Both Amazon and eBay facilitate the sale of an almost infinite range of products over the internet, and as distinct, varied outfits have over the years garnered their own separate followers; users loyal only to one or the other, who will staunchly defend their sales platform of choice even in the face of the most logical / well-evidenced objections.
How then, are undecided and inexperienced online shoppers to choose which site best suits their requirements? MyRetailMedia offer a few nuggets of wisdom for those looking to explore the often confusing world of online shopping…
1. Sellers on Amazon are there because they prefer the security of a fixed price sale, and as such are likely to list their items at a higher average price, simply for peace of mind. For the online shopper, this is a double-sided coin; you enjoy the confidence and security of a fixed price, but in general you will probably fork out a little more for your purchase.
eBay on the other hand provides the opportunity for a bargain, but also the risk that a particular item can escalate uncontrollably in price and eventually exceed the shopper’s price range – this process can particularly nerve jangling.
2. eBay relies more heavily on a sense of buyer / seller community, wherein transactions can involve multiple interactions between the buyer and seller (often centred on the shipping timescale) and are based heavily on a particular user’s feedback and ratings from previous sales (search results will actually penalise sellers with poorer feedback).
Amazon shoppers on the other hand have come to expect good service regardless of who they are dealing with, and never have to make enquiries about shipping. In this light it would appear that shopping on the latter platform is less stressful, and more efficient.
3. Amazon is a relatively stable platform that rarely adopts fundamental changes to the manner in which it operates, and when rules are broken and disputes arise, they are usually resolved in a consistent, predictable fashion. eBay on the other hand is very changeable; in the last year alone we’ve seen modifications relating to feedback, fees, digitally delivered items, search results, detailed seller ratings and more, with further revisions expected in the near future.
Disputes are just that; with buyer and seller largely left to battle it out and reach a conclusion amongst themselves. Amazon then offers a more predictable service and less confusion relating to how the buying process actually works, it’s also much safer in light of their A-Z guarantee on all purchases, providing reassuring protection for shoppers.
4. eBay sellers have long exploited the shipping charges aspect of their transactions to exact an extra slice of profit at the expense of the buyers. In the past you could quite easily find cheap products on sale in the region of 1-3 dollars, sporting extortionate shipping charges in upwards of 10 dollars.
Amazon offer a much fairer system whereby an item is categorised and awarded an appropriate ‘shipping credit’, which will usually (but not always) cover shipping costs, whilst prohibiting the seller from charging any more to the shopper for this particular aspect of the sale.
In this respect, you’re less likely to get ripped off on Amazon, although eBay have begun to take steps to combat this abuse, moving sellers who charge excessive shipping tariffs further down search results pages.
On balance, Amazon is clearly a much safer, more reliable and more efficient platform for online shoppers, but that doesn’t mean that those with a little savvy can’t find great deals on eBay, just do your research and pay close attention to user feedback!