself is pretty intuitive. That said, Magento does have a very large feature-set, so there’s a learning curve for new users.

The small business version has a page-builder for ease-of-use and assistance is available for getting set up. Smaller retailers interested in Magento should try the free trial to see if it fits with their needs.

What Magento customers are saying...

"Powerful e-commerce platform - if you are willing to get your hands dirty.”
“It's a great and versatile eCommerce platform, which gives plenty of flexibility and has support for a vast amount of features and products.”
“I like the security features that Magento offers. It is one of the more secure options out there. The support community is very large so if you need help or have questions, you can usually find an answer quick.”

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.”

eBay is our winner for ease of use

Design

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

Rated 4.5/5 for Design

Magento is arguably the most customizable ecommerce platform on the market. But there’s a big caveat. To make design changes to the open-source and enterprise solutions, development skills are a must.

Magento only comes with one built-in storefront theme but a range of third-party templates are available. The downside is that these can be very expensive.

Small and medium retailers that want access to a user-friendly site-builder and library of free templates will likely prefer solutions like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix.

If, as a small retailer, you’re drawn to Magento because of its wide array of features, “implementation plans” are available.

Magento Examples

  • Kurt Geiger
    Kurt Geiger
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

Magento is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

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

How much does Magento cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

It’s always difficult to fault a free solution. What’s more, Magento comes with an extensive feature-set that would cost a significant amount of money on a similar plan from another provider. Open-source features include support for multiple languages, promotional tools, content management, order and shipping processing, customer service, and more.

But there are a few important points to keep in mind. For larger enterprises, the cost of maintaining secure servers and the need for an in-house development team will be high. And extensions often cost hundreds of dollars. Pricing for fully-hosted Magento plans is not published. The enterprise-level options, however, are reported to cost tens of thousands of dollars every month. Small business plans are advertised as “affordable”.

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 Magento's and eBay's support measure up?

How good is Magento support?

Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support

Technical support is limited on all plans on Magento. Users that have subscribed to a paid plan can submit support tickets. Additional support options - such as the “implementation package” for small businesses and “Magento Services” for enterprises - can be purchased for an additional cost.

If you decide to run Magento Open Source, you will need in-house IT support or an outsourced solution with an agency.

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.

It's a draw!

The Bottom Line

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

Magento: Our Verdict

Magento has an exhaustive of features. Enterprise-level stores should definitely consider it as a solution. Medium-sized retailers will also find Magento to be an excellent choice that scales as their store grows. The virtually unlimited scope for customization is another big plus.

Retail companies that don’t want to take care of hosting in-house can also opt for one of Magento’s paid plans. Just keep in mind that development knowledge is a must and that the cost of extensions and additional support packages can quickly add up.

For smaller retailers, there is a plan that provides full access to Magento’s features at a lower price. A free trial is available and well worth checking out. Just remember that simpler entry-level solutions - which are easier to use for people without any coding skills or access to developers - may be more viable.

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 Magento to be the better ecommerce platform.

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