In this day and age of trying to deal with the recent economic downturn, more and more people are looking to sell unwanted or unused items that they have in their homes. People that have never before even thought of selling these items on the internet are now exploring the possibility.
There are many options out there, but the two biggest players in the game are eBay and Amazon. For both places, you basically list the item at the price you want to sell it for, and then wait for someone to decide that they want to buy it at your price. However, both sites have their advantages and disadvantages and I want to go over the highlights of each.
With Amazon, you basically just type in the model number of whatever you’re trying to sell (or the ISBN number if it’s a book), include a description, set the price you want to sell it for, and wait. Unlike eBay, there is not an auction-style option with Amazon. Also, you don’t have to take a picture of the item, and you don’t need much in the way of internet skills either. Just accurately describe your item, name your price, and watch and wait.
A basic membership is free, an upgrade costs $40 monthly. The upgrade will allow you to sell an item that isn’t already listed on the site. In most cases, this feature is irrelevant, as Amazon has just about everything for sale. But if you do have a rare item to sell, you may need to look into the upgrade option. One nice feature is that you only pay a listing fee when your item sells. If it doesn’t sell, you pay nothing. Amazon does take their cut as well; they have percentages set up depending on what category your item falls into.
When an item does sell, you are alerted by email that it is time to ship it to your customer. You have to wait a little longer for your money than you do on eBay. Amazon usually institutes at least a two week hold for your money, so if you need the money fast, Amazon may not be the way to go.
With Amazon, you can see what all other sellers have priced their items at, but you can’t see how many or how quickly their items selling. Even without these latter features, this can be extremely useful when deciding how much to price your item for.
Regarding the condition of your item, it seems to me that Amazon is better suited for items that are closer to “brand new” condition than eBay. I think the buying clientele is more prone to buy brand new or “like new” items there, rather than poring through multiple listings and willing to pay for “used” items.
Admittedly, my experience selling on eBay is not as vast as my experience with Amazon. However, before I made the decision which way to go, I did do a good bit of research. Here are some of the more important points that I think may be helpful to you:
With eBay, you pretty much need to take a picture of each item that you sell, upload it to the computer, and provide a brief narrative. For example, “Up for bidding today we have a 1997 Mark McGwire rookie card. It has…” And so on. You set your own pricing; you set your own shipping costs. You can even offer to ship the item for free. You also need to set up an account on PayPal in order to sell there. It is the preferred method of payment for eBay, so you’ll need that account to get your money from your buyers.
Unlike Amazon, there is a fee for listing each item on eBay, whether it sells or not. There is also the commission that eBay takes from each sale, which is based on the cost of the item. Finally, there is the percentage that PayPal takes as well. However, I will state this in no uncertain terms. After you add everything up, it basically costs the same selling on eBay as it does selling on Amazon. There may be a few differences or fluctuations here and there, but all in all, it is about the same.
eBay offers the advantage of being able to tell how well a particular item is selling for, has been selling for, and at what price. Just type in a particular item, click on “completed listings,” and you’ll see a recent selling history. You do not have this capability with Amazon.
The tracking process is a little more involved with eBay than with Amazon. You have to log into your account to see what has sold and when. Of course, I am speaking from the perspective of an individual seller, not as a huge company selling there. I am sure that for them there is a more streamlined process.
My personal choice is Amazon, although I think either is worth looking into. I think Amazon is easier to maintain and to keep track of, although you do have more information available through eBay as far as how well a particular item is selling. The cost of each site seems to be a wash to me. The safety of getting your money seems to be the same as well. With that said, I’ve generally had better payment experiences with Amazon (as a buyer and seller) in the past.
Have you had any experience selling on Amazon or eBay? I would love to hear your feedback.