Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how WooCommerce and eBay stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 10o July 2020
3.8 Stackupp rating
Best forIf you want to run your store on WordPress, then WooCommerce is hands-down the best choice. It’s ideal for small and medium-sized retailers, but larger enterprises might struggle.
3.5 Stackupp rating
Best forretailers that intend to sell mainly through eBay or want to expand their existing market.
Can't decide between WooCommerce and eBay?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of WooCommerce 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.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress users. It’s one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms, and retailers can add unlimited products.
WooCommerce has a lot of great features, including an intuitive management dashboard, an extensive integration and theme library, and an active community. What’s more, WooCommerce is completely customizable and completely free.
While WordPress users won’t find a better solution than WooCommerce, there are downsides.
Because WooCommerce isn’t a hosted solution like Shopify or BigCommerce, you are responsible for taking care of backend tasks like hosting, security and maintenance. Some features that larger retailers require are also missing.
Use Woocommerce if you like WordPress and want an easy-to-use ecommerce solution. It’s ideal for smaller retailers that are familiar with WordPress and are looking for a cost-effective platform.
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.
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.
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 WooCommerce and eBay platforms are to run.
WooCommerce is very easy to use. A set-up wizard walks you through the initial process of setting up your store.
Carrying out typical ecommerce tasks, like adding product inventory, processing orders, and launching promotions and discounts, is straightforward. WooCommerce offers a simple and intuitive dashboard that WordPress users will find familiar.
Choosing a theme and integrating with third-party services (like shipping providers, payment gateways, and email marketing apps) is also relatively straightforward. WooCommerce utilizes “extensions” to offer an array of features, although some of these extensions are quite pricey.
If you have any problems, you can pay for dedicated support or consult the large community of WooCommerce users.
“The best eCommerce platform available!”
“Such a good product running perfect for 6 months now. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
“This is incredible shopping cart. So professional solution with huge amount of add-ons. Thank you for your work!”
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.
"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.”
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do WooCommerce and eBay templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
WooCommerce is one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms on the market. The WordPress editor makes it easy for users with no coding experience to tweak their storefront.
Deeper backend changes are also possible because WooCommerce is built on open-source software. Plugins allow for a host of minor changes, while more experienced developers can alter virtually any aspect of the core files.
If you don’t have any coding experience but want to make more complex changes, you can always enlist the help of a WooCommerce developer.
Along with a handful of free themes, WooCommerce offers a number of paid themes, most of which cost $39.
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.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if WooCommerce or eBay offers better value for money.
WooCommerce operates a unique revenue model. The basic plugin is free. Assuming that you have a WordPress site already, you can get up and running without having to pay anything.
WooCommerce makes money by selling plugins, themes, and support. So it’s important to account for these costs. Certain features that many retailers would consider essential, such as customer reviews, geo-targeting, customer services, and discount codes, can only be added through extensions that often cost several hundred dollars.
What’s more, customer support is only offered for WooCommerce products and via support tickets. For customization support, you’ll need to hire a WooCommerce developer, which can be costly.
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.
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 WooCommerce's and eBay's support measure up?
WooCommerce support is a mixed bag. Because it’s a free WordPress plugin, customer service is not included as part of the core package.
If you need dedicated technical support, you’ll have to hire a “WooExpert”. WooCommerce provides basic general support and dedicated support for paid products like themes and extensions through help tickets.
That said, WooCommerce has an active community of users that are happy to help solve minor problems, along with extensive documentation.
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.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
WooCommerce has many positives and only a handful of negatives.
If you’re thinking about WooCommerce, first make sure you wouldn’t prefer a fully-hosted solution like Shopify or Big Commerce. Out-of-the-box solutions come with dedicated customer service, an array of features, and all backend tasks are taken care of.
If, however, you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and don’t mind looking after hosting yourself, then WooCommerce is ideal. A large library of extensions means that you won’t miss any features, and an active community of users is on hand to help you troubleshoot any issues.
What’s more, as an open-source platform, WooCommerce allows for almost unlimited customization.
Evaluate the cost of extensions and hosting before you decide to go all-in. And don’t be afraid to give WooCommerce a test-drive. It’s free, after all.
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 WooCommerce to be the better ecommerce platform.
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