Thinking of trying a new reselling platform? As a seller on both platforms, here is a comparison of eBay vs. Etsy and the benefits and downsides of each.
Learn more here:10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider
eBay & Etsy Audiences
eBay is the largest and most lucrative online reselling marketplace with 159 million users worldwide. Of those, 61% of eBay users are 35-64 years old, a more mature audience than many other popular marketplaces. eBay is likely the “best” place to sell with the largest audience and broadest range of what you can sell.
Interestingly, Etsy does not publish statistics or demographical information about users. According to a recent Statista report, Etsy has approximately 96.3 million active buyers as of 2021. Like eBay, Etsy is a global platform with a wide audience reach.
What to Sell on eBay vs. What to Sell on Etsy
eBay and Etsy selling categories are very different.
On eBay, you can sell almost anything. eBay offers a very broad range of categories from vehicles and real estate. Top-selling categories on eBay include jewelry and watches, electronics (computers, tablets, phones, cameras, video game consoles, games, and accessories), clothing and apparel, and health and beauty products.
On Etsy, the categories are fairly limited. You can only sell handmade items, vintage fashion, and craft supplies. Handmade goods are those made by the seller and range from clothing to décor and everything in between (including digital downloads). Vintage items are those which are at least twenty years old, for which you can provide authentication of age. Craft supplies include tools, ingredients, and materials whose primary purpose is for use in the creation of an item or special occasion (including party supplies).
Remember, you can quickly cross-list your items to both of them with Vendoo!
Listing an item for sale on Etsy is much simpler, but remember that eBay’s audience is much larger, so it is worth your time to list everything on eBay.
How to List an Item on Etsy
Listing items on Etsy is very straight forward: You can upload 10 photos (and a listing video), type a description, and select a few drop-down boxes based upon the category of your item (which may or may not include specifics such as size, material, colors, occasion, etc.)
On each Etsy form, you will enter the handling time and shipping information for the item, and also select whether to have it auto-renew or to manually do so yourself. You can also enter tags (basically hashtags) for the item based upon style for exposure and searchability.
How to List an Item on eBay
The eBay listing process is by far the most tedious, with so many drop-downs and options. On eBay, you can include up to 12 images and a listing video. eBay allows up to 80 characters in the title.
In addition to the required brand, condition, and size item details, eBay listings have a ton of optional item specifics. They’re not really optional, though, as they are required if you really want to maximize exposure and make sales.
eBay’s description box is not searchable via the search field on eBay, meaning that anything you type in your description will not yield in buyer searches. Instead, the item specifics are the best way to maximize searchability.
eBay also has selections in the listing field for payment preferences, shipping preferences, and return preferences; collectively eBay business policies. You can establish your business policies in your eBay Seller Hub to make for faster listing.
There are other drop-downs related to promotions (recommended) to advertise and promote your eBay listings, as well as volume pricing (the equivalent of a “bundle discount”). You can also choose your pricing style, buy it now or auction, and set a reserve price. While the tedious listing process and many options can be intimidating, they are all opportunities to enhance your listing and searchability to eBay’s astronomical audience: they are valuable seller tools that far exceed those provided on other marketplaces.
Managing Your eBay vs. Managing Your Etsy
One of the best tips I can provide for both eBay and Etsy is to be consistent with daily listings. Like most platforms, listing new items daily is the best way to increase visibility and make more sales. Of course, this can be quickly accomplished in bulk with Vendoo’s delist and relist feature.
In addition, take advantage of the tools provided by each platform to enhance visibility:
eBay Seller Tools
eBay is a beast, with so many tools and features; among them, (paid) promoting listings, coupons, bulk price adjustment, offers to likers, store sales, and so many more. Many of these require an eBay store, which I highly recommend for the best seller experience. Your eBay listings also renew monthly, refreshing them in the search feed.
Learn more about how to manage your eBay store and make more sales in this article.
Etsy Seller Tools
Etsy similarly provides many seller tools including: Etsy Ads campaigns, offsite ads, and coupons and sales. Etsy Ads promote your listings in Etsy search results. In your Etsy Shop Manager, you can set your ad budget and select the listings to advertise.
For a wider reach, you might consider offsite ads, which promote Etsy listings throughout the web including major search engines and social media platforms. Etsy offers off-site ad services with no upfront cost: you only pay the advertising fee when you make a sale.
Etsy also offers the ability for you to offer coupons and sales to encourage purchases! Learn more about Etsy coupons and sales here.
Overall, none of the reselling marketplaces are “list it and leave it” marketplaces, they all require a bit of work and maintenance to see consistent daily sales. But Etsy and eBay specifically have auto-renewal options which will keep your listings fresh with less work required on your part as a seller!
How to Ship on eBay vs. How to Ship on Etsy
Both eBay and Etsy offer many shipping options for sellers, including global shipping to broaden your audience across the world.
How to Ship on eBay
eBay has so many shipping options with so many ways to send items to your buyers. Plus, you can offer multiple delivery options (on the same item), to attract and accommodate different types of buyers.
To protect yourself against "Item not received" claims, you need to use a shipping carrier that is integrated with eBay including USPS, FedEx, and UPS (but also eBay shipping services, DHL, OnTrac, Lasership, Spee-Dee Delivery, and Lonestar.
On eBay, you can also offer free shipping or charge shipping, and this applies to shipping as well as returns. Most commonly, sellers elect to provide calculated shipping, where the buyer pays calculated shipping based upon their shipping location, their choice of carrier, and the weight and dimensions of the order (that you provide at the time of listing). Under this model, you will be paid for the item and shipping collectively at the time of the transaction, and then you will be prompted to purchase an eBay label to download and affix to your package.
You might also be interested in the article A Guide to Shipping on eBay
How to Ship on Etsy
Etsy puts the seller in control of all things shipping, including handling time, cost, geographical limitations, taxes, and shipping carriers including FedEx, USPS, and UPS. For users in the United States, you can pay for and print automatically generated USPS labels right from Etsy if you opt to ship with Etsy.
On Etsy, you can create shipping profiles with your shipping preferences. In these, you can determine whether you will charge shipping (at a flat rate or calculated based upon size and destination), or offer free shipping (and pay for it yourself). You will also determine whether to use labels provided by Etsy, or ship on your own with a service such as Pirate Ship.
Etsy provides a great rate for shipping, and shipping with Etsy is certainly easier than shipping on your own and providing the tracking information.
eBay Fees vs. Etsy Fees
Both Etsy and eBay offer low and competitive seller fees. However, both have a complicated fee structure.
eBay Fees: How Much Does eBay Take?
eBay offers competitive selling fees. Here is an overview of fees, credits, and invoices on eBay. eBay’s selling fees are dependent upon your membership, your store status (subscription), the item, and the payment method, but they might include an insertion fee, a final value fee, and any elective promotional fees.
Insertion fees are synonymous with “listing fees”. When you sign up for eBay, you will receive an allocation of “zero insertion fee listings” per month; for basic users (without a store subscription), you can list up to 250 free items each month.
Final Value Fees are simply the fees that you pay at the time of sale, and are dependent on the item, the sale price, the shipping service, and the sales tax. Final value fees are approximately 12.9 percent (for most categories), but do vary. Here is a chart which illustrates the final value fees associated with different categories of items.
Promotional fees apply if you promote your eBay listings. If you choose to pay for extra exposure, eBay provides sellers with promotional opportunities such as adding a subtitle to your listing and listing an item in multiple categories. You can promote all of your listings and will only actually have to pay the extra promoted listing fee if the item sells as a direct result of the promotion.
Etsy Fees: How Much Does Etsy Take?
Etsy has low seller fees (especially in consideration of the seller’s freedom in shop policies), but many resellers are deterred by the listing fee (It’s not too bad at twenty cents…).
A safe estimate is approximately eight percent. However, Etsy has a bit of a complicated fee structure:
Etsy’s Listing Cost is $0.20 per listing (which automatically renews and charges every four months by default, but you can disable that).
Etsy’s Transaction Fee is the basic seller’s fee in the amount of 5% of the sale price.
Etsy’s Payment Processing Fee is 3% + $0.25 per order.
Remember, that there might be other fees incurred for optional advertising including Etsy ad campaigns and offsite ad campaigns.
eBay Return Policy vs. Etsy Return Policy
Both eBay and Etsy are known as being “buyer-friendly” and most commonly resolve disputes in favor of the buyer, even when the buyer is “wrong.”
eBay Return Policy
The buyer is always right on eBay. On eBay, you can choose your own return policy, and even the return period and who pays for the return shipping. However, your personal return policy does not hold up to eBay’s buyer protection, and you’re likely to be forced to accept returns regardless of your individual policy.
I Recommend That You Offer Free Returns on eBay
Resellers hate the word “return,” but it's part of the business. Truly, if your buyers want to return an item, they’re going to. They will open up an “INAD” (item not as described return claim) and eBay will likely side with the buyer. Yes- even if your item is exactly as described, the eBay buyer is always right. You are highly unlikely to “win” a case on eBay. When a buyer successfully opens an INAD case, you will be required to pay the return shipping. So, if you don’t offer free returns, this is the mechanism buyers will use to go around your policies.
Further, having an INAD case resolved unfavorably can truly jeopardize your eBay account, decrease your promotion, and even increase your fees.
When a buyer successfully opens an INAD claim, you will have to accept the return, pay the return shipping, and you have an infraction on your account. So, you might as well offer free returns, because either way a determined buyer will force one upon you. This is an inevitable part of selling on eBay. On the plus side, most buyers want what they’re buying, and returns aren’t as common as you might fear.
Etsy Return Policy
On Etsy, you establish your own shop policies regarding returns and refunds, including if you accept them, the return time period, and who is responsible for the return shipping cost.
An Etsy buyer is unable to open a case on Etsy until they have first reached out to the seller directly and allowed 48 hours for the seller to respond. Thus, you must stay on top of your inbox. If you are unable to resolve the issue favorably with the buyer, the case will be escalated to Etsy support.
Etsy support generally does not allow for returns unless there is non-delivery or the item is not as described. Be sure to retain proof of shipment and photographs of the item to protect yourself as a seller in these instances.
Also remember that when buyers pay with Paypal, they also receive Paypal protection which often extends beyond what is offered by the marketplaces.
Returns are a part of business. That said, they are fairly uncommon- most buyers want the item they are purchasing.
Overall, Etsy and eBay are both great places to sell, especially if you’re a vintage seller or you make and sell homemade items.
Why choose just one? Sign up for Vendoo and cross-list all of your items to both to maximize your audience and make more sales!
Have you sold on these two platforms? If so, which one do you like the most? Tell us below!