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Amazon vs eBay: Why Amazon is winning the marketplace battle
Amazon and eBay both attract millions of UK shoppers every day and each has both fans and detractors. Stepping out of my shoes as a Tamebay writer for a moment and thinking as a consumer, I am firmly in the Amazon camp. Here is why.
Convenience is a barometer of a successful trading body whether it’s delivered via fast shipping, a vast volume of product offering or technological innovations. Being convenient means remaining relevant to your shopper.
But do customers and marketplaces perceive it in the same way? While Amazon and eBay are introducing new initiatives to tackle fake reviews and spread of counterfeit products in a bid to deliver extra convenience, as a customer, I consider other convenience factors that would persuade me to press a purchase button.
As a shopper when I buy an item, I wish to obtain it immediately. Amazon can bridge the anticipation gap of wanting to ‘experience’ a product within a few hours of ordering it. Its accelerated delivery service, Prime Now offers a joy of receiving their purchase within a two-hour slot. That’s a prime example of convenience as sometimes I want to shop for ‘immediate-products,’ those that have come up as a result to impulse or occasion. If a seller is able to deliver on whim-driven buys, shoppers will keep coming back. With eBay, there is a mixture of an auction and ‘buy it now’ products which creates a frictionless experience if you want to buy an item immediately.
Stronger private label offering
Amazon’s own private label offering, Amazon Basics gives the marketplace as a strong competitive advantage as shoppers can buy essential items for a reasonable price. Whereas eBay only offers products sold by their sellers, which can also suffer from poor quality as the marketplace isn’t fully responsible for their products. This also suggests Amazon’s own products may go through quality checks before being offered to shoppers.
Modern design of the website
I have a confession to make; I never shop on eBay. Why? Amazon comes across as a more trusted brand which doesn’t aim to push their own marketing agenda. If you look at eBay’s product page, it is littered with third-party ads which can be quite annoying when you’re shopping. When I typed in the search term “controller” Amazon have displayed an ad-clear page in comparison to eBay. This can possibly indicate that eBay is getting a financial boost at the expense of their website’s user experience. Overall, Amazon’s website looks more up-to-date, whereas Ebay’s domain would benefit from getting an update.
Online shopping is a matter of personal preference, and others will take a different view. Why not weigh in on your preference in the comments section below?
I have to say the only real reason i buy anything off ebay now is just because i happen to be a seller there, and even that hasn’t stopped my push to buy more from elsewhere, even if just on principle at the way ebay treats it’s sellers ( unless you are a tax avoid ing, chinese seller!)
Ebay has become dated and muddled, even to long term users. Different links to the same place can lead to different page versions, the search engine is completely broken and almost random at times, fast and free often means up to 3 days or more, in the case of all those ‘uk’ sellers in Manchester and liverpool…. it often means a long spell via China post for some reason?! To cut a long story short, ebay is like a using a bucket riddled with holes and and trying to hold water in it. Ebay tell us it is waterproof… but ignore all the holes!
So as a buyer I see it as less of what I want, and more of what can be cobbled together. It doesn’t help that only have i experienced the last amount of open fraud going on, but i hear it from so many others. When a site has the nic name of ‘Fraudbay’, or that China is a new county in the UK (!) etc…. then the regular talk of scammers and lack of ebay back up unless you are one, well it hardly inspires does it.
So to me ebay has two big issues. 1, It’s set up. It is cluttered, dated, time consuming. 2, it’s reputation. Scammers, fraudulant item location, false representation. These are juist my issues as a buyer. Let us not forget that many of ebays buyers are also sellers…. So add in the many issues sellers have, and how that drives them to buy elsewhere, and you have serious issues. Non of which ebay seems able to deal with.
I mean come on…. Christmas advertising for ebay was telling me i could buy some shoes to sniff on ebay and they would be new???? WTF? Completely lost the plot and show just how out of touch they are.
Check both ebay and Amazon for prices.
If you aren’t doing that, if you automatically stick with one over the other, you are losing money.
Amazon wins because they offer fast delivery on their items and many sellers offer the same fast delivery but Amazon do not force sellers to offer it and penalise their item exposure if they dont.
If I need an item the next day I’ll go to Amazon, otherwise eBay wins hand down every time for me. Why?
Cheaper – eBay almost always has significantly lower prices due to lower fees.
More choice – from both professional and amateur sellers.
More accurate search results – Amazon often throws up weird results, especially if you filter by price.
Up to 200 items per search result page – Amazon only allows 16.
Facility to choose from a seller I want, rather than one pre selected for me by Amazon.
I suppose it’s personal preference as to whether we like to browse or have the quickest solution presented to us – Amazon buyers are much more committed to buy generally.
I buy most items from eBay, but I do not buy that much that I can really call myself an internet shopper, 2-3 items a month.
Amazon to me is usually expensive, I rarely need something the next day, I also find eBay easier to use / search, although I do agree with what Toby said about Chinese sellers delivery rate, but they are easy to spot.
I also don’t shop using my phone which I find even more restrictive on both sites.
1) No Ads on Amazon ? , this is wrong just look at the screenshots and the top 2 Products are sponsored
2) Ads income is Amazon largest profit after the cloud services
3) look at an Amazon Product page , it is hard to find data about the product the way it is cluttered with ads
Amazon Prime is a con unless you but a lot of goods. OK, you may get next-day delivery but you are paying for the privilege. Ebay is almost always better value. Example: my wife wanted to buy an item which cost £19.99. Amazon said she had to spend £20+ to get NDD. So she tried adding another cheaper item for a few £s but still no NDD because you have to spend £20+ on ONE item, not your total shop. I advised her to try Ebay and she got both items for well under £20 with fast delivery. Money saved and no expensive annual subscription required.
And I agree with Laura – Amazon’s search is baffling and inconsistent. Plus when it does find what you are looking for the landing page is tantamount to recommending one seller – usually itself is possible. Ebay offers a fairer choice of sellers although I do agree – the Chinese connection is doing it no favours.
Certainly, Amazon is better at marketing – Ebay’s tv ads are rotten and downmarket.
As for which site to sell on – neither is perfect by any means but I find Amazon clunky and restrictive.
I wish there were more credible competitors to the ‘big two’. Must admit I haven’t found any yet.
@Stig Not really a con as there is far more to Amazon Prime than just Free Delivery.
As for the selling on Amazon being Clunky I guess it depends on what you sell and how you list the products, I use listing software to match products from my website against the existing ASIN or create a new one.
I sell my personel collection of mostly vintage comics, books & vinyl on ebay. They are second hand collectables and consequently unique in the sense they are scarce and their condition varies. Ebay gives me much more flexibility in describing and illustrating my products USPs than does Amazon. Consequently it gives my potential customers a much clearer understanding of what they are buying. If I do my job properly it gives me a competitive advantage and encourages comparisons based on features other than price and immediate delivery.
This article doesn’t say why Amazon is winning the marketplace battle – where are the statistics to back up the headline? All it says is that the writer doesn’t buy on Ebay, so therefore has fleeting knowledge of it from a buyer’s POV, and prefers Amazon because.
The idea of convenience being the defining factor in Amazon’s success is a) hardly an original observation and b) not the whole story. Not all its customers are subscribed to Prime: those that aren’t know they may get their goods in one day or as many as seven. Convenience is only one factor in a customer’s purchase decision. What’s convenient about having to trek to the post office to collect the parcel that arrived while you were at work?
For myself, I stopped buying on Amazon two years ago, sick of its hopeless search function, its relentless third-party advertising which, in a company as supremely rich as Amazon, is totally unnecessary, and particularly sick of the bad experiences I kept having when buying pretty ordinary things, whether Amazon FBA or marketplace sellers.
Tamebay – what happened? The punctuation is all over the shop and generally wrong.
A big problem with buying on eBay are the multi variation listings. I like to search by price for certain items but multi variation listings make this impossible due to the 99p items that are either out of stock or are for a sample etc. I find both sites can be expensive which is not surprising due to the fees that they charge their sellers. I bought a bedspread from an independent website for £20 less than it was listed for on Amazon, I’ve also bought pillows for less from a High Street store than they have been for sale for online, its up to the consumer to shop around, time permitting!
eBay offers much better prices in most product groups but yet somehow it still loses out to Amazon if we look at long-term, 5-year trends. There are many reasons why other people choose one platform over another one but for me personally:
1) Quick, hassle free delivery. I always buy only from FBA listings which means I will get guaranteed delivery times in 99% of cases. on eBay often sellers mislead dispatch time or item location or even cancel the sale due to out of stock situation. I don’t like that.
2) Product reviews. Everyone is so obsessed with fake reviews and while it is a real problem, they probably are less than 0.1% of all reviews. Possible even much lower. If you use common sense, you can read through reviews and even with fake reviews, get a very good understanding on the product’s quality, customer experience etc.
So yeah, fast, hassle-free delivery + reviews is why I shop on Amazon instead of eBay.
Ebay still wins on price and range of items.
If you want something interesting, or at the best price, Ebay will be the best option.
However, increasingly this is being undermined by Chinese shippers masquerading as UK sellers on Ebay.
Cancelled two out of five big purchases on Ebay before Xmas, due to inability to deliver inside the stated delivery dates, presumably as they had to ship from China.
Each time got a message saying unable to ship until 22 Jan or 8 Jan, despite promising pre-Xmas delivery. Poor English gave it away. Customers will feel increasingly duped by this.
Hey, Rob Hatrell, how about having a Union Jack logo for verified UK businesses?
LoL. The Amazon search has an aquarium controller as second item. Two out of the 3 items on the page are ads.
Well this Christmas I bought 1 item on ebay and that turned out to be fake.
Trust is a big element here with the consumer. Amazon have sold their product hook line and sinker, eBay is the past ( I wish it was not as I have done well over the years)….however I don’t buy their myself really so why I am expecting people to buy from me on eBay????. Plus they are struggling look at all the vouchers codes towards the end of the month…
The last two years since Hattrell took over eBay has totally nosedived, sales this peak were not good. Counterfeit, China Sellers and stealth FEE all lead to one thing LESS purchases on eBay, people are turning away.
I do not blame people for going to Amazon and BUYING from Amazon direct and not third party merchants, to many BillyBobbargain’s out their. I do not know anyone who buys on eBay now.
Where the myth is eBay is CHEAPER comes from also???
eBay am sure will continue in some format, but it is pale shadow of its former self. Amazon actually WON the race years ago by investing in itself, eBay just pocketed profits and it actually controls nothing.
To answer your question “Where (did) the myth (that) eBay is CHEAPER come from?”
As a current example (which could easily change by the time I’ve finished typing this) the latest Muse album “Simulation Theory” is available on CD with free P&P for:
£9.99 from Amazon (who have the buy box, of course)
£9.64 from other sellers on Amazon (who don’t have the buy box, of course)
£5.85 on ebay (yes, they’re brand new)
You can of course go and find examples which run in the other direction, because sometimes things are cheapest on Amazon. But when Amazon isn’t even the cheapest seller on Amazon, surely you should be questioning your disbelief that things can be found cheaper elsewhere. It’s certainly not a myth.
not entirely disagreeing, but just to play devils advocate a little…
the one you found cheap on ebay, appears to be some dude that’s shoplifted or otherwise acquired 8 units, and 8 units only. private seller, no return policy, and he’s already sold 3 so you better be quick. everyone else on ebay is £10 – £12 ish.
i assume amazon have more than 8 copies available, a full return policy, and the kind of people that shop on amazon are disinclined to conduct an investigation of this nature before assuming all will be well.
A Devil’s Advocate response to anything is always welcome.
Yes, that particular seller isn’t a pro, but seems honest from the feedback. There are several others selling around that price. My own theory would not be shoplifted, but probably a bankrupt stock/catalogue returns/mystery pallet type scenario. It’s amazing what you can get for less than cost through honest means.
The top placed sellers on the best match search results are selling at £9.20. That is still cheaper than Amazon and probably more typical of the scale of price difference you might see between the two sites.
@james “Tis the season to be a twat has passed” To say “some dude that’s shoplifted or otherwise” is just stupidity of not understanding how some people acquire product.
Lets try and deal with fact rather than jealousy!
I think it all boils back down to; amazon actually sell product, ebay don’t.
and so ebay think you can solve ALL problems by bashing the seller harder,
amazon actually innovate to solve problems.
for example, couriers. ebay will bash sellers harder, bring in tougher metrics, promise delivery by RM faster than RM does, and take the difference out on sellers again.
amazon thought “if we have trouble with couriers, our sellers probably do too, we’ll make our own courier company”.
the attitudes are worlds apart, and that’s why amazon is winning.
James, agree with you there. Amazon seem to be more of a tech company first and look to solve problems. Where ebay seem to create problems for sellers first.
When you sell an item on ebay you get ratings from the feedback a buyer leaves, who can also leave 4 different star ratings from communication, description, P&P and dispatch time. Then you can get hit with defects if you don’t agree to the fraudulent returns and agree to pay for it and refund them quickly enough and to top it off you could get a defect rating on your service metric as well.
Wish they would go back to basics and be fantastic at them, get rid of all the clutter and work out what is actually needed on the site. Do they need all these different measures. What do customers most want to see when looking at an item on an app and online.
Putting prices aside for a moment, the reason we prefer the ebay platform is the support offered.
Amazon are ok but they are (way) behind the support we get from ebay concierge.
@alan paterson Sorry but that does not wash, many of us that sell on eBay do not get concierge, so how does that work for the rest of us?
My Sales on:
Amazon – 30 Days £33,983.49
eBay – Last 31 days £6,148.84
Amazon wins, but support, when needed, which is rare, is crap on both, do you think I would feel better if eBay gave me better support with less sales?
I can only speak for my business and the businesses of my clients and those i network with.
Just because it doesnt apply to your business does not make it so.
Thank you for yet another example using your own turnover.
As for concierge…… it wasnt always there and yet ebay was still superior to that of their “competitors”
Alan, I find I only need to contact eBay customer support for the problems they have created with the policies they have regarding returns and the number of fraudulent returns they encourage by forcing sellers to pay for return labels even when the reason matches the description/listing.
@alan paterson Your not really in a position to say how good eBay CS is compared to Amazon as many sellers like myself do not get concierge support.
I find both CS as bad as each other, although I would agree Amazon is worse.
For me the winning market place has to be the one that returns the most sales / profit regardless of support and in my business eBay is way behind, even if they gave me concierge. Maybe you have far higher sales on eBay than Amazon, many people do, many people do not sell on both sites.
I rarely look on Amazon to buy anything as I don’t find it a good experience, but millions of other people do.
ebay vs Amazon
I have been running a business on ebay for around 6 – 7 years now and just started selling more on Amazon since the summer. I personally find Amazon much easier for a lot of things and see a lot more growth on there compared to ebay where sales are dropping compared to previous years.
Customers on Amazon are prepared to pay more for items and next day shipping as had a lot more buyers pay for express shipping on Amazon and hardly any on ebay. Have a number of listings on both that are the same and sell for more on Amazon.
Pros of ebay
Global shipping programme – probably the last good thing I can remember that has come from a seller release. Takes the hassle of working out shipping and customs.
Click and collect as offers customers convenience for delivery.
Customer support if you get through to the Irish team, if not they don’t have a clue sometimes as today was told Parcelforce returns labels were £3.05 for large items
Better for selling nearly new/box opened items and used items as can describe and picture them better.
Lower fees currently
Cons of ebay
Returns – no matter what everdience you have once a buyer clicks not as described you are landed with the cost of return postage and service metric defects. Yes they may give you the return postage back sometimes when you call. Be better if they reversed the case in the first place and buyer had to pay for remorse returns
ebay returns labels – no terms and conditions displayed so if a parcel comes back and gets damaged or lost during delivery you have no insurance even thou the label costs more than the Shuttle labels which includes insurance.
Private sellers running a business, have lost count of the number of competitors who run a business yet don’t display business information. No doubt get cheaper fees, free listings, don’t have to offer returns, and doubt some of them pay any tax. ebay only seem to want to know once they hit the VAT threshold
Constant messages from buyers wanting money off which ebay seem to encourage with new features which they have included in messages now where buyers can click the reason for message best offer.
Service metric, potentially sellers could have to pay higher fees due to buyers opening not as described cases even when the reason matches the listing. Would be like getting stopped for doing 20 in a 30 and having points put on your license.
Constant changes to the site every few months every time a new seller release comes out.
Pros of Amazon
Much easier to list items on Amazon as can do it with few clicks on my phone
Get higher price for items compared to the same item on ebay
Lot less hassle and returns, since summer only had one return so far.
Have a lot more trust in other Amazon competitors as know they are registered as a business
Cons of Amazon
If you have not got the buy box hard to sell, have a few listings where I have stock yet Amazon does not have stock yet still don’t have the buy box
Customer service not great although only had to speak to them a couple of times.
Hi Rob! Global shipping programme is not a PRO but a CON! If you’re using it for small items you’re leaving tons of money on the table – forums are full of angry eBay customers who can’t afford to buy from international eBay sites anymore due to ridiculously high shipping prices via GSP.
It works all good for items you would have to send via courier anyway but def. not for items weighing less than 2kg that can be sent via AirMail much, much cheaper.
There’s more – GSP pre-charges import duties & VAT – something that many customers are not used to paying before as most small packages slip through the Customs without paying these fees.
So yeah, it’s a HUGE problem and eBay is basically killing international sales by promoting it so heavily to sellers. Just wanted to let you know in case you’re not aware of the negative effect it creates on international customers.
global shipping is a god send
it allows you to sell virtually hassle free internationally
were tired of international buyers
wanting domestic shipping rates and delivery times
Its a fallacy that global shipping has a negative effect on ebay international sales international buyers in general look for items unique to the uk
They can buy cheap chinese imports on their home site without shipping them in from the UK
The whingers and complaines are just that
whingers and complainers
There not the sort of customer we want
Ebay killing its international trade because they comply with international customs regulations is a little unfair
Andrew, yes any seller could save a buyer a few pounds by sending parcels themselves internationally . But the global shipping programme takes all the hassle out of filling in customs forms then waiting to see if you get a return and with international postage costing a lot more at the minute I would rather not be on the hook for that.
It is there one big positive at the minute especially with the pound continuing to drop my international sales are going up.
It’s not a question about sellers saving money – I have received hundreds of comments on my blog from buyers who are angry about the GSP because it is so expensive.
Do you know that a phone case shipped via GSP costs £15 to £20 and more to EU countries? while you can send it via RM for £2?
It’s not about saving few pounds in shipping fees – it’s about losing international customers if you’re using GSP for small/lightweight items.
I don’t sell on eBay and I don’t care really what happens there – I just wanted to make sellers aware of this problem as buyers come to my blog and leave tons of comments about this 🙂
Jim: Ebay killing its international trade because they comply with international customs regulations is a little unfair
Do you know that eBay’s shipping partners charge import duty & VAT but do not provide any documentation for this to buyers?
This means that a VAT registered company purchasing an item vis GSP from outside the EU, MUST pay VAT again as they can’t properly book the eBay’s GSP charge as it does not provide them with any VAT documents.
This is just one more flaw in the whole system people/customers are complaining about.
as you say you dont sell on ebay
the global shipping service is the only ebay option we have encountered that seems to slant the playing field towards the seller
dont knock it until you try it
Andrew, yes it can be quite a bit cheaper if items were sent direct from the seller to the buyer missing out the global shipping programme.
As a small business I don’t have the time to continuously be keeping up with the different prices of shipping to all the different countries around the world. Also some countries the postal systems are not as reliable so easier for things to go missing or delayed.
If I am responsible for this then I would not be as likely to take the risk, yet it is the global shipping company taking the risk so if something goes wrong after I deliver it to them, they are responsible.
The only improvement I would like to see is if sending multiple orders to GSP they could be packed individually with a shipping barcode on and shipped in a box which needs to be opened.
Other than that happy with the programme.
not only will global shipping take the customs forms hassle,
should customs delay or impound or destroy an item, or an item is lost or stolen, global shipping takes the hit,
also if royal mail begin to enforce the new customs code entry regime
sending by regular mail will be a nightmare
re this GSP is good/bad debate:
I’ve been selling on ebay for nearly 20 years, private and business, and back in the day, I was quite happy to ship anywhere in the world. International buyers were happy and understanding. I can’t even recall a single problem in the early days.
Fast forward to the mid-noughties and it was a different story. Happy international buyers had been replaced with, or had evolved into, demanding and time consuming people, who were a lot more hard work than domestic buyers.
They would try and haggle on P&P, having guessed what the item weighed once packed, looked on RM website, or based on past experiences. They would always want economy shipping prices, but still expect express delivery service with full tracking (even though you’d told them there’d be none!) Messaging would be almost daily, to see if the item that you’d told them there was no tracking for would be arriving today.
INR claims increased generally worldwide, but particularly from certain countries leading to blacklisting of those buyers who lived there by many sellers (yep, Russia and Italy). The increased costs of shipping internationally meant that the losses were notably worse than a domestic INR claim.
Many sellers, myself included, decided to stop selling internationally. It wasn’t worth the time, effort or risk.
But then Ebay GSP program came along and changed that.
For the seller, it is easy to use, almost 100% risk and hassle free. For the buyer, it is swings and roundabouts. Small items become expensive, but heavier items become cheaper.
Yes, you could possibly sell more if you shipped small items via Royal Mail yourself, untracked, at a lower cost. But once you knock off the time spent dealing with “can you do better P&P”, “where’s my item that I ordered 5 minutes ago”, refunds for INRs…would it be worth it?
Not in my opinion, nor in many other sellers.
If you want to ship everything, everywhere by yourself, then best of luck. Enjoy the many refunds you’ll give out and negative feedbacks you’ll receive.
I’ll stick with GSP and don’t give a hoot if that means I can’t sell a £3 item to someone overseas because the shipping is too high for them. There’ll be someone else who will place a £300 overseas order and won’t care about the shipping charge.
I’m glad, I just moved my store to Amazon because I had problem with the crooks at Ebay. My business is my profitable on Amazon then ever was on Ebay. Plus Ebay has nothing but scammers selling junk on their site and they will not be there for you.
Search is a main issue on ebay. I reported a car accessory seller to ebay several times and then to the ebay’s managing directors office. Seller was duplicating each item in thousands. He had 10 different car seat covers but 72000 listing. 3800 listings for one particular steering lock and so on. Response I had was…thank you..we will look into it. This was over a year ago and seller is still “expanding”. Just shows you how much ebay cares about their nightmare search which is putting off buyers.
It seems that there is no voice from the seller:
As a 10years Ebay seller on 4 years Chinese seller on Amazon, we can foresee
clearly that Amazon and will win the market，
Our company only run ebay business from 2008-2018, Ebay Team simply purchase our products on 1688 and transfer them to buyer directly, we don’t need to anything else to earn money easily, just provide the hottest product on market, you don’t even need to consider much about the patent issues. For 10 years eBay team have no awareness to improve product quality or even the package.
But Amazon Team changed everything, to win a good reviews we almost changed all the old products package and improve the product’s quality one by one, from easy to hard, and ebay customer service team members always say thanks to our Amazon s team, we improved the product quality and make their jobs easy. Now Amazon Team can design product special for EU market and most product quality is better than EU native sellers.