eBay vs. Amazon – Part 2 – Comparison of Buying

frugal living ebay amazon
In Part 1 of this series, I walked everyone through the plus’s and minus’s of selling your items on eBay and Amazon. For for more information on this topic, please see the link below.
On the other hand, in Part 2 of this series, I want to perform a detailed investigation of how Amazon and eBay stack up against each other when it comes to buying items.

Executive Summary
In my experience, I’ve found that while it is very clear that Amazon.com charges higher fees for selling items, it is far more difficult to definitively state whether eBay or Amazon is better for buying items. So, it really comes down to personal preference for how you like to search for items and making sure you search both sites for your item to compare prices.
Personally, I tend to buy more items on Amazon (hence the reason why I am an Amazon Associate / affiliate and promote buying things from them on my site). However, for this investigation, let’s take a look at eBay’s buying platform first.
In my opinion, there are five aspects of the buying experience that you should keep in mind when deciding whether to use Amazon or eBay, assumming that the price is similar.
eBay
  • Searching
    • Searching on eBay is very easy. You can enter the product you are searching for on the main page, hit enter, and it takes you to where you can filter the search results by price, category, etc.
  • Item Pricing / Listing Format
    • Items are priced in either an auction listing format or a fixed/Buy It Now listing format. There is also a feature that allows you to filter by these listing formats.
    • Personally, I only buy items on eBay that are in the Buy it Now format because I don’t want to wait around for the 7 day auction term to end to know if I won the item.
  • Payment
    • For all practical purposes, payment is only accepted on eBay through Paypal.com.
    • Paypal is a payment processing/services company, that is owned by eBay. It is a very secure way to link bank accounts and credit cards to make online payments. Payments are also guaranteed to be refunded if you get ripped off by a seller that doesn’t deliver their product.
  • Shipment
    • Personally, I have found that the shipment of items I have bought on eBay have been very reliable. I have never not received an item that I bought on eBay.
  • Fees
    • You pay no fees when buying an item on eBay or paying for it using Paypal (provided that you don’t pay for any of the extra features that are offerred during checkout). They are all paid by the seller. Lucky you!
Amazon
  • Searching
    • Searching for products on Amazon is one of my favorite things to do! It is very easy and intuitive. Additionally, one of my favorite features of Amazon is the way that it brings up related products that I have never ever heard of before that really suit my interests well. It does this by analyzing your searches/search history, your buying history, and current item you are viewing to find related products. It’s almost like the Pandora.com music DNA matching project expanded to the realm of shopping online!
    • To continue with the Avatar DVD (one of my favorite movies right now) example I have been using, the following page appears as a search result when you query Avatar DVD on Amazon – Amazon.com – Avatar DVD. If you click on the page and scroll down, it lists several other movies such as Iron Man, The Blind Side, and Sherlock Holmes. Wow! All of these are products that I like! I am inclined to buy more. See how that works?
  • Item Pricing / Listing Format
    • All products sold on Amazon.com are fixed price listings.
    • However, you have the choice on the main search screen to immediately select whether you want to a) purchase the product new from Amazon, b) purchase the product new from an independent seller, or c) purchase the product used from an independent seller.
      • For each situation, the lowest price listing is shown on the main search page, allowing you to immediately screen based on lowest price! Very nice!
  • Payment
    • Amazon.com has made paying extremely easy. And, in fact, maybe even too easy! Your credit card information is stored on Amazon along with your address, so that you can order items in less than 30 sec with maybe 3 clicks total. They have also added a 1 click ordering system, making things even faster.
    • Payments are made directly to Amazon.com, who then remits payment to independent sellers if needed.
  • Shipment
    • Amazon.com has your best interests in mind, as a buyer, when it comes to shipping. Amazon restricts the amount that sellers can charge for shipping/handling for a specific item or type of item. As a seller, I can say that often, this results in your seller losing money. Bad for the seller, good for you as a buyer!
    • Amazon even requires that sellers enter the shipping tracking number before they are paid, thus allowing you to receive your item quicker by providing more encouragement for the seller to get rid of the item quickly!
  • Fees
    • You pay no fees when purchasing something on Amazon.com. They are all paid by the seller. See Part 1 of this series for more information on fee structures of both sites.
I hope this series yields you all much success in your eBay and Amazon adventures. Thanks for tuning in.
Keep on learning!
Jacob
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Comments

  1. I enjoyed your article! I have sold items on eBay and was having great success in a relatively short amount of time and then they froze my account due to “suspicious activity.” I was selling books and all had tracking numbers. Every buyer got their merchandise as promised, yet eBay froze my account for 90 days, which had over $1500 in it. During those 90 days I sent many emails asking what I did wrong and what I could do. None of my questions were directly answered, they only responded with form letters. Eventually I did get my money, but I never found out why my account was frozen.
    While the fee structure maybe better than Amazon's as a first time seller having their account frozen without specific reasons for it, I'm gun shy to make a second attempt..

    • I have been selling on Ebay since 2002 and have run into problems in the beginning when I was a new seller like you. If you are new they tend to things like freeze your account if you sell too much too fast. I haven't had any problems with them in the recent years however I know it can happen anytime and there is really nothing I can really do if they did. However I learn if you make a lot of sales and have money in your Paypal account to take it out as soon as possible or every day or every few days. If you have a debit card from Paypal you can take up to $400 a day. They like you have two debit cards per account so you can use both cards and get $800 total out every 24 hrs. Of course your bank and payapl will charge you transaction fees like $3-$5 each time but at least you will have your money and ebay can't kiss your ass. I only started to really sell on Amazon recently because of their FBA program that i am still learning and still very new to. I send all my items to Amazon and they store it for a fee or course. When someone buys it they ship it out to the customer and I get an email telling of the sale and I don't have to do anything. However you pay extra for this service as they charge for everything including packing and labeling if you don't do your own labeling and a bunch of other fees. However you don't have to deal with Paypal fees. However they have other various fees that I am still iearning about. The default shipping is distributed shipping meaning when you send in your item to Amazon they make you send it to 2 or 3 different warehouses which costs more money to ship and time to pack it is ridiculous. However they recently implemented a new system and you can change your preference anytime to ship it to the main warehouse in Indiana. However when you choose this option you have to pay a $.30 fee per item ship. If you send hundredsof items that could really add up. I hate this but I usually end up shipping it this way because I won't have to label or pack and ship out multiple boxes to multiple warehouse so in the end you might end up saving money this way since you are creating seperate shipments and the extra time save is worth it to me at least. They both are greedy and have been screwing the sellers. I hope they will be more competition in the future as these two monopoly fat cats are getting rich off the backs of all the sellers who are making them crazy rich. Until then good luck Bill in your selling endeavors.

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