Online shopping has come along way since 1994 with the first sale of Sting’s album Ten Summoner’s Tales. Cut to today and for the first time ever shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online, according to analytics firm comScore. E-malls are extremely popular and growing at a rapid rate especially with larger smartphone screens, convenient apps and faster wireless networks. Consumers have no qualms about shopping on internet platforms hosting many Sellers with unrecognizable brand names which paves a smooth path for smaller merchants to compete in a competitive big box retail landscape.
As the general population makes this convenient way to shop the new norm, virtual Sellers are jumping onto a variety of platforms as a way to expand (often globally) and grow revenue via multiple channels.
Diligent Amazon Sellers regularly strategize how they can:
Increase sales (both on and off Amazon);
Setup more e-storefronts on high traffic channels; and,
Acquire new customers.
In a Web Retailer and Feedvisor survey, results showed that 77% of online Sellers use multiple (1 – 3 or more) sales channels in addition to Amazon. Maybe that’s because multi-vendor online marketplaces are potential gold mines.
A Natural Step for Amazon Sellers
What are two of the largest multi-merchant online venues shoppers frequent? 22 year old Amazon and 21 year old eBay. Sales by merchants on Amazon and eBay accounted for about 27% of North American online retail sales in 2015, according to Internet Retailer. And that is increasing by the day.
Consider these relevant stats:
Although every Amazon Seller climbs a steep learning curve, it’s a far easier process for them to open another lucrative e-store on eBay than on Walmart.com. While Walmart has 101 million site visitors, there are hoops to jump through initiated by submitting an application, then waiting for their confidential “proprietary” seller verification process to be completed, then more waiting for their invitation to sign up (assuming you’ve been accepted).
Sellers on both Amazon and eBay tend to benefit from a better conversion rate as shoppers start their search with the intention of making a purchase. It’s more about the convenience and familiarity than it is about comparing prices.
Exploring eBay From a Seller’s Perspective
The power of eBay is undeniable. It has allowed millions of merchants to run profitable, at-home businesses. Just like Amazon, its constant evolution and policy changes keep Sellers on their toes. For most Sellers, that’s not a deal breaker.
Page detail pages have a completely different layout on eBay, but essentially covers similar components. For example, below is an eBay product page (screen view only) for a towel warmer looks like:
Whereas Amazon product page for a towel warmer looks like:
Many Amazon shoppers are loyal to their Prime membership thus wouldn’t even consider visiting eBay; but eBayers feel the same way about Amazon. That’s great news for Sellers considering to be on both platforms though: New customers, new potential revenue streams.
Comparing eBay to Amazon
Like any new marketplace, becoming familiar with how each one operates both from a Seller and a shopper’s perspective, requires research, practice and patience. Remember the first time you looked at the dashboard in an Amazon Seller account? It was near overwhelming, a bit intimidating and some would say not too user friendly. The more exploring and self-educating you are on any new platform; the self-empowered you become on each one.
eBay’s Seller Hub is easy enough to navigate and you can customize the layout to your preferences. This may be a huge relief to any Amazon Seller who has spent hours navigating their Dashboard.
So what are the similarities and differentiators between eBay and Amazon? Here are the top 5 ways to compare the them:
Product Pricing Options
eBay: Unless you choose to list your item as “Buy It Now”, shoppers can bid like an auction, to buy your products.
Amazon: You set the price up front. You can change your selling price as frequently as you deem strategically needed. Plus Amazon has a Automated Pricing tool that comes in handy when you’re selling too many products to watch buy box fluctuations daily
Commissions and Fees
eBay: eBay charges Sellers for listing products plus takes a commission which is around 10% of the sale.
Amazon: Listing on Amazon is free; however, Sellers pay an Amazon Referral Fee, Variable Closing Fee Per Item Fee, and FBA Fulfillment Fees. While that may seem like a long list, on average it amounts to about 15% depending on the category and you’re not charged anything until a product sells.
eBay: Sellers are solely responsible for offering any customer support. eBay Sellers quickly learn to respond professionally and courteously as their ratings will reflect that for future customers.
Amazon: FBA Seller customers (aka Prime members) get 24/7/365 access to Amazon’s “treat customers like they are royalty” service. Their no-questions asked FBA return policy is off the charts. Sellers are responsible for answering buyer messages and questions within 24 hours or risk a ding on their Account Health so you’re not completely off the hook.
Massive Customer Base
eBay: List your products, use solid keywords, price competitively and regular eBay buyers watching categories and using keyword searches will find you. The race to be displayed first is less critical on eBay. Shoppers are conditioned to look at available options for the best price.
Amazon: Optimized listings are a must to increase both discoverability and conversion rates. Sellers who upload professional looking images and obtain a fine-tuned list of keyword search terms always outperform those who don’t optimize. Generally, Prime shoppers stick to page 1 or 2 of search results and willingly pay a bit more in order to take advantage of their 2-day free shipping.
eBay: eBay offers protection through mediation for both Sellers with problem buyers and visa versa, buyers dealing with scamming Sellers. eBay’s longevity is a testament that shoppers feel confident that they won’t be cheated by Sellers even if they do not have many feedback ratings accumulated.
Amazon: With a reputation for being obsessively customer-centric, shoppers feel no risk of being duped when making purchases. As an Amazon Seller, you know how strict their Terms of Compliance really are and while counterfeiters and ill-intended Sellers sometimes started, they are eventually suspended or banned.
Sellers on both Amazon and eBay can profit from each marketplace’s credible reputation and increase product visibility all while building brand recognition.
Utilizing Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment for U.S. eBay Orders
FBA items are not just for the Amazon sales channel. For a fee, your FBA inventory can fulfill orders made on other channels such as eBay. As the #1 e-tailer, Amazon knows a thing or two about efficiently and effectively handling millions of orders daily. Pro Seller account members of any size can access all of that know-how, highly trained warehouse employees, automated systems and their super cool fulfillment center robots. With Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF), your inventory stored in their warehouses can also fulfill your eBay orders. It’s an easy way to scale your business.
With MCF, you manage your own customer service, and have the option to have returns shipped to you or back to Amazon fulfillment centers and returned to your existing pool of inventory. You can request to have your inventory returned to you at any time.
To turn the MCF option on, go into your Seller account → Settings → Fulfillment by Amazon → scroll down to this box → enable Multi-Channel Fulfillment Settings.
Notice there is an option to customize packing slips with your Merchant Name (40 characters) and write a 250 character message.
Ready to Expand Your Amazon Business on eBay?
Most likely you have invested quite a bit in sourcing products that may be even be private labeled. Building your brand name and getting those products in front of millions of shoppers is a constant goal on every successful Seller’s agenda. Whether your products are flying off Amazon’s fulfillment center shelves or flatlining, utilizing only one marketplace in today’s world of online shopping is a needless limitation. Why not be on the two largest AND the two easiests platforms where multi-merchants are welcomed? Once you realize just how simple it is to segue into an eBay business, it’s virtually a no brainer.
Follow these steps and you will have your eBay business up and running in no time:
- 1. Set-up a PayPal account. Create one for your Amazon business instead of using a personal existing account.
- 2. Register with eBay. Choose a private or business account.
- 3. Sign-up with ZonGuru to automatically add your Amazon listings to eBay. Eliminate the time and hassle of listing your products all over again.
- 4. Turn on your Multi-Channel Fulfillment option in your Amazon Seller account so your eBay orders can be taken from your existing FBA inventory.
- 5. Take advantage of all the time you saved yourself in steps 3 and 4…do something that nourishes your peace of mind.