Whatnot vs. eBay - Which Marketplace is Right For You?

Marketplaces 101
Whatnot vs. eBay - Which Marketplace is Right For You?

Choosing the right marketplaces to showcase your products is crucial for success. Luckily, Vendoo allows you to easily crosslist to multiple platforms, so you don’t ultimately have to choose. It streamlines the process of managing your inventory across multiple platforms, eliminates the tedious task of manual crosslisting, and equips you with valuable tools for maximizing your profits.


Nevertheless, let’s compare two robust marketplaces, Whatnot vs. eBay, to help you determine where to start. 


eBay is a household name in the online selling world. It's a giant marketplace with millions of active buyers searching for everything under the sun, from vintage clothing to collectible toys. For beginners, eBay offers a familiar and established platform with a well-defined auction system alongside fixed-price options. You can sell almost anything, making your opportunities endless. This broad reach allows you to tap into a diverse customer base, potentially leading to faster sales of your pre-owned treasures.


Whatnot is a new but fast-rising star in the e-commerce world, specifically catering to collectors and enthusiasts. It functions as a live-streamed auction platform, allowing you to showcase your unique finds and interact with potential buyers in real time. You can also load up your marketplaces with items that are always for sale just like you do with traditional reseller marketplaces. This format fosters a more personal experience and can ignite bidding wars, potentially driving up the final sale price of your special items like rare sneakers, vintage video games, or collectible trading cards.



Whatnot vs. eBay Selling Style:


If you crave the thrill of live auctions and the excitement of audience interaction, then Whatnot might be your perfect stage. This platform thrives on a live-streamed environment where you, the seller, become the auctioneer. You showcase your products in real-time, answer questions from viewers, and build excitement around your offerings.  The fast-paced format encourages bidding wars, potentially leading to higher selling prices for your unique finds.


On the other hand, eBay offers a more traditional approach.  You create listings with detailed descriptions, high-quality photos, and competitive pricing here.  You can choose from various formats like auctions with starting bids and ending times, fixed-price listings for a set sale price, or even the "Buy It Now" option that allows immediate purchases.  While lacking live interaction, eBay caters to a wider audience and provides more control over the selling process.



Whatnot vs. eBay Audience


Understanding your target audience is crucial for maximizing your sales potential. Here's a breakdown of who frequents each platform:


Whatnot: A Collector's Paradise

Think of Whatnot as a virtual treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts. This platform attracts passionate individuals with a keen eye for unique finds.  Think trading card aficionados, sneakerheads, or vintage video game enthusiasts. Here, your audience actively seeks specific items and is often willing to engage in bidding wars to secure their coveted pieces. While the platform as a whole is dominated by men, specific categories like fashion and jewlery have more female sellers. There are buyers and sellers of all ages, but it tends to skew just a bit younger than the eBay marketplace demographics. 


eBay: A Marketplace for the Masses

While Whatnot caters to a niche audience, eBay boasts a much broader spectrum of buyers.  This platform attracts individuals looking for everything from everyday essentials to luxury goods.  Here, you'll encounter bargain hunters seeking the best deals, casual shoppers looking for a specific item, and even collectors searching for that missing piece to complete their set. The sheer volume of users on eBay allows you to tap into a diverse customer base, potentially leading to faster sales of a wider range of products. The general demographics for eBay users are a slightly higher male audience of buyers between the ages of 35 - 64. You’ll also encounter buyers from all over the world and can participate in a global shipping program. 



Whatnot vs. eBay Fees and Commissions:


Fees can be a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a platform. Here's a breakdown of the selling fees and commissions you'll encounter on eBay and Whatnot:


Whatnot Selling Fees:

A flat 8% commission fee applies to the final selling price of the item, with some exceptions [Source 2].

For the "Coins & Money" category, the commission drops to 4% [Source 2].

The payment processing fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for payment processing [Source 2]. This fee is calculated on the total amount the buyer pays, including the item price, tax, and shipping cost.


eBay Selling Fees:

6.35% on the total amount of the sale (up to $7,500) + 2.35% on the portion exceeding $7,500 [Source 1].

Alternatively, a flat fee of 8% applies if the total sale amount is $150 or more, bypassing the per-category fee structure [Source 1].

There's also a separate insertion fee (typically around $0.35 per listing) depending on the listing format and category [Source 1].

The payment processing fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction [Source 1]. This fee applies to the total amount paid by the buyer, including the item price, tax, and shipping cost.


Here's a quick comparison of Whatnot vs. eBay fees to help you decide which is right for you:

  • Lower Overall Fees: If you're selling lower-priced items (under $150 on eBay), Whatnot might offer a slight edge due to its flat commission structure.

  • Higher-Priced Items: For expensive items, eBay's tiered fee structure can be more favorable as the percentage charged decreases for amounts exceeding $7,500.

  • Flat Commission vs. Per-Category Fees: Whatnot offers simplicity with a flat commission, while eBay requires you to be mindful of category-specific fees.

  • Insertion Fees: Don't forget to factor in eBay's insertion fees, which can add up for high-volume sellers.

  • Remember: Fees are just one piece of the puzzle. Before making your final decision, consider the target audience, selling style preference, and overall sales strategy.





Whatnot vs. eBay Global Reach:


Can you sell globally on Whatnot?

Yes, but with limitations. Here's the breakdown:

  • Whatnot Currently Supports Sellers from Specific Countries: While you can potentially sell globally on Whatnot, they currently only allow sellers to register from a limited selection of countries. These include:
    • United States (including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, excluding Guam)
    • Canada (excluding Quebec)
    • United Kingdom (Great Britain and Isle of Man, excluding Jersey and Guernsey)
    • France
    • Germany 

  • International Shipping: Whatnot itself doesn't handle shipping. The responsibility falls on you, the seller, to arrange and manage international shipping for your buyers. This includes:
    • Understanding Customs Regulations: You'll need to be familiar with customs regulations and import fees for the destination countries where your buyers reside.
    • Calculating Shipping Costs: Shipping costs will vary depending on the item's weight, size, and destination. You'll need to factor these costs into your pricing strategy.
    • Selecting a Reliable Shipping Carrier: Choose a reliable carrier with experience handling international shipments and customs clearance.


Can you sell globally on eBay?

Absolutely! eBay thrives on a global marketplace, allowing you to reach a vast audience of international buyers. Here's a breakdown of selling globally on eBay:

  • Reaching International Buyers: Offer Worldwide Shipping: You can list your items on the main eBay.com website and simply select "Worldwide" or specific countries you're willing to ship to. This allows you to tap into a broader international audience without managing listings on separate sites.
  • eBay Global Shipping Program: The eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) simplifies international sales for you as a seller by handling much of the legwork. You only ship your item domestically to a designated eBay hub within your country. eBay takes care of international shipping, customs clearance, and paperwork.



Whatnot vs. eBay Seller Tools and Support:


Each of these marketplaces offer tools that help sellers find success, but they way that go about it is very different.


Tools for Whatnot Sellers:

Whatnot caters specifically to the live auction format, offering unique seller tools that enhance the live-streamed experience and engagement with potential buyers. Here are some of the key features that set Whatnot apart:

  • Livestream Tools:
    • Randomizer: This built-in tool allows you to create a virtual wheel with options like sports teams or custom entries. You can spin the wheel during breaks or as part of a promotion, adding an element of chance and excitement for viewers.
    • Giveaways: Spice up your show by offering free items as giveaways. Whatnot randomly selects a winner from your audience, keeping viewers engaged and potentially encouraging them to participate in future auctions.

  • Show Notes: Create detailed notes for your live stream beforehand. This can include product descriptions, specifications, additional photos, and any relevant information buyers might need. These notes are then accessible to viewers during the live stream, providing them with a handy reference guide.

  • Seller Hub Overview: This centralized dashboard provides a comprehensive view of your Whatnot seller activity. You'll find information about upcoming shows, past sales history, analytics, and buyer messages, all in one place.

  • Whatnot Show Boost: This paid promotional tool allows you to increase the visibility of your live streams by featuring them prominently on the Whatnot platform. This can help attract a wider audience and potentially boost your sales.

  • Direct Messaging: Whatnot offers a direct messaging system for sellers to communicate with potential buyers. This allows you to answer questions, address concerns, and potentially negotiate deals outside of the live auction format.


You might also be interested in How Does Whatnot Work? A Guide For Sellers & Buyers


Tools for eBay Sellers:

eBay, as a long-established and multifaceted selling platform, boasts a wider range of tools compared to the niche focus of Whatnot. Here are some unique features that can benefit eBay sellers:

  • Bulk Listing Tools:
    • Turbo Lister: This free tool allows you to upload listings in bulk from spreadsheets or CSV files, saving you significant time and effort if you're selling a large volume of items.
    • Third-Party Listing Services: Several paid third-party services integrate with eBay and offer advanced bulk listing functionalities, inventory management features, and listing optimization tools.


  • eBay Seller Hub:  

This central hub streamlines your selling experience on eBay. It provides features like:

    • Inventory Management: Track your active listings, sold items, and low-stock inventory all in one place.

    • Bulk Editing Tools: Make edits to multiple listings simultaneously, saving you time and ensuring consistency across your listings.

    • Promotions and Discounts: Create and manage promotions like sales, coupons, and free shipping offers to attract buyers and boost sales.

    • Advanced Analytics: Gain insights into your sales performance, identify top-selling items, and analyze buyer behavior to optimize your listings and pricing strategies.

    • Seller Protection Programs: eBay offers various seller protection programs that safeguard you against fraudulent buyers and non-paying transactions. These programs provide peace of mind when conducting online sales.

    • eBay Product Research (formally Terapeak): Provides detailed information on sold and currently listed products on eBay, helping you source the best items and assign competitive prices. 


Selling on eBay? Here's a must-read for sellers! Best Selling Items on eBay 2024


Whatnot vs. eBay: A Quick Guide For Sellers


Whatnot Might Be A Better Fit For Sellers Who:

  • Thrive in a live, interactive selling environment.

  • Specialize in unique or collectible items.

  • Want to build a community around their brand.

eBay Might Be A Better Fit For Sellers Who:

  • Prefer a more traditional listing format.

  • Want to reach a broader audience across various categories.

  • Value established brand recognition and global reach.


The Final Verdict: Vendoo for eBay & Whatnot, the Perfect Crosslisting Solution!


So, which platform reigns supreme – eBay or Whatnot? The truth is, there's no single winner. Both marketplaces offer distinct advantages, and the ideal choice depends on your unique reselling goals and target audience.


For the thrill-seeker with a passion for collectibles: Whatnot is on target! Embrace the live auction format, ignite bidding wars, and connect with a community of enthusiastic collectors. Utilize Whatnot's built-in tools to create engaging live streams and leverage features like giveaways and randomizers to keep your audience hooked.


For the strategic seller with a diverse inventory:  eBay offers a well-established marketplace with a massive user base. Here, you can choose from a variety of listing formats, manage a large inventory with ease using bulk listing tools, and gain valuable insights from advanced analytics.


The key takeaway? Vendoo stands as your ultimate companion regardless of your choice.  This powerful tool streamlines your listing process across both platforms, eliminates the hassle of manual crosslisting, and equips you with valuable inventory management features.


Start crosslisting to BOTH platforms today!

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Ultimately, the best platform is the one that aligns with your business model and target audience.  With Vendoo by your side, you can conquer the e-commerce frontier on either eBay or Whatnot, maximizing your profits and achieving your reselling aspirations. Now, go forth and conquer the world of online sales!

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