eBay vs. Amazon – Part 2 – Comparison of Buying

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.
  • 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!
  • 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!
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