Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 6 2015 22:12:14

Reasons Why eBay Sellers Expand to Amazon

By: Ina Steiner

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In Tuesday's Newsflash we report on the trend of eBay sellers expanding to Amazon, something that did not happen overnight. Take a look at tomorrow's article for some interesting data and read what Bloomberg has to say about it. (Now available.)

Beyond the numbers, we'd like to explore the reasons some sellers embrace multi-channel selling while others find that's not an option.

First, to show how dramatic the shift has been, here's a look at some survey data. In 2006, 28.2% of EcommerceBytes readers were selling on Amazon and 99.2% were selling on eBay. A survey conducted last year revealed that 47% of readers were selling on Amazon; 59% on eBay; 45% on Etsy; and 40% on their own website. 

Sellers have told us some of the reasons they can't sell on Amazon - items must be new, and many categories are restricted (like clothing), for example. Selling on more than one venue also adds complexity. Syncing inventory isn't necessarily easy and can result in sales of out-of-stock items.

Are those legitimate reasons? Defend your position for staying put.

On the other hand, many eBay sellers are successfully selling on both venues - what were the reasons for expanding to Amazon? And how do your strategies vary by marketplace? What would you tell your peers about making the leap to Amazon or other venues?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Reasons Why eBay Sellers Expand to Amazon   Reasons Why eBay Sellers Expand to Amazon

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 6 22:43:25 2015

I sell books, magazines and comics. I originally started selling on Amazon 12 years ago, and expanded into Ebay shortly thereafter. I do not know of any media seller who does not sell on Amazon, but there are many who do not sell on Ebay.

I have actually done well selling on both sites. Updating inventory across the difference sites takes time and requires organization but the sales justify this time. Sellers who count on only one venue are unnecessarily restricting their sales revenue and putting their business at risk through dependency. A good example of this is playing out right now. Ebay just surprised media sellers by announcing they were increasing listing fees for these items by 500%. Any media seller who allowed themselves to be dependent upon Ebay as their only sales venue was effectively destroyed by this fee hike. Moving forward I expect to sell many fewer books and magazines on Ebay than I have been in the past, but overall I will be fine because I have always been able to sell these same items on others venues. My greater concern at this point is now that Ebay has made itself an uncompetitive venue for low cost books I have to find other sales venues beside Amazon to prevent becoming overly dependent on that one site.

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 6 23:04:27 2015

Familiarity & fear. Change is good.
You have to get over one , to get to the other. I sell on several sites. Depending on the need.

Different sites , draw different results. Diversity cannot be beaten.

I sell many different items. I need a place for everything , in its best, my match.

I sell music equipment , collectables , antiques , military , tractors , ect... Each has its fit. All of what I do , cannot be achieved by one venue. Diversify. Many eggs , requires many baskets.

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by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 6 23:27:13 2015

This is us. After the absurd ebay defect policy went into play we moved all of our stock to Amazon and never looked back, ebay is a joke, amazon is the bomb!!! As Donald Trump says, "Ebay your fired"

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by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 00:03:18 2015

Since I am in the used clothing business, Amazon is not an option for me. If I were looking into a new business, I would go a completely different way (hand made at Etsy) rather than Amazon. Ebay still brings in 99% of my sales, but I have started looking for other sites and branching out.

I think the more important information is that in the last 12 months, 95% of my shopping has happened on Amazon, whereas the previous 10 years 95% of it happened on Ebay.

It used to be that I would shop Ebay FIRST for everything. I would search on Ebay and support small sellers even down to the tights I bought my kids in the winter. It is just to hard to find anything now.

Sellers go where the buyers are. the buyers are on Amazon because 1) sellers who were buyers have been removed from selling on Ebay and 2) Cassini search has manipulated results so badly that it is near impossible to find anything a a buyer. Watching my search terms be changed repeatedly and then getting results I wasnt looking for is the most frustrating thing to deal with as a buyer.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: MJRock

Tue Apr 7 00:27:25 2015

One reason we moved to Amazon is eBays antiquated feedback system.  eBay penalizes sellers for customer feedback "opinions" on products, even if the seller provides exceptional service.  It's too easy to get a crazy customer who enjoys leaving negative and neutral "product reviews" in the form of feedback on eBay, which will ruin your eBay business.

At least with Amazon, item reviews and sellers feedback are separate ratings systems.  We have actually had Amazon REMOVE negative seller feedback because it was a product review, and not a seller review.  And I didn't even have to contact Amazon for them to remove the feedback, they did on their own and contacted me to apologize that a customer would do that  . . . We have many 1 and 2 star reviews for products on Amazon, but our seller ratings is 100%

Even though Amazon has issues (as does any "venue"), we easily sell 10 to 1 compared to eBay, so it is well worth to list on Amazon depending on the category you are selling . . .

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by: sellerfish This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 00:33:27 2015

As bad as ebay sucks, I have had even worse experience with Amazon. It is common for Amazon to grant buyer a refund and not require return of item. That policy has cost me several hundred dollars. Also, Amazon is so paranoid about you stealing their customer that if they catch you trying to even suggest direct communication, you will get booted. Late last year, amazon started their new collector coin category and when I declined to join, most of my listings were suppressed. Amazon sucks

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by: cutfingers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 00:34:58 2015

I used to have a love/hate relationship for ebay. Now it's a hate/hate relationship. I like Amazon. I realize I am rationalizing here, but I like it when Amazon gives us our earnings after they take their commission. I hate the big invoice monthly from ebay. I know, the dollars are the same, but it seems it's a positive thing for Amazon and a negative from ebay. Amazon seems to like sellers, ebay hates sellers. I can also list as many items as I want, they are there as long as I want, and no listing fees. I have almost 5000 items on Amazon, and always less than 100 on ebay. Ebay is trying so hard to BE Amazon, and it's killing them. They should go back to their roots, and be what made ebay great.  

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 00:37:38 2015

I sell collectibles and commodities in two eBay stores.  EBay keeps me busy enough I don't have time to expand to other venues.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 00:44:08 2015

Amazon as mentioned above does NOT support a LOT of catagories.  The one thing I COULD sell on Amazon I am not even sure how to LIST as a teensy seller.  IS there even a way TO do that?  

I have just looked at the earlier mentioned by Ina TIAS site;  there is a lot on there in the way of jewelry and antiques and the like and I might look into listing some stuff on there--however there seems to be NO WAY to see what SELLS there---so you have no pricing basis;  when I looked at a seller with large 14k charms there was not even gold weight; one was listed as "almost a quarter ounce"---um;  sorry--no!   There does not appear to be ANY FB--which could be good or bad; and their search left a few things to be desired. But if I have this stuff sitting here and I can't sell it on ebay (nothing is in actual fact SELLING ON EBAY)  --

I also looked at eCrater and Bonanza and neither one of them seem like a good fit;  ETSY might do for some vintage items--again;  I have looked and not a real fan and they seem to treat their sellers like crap too.

Why oh why have none of US done a Kickstarter or GoFundME for a REAL sales site?  

Anyone?  

Perminate Link for Reasons Why eBay Sellers Expand to Amazon   Reasons Why eBay Sellers Expand to Amazon

by: rightwinger This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 01:26:29 2015

I sell on both Ebay and Amazon.  There was a time where it was 90% amazon and 10% ebay.  now it is 80% ebay and 20% amazon.  I sell a lot of items that are restricted on amazon but that can be sold on ebay.  Also, Ebay fees are less than amazon.  And Ebay has features that Amazon does not have such as 1)auctions, 2) best offer, 3) the ability to sell from  multiple accounts 4) more flexibility in setting shipping rates 5) on ebay you can exclude certain countries but on Amazon for example you can sell international but it is all of Europe or none.  For some items I can generate more profit on Amazon, but for other items I can generate more profit on Ebay.  It isn't that hard to manage both with all the software that is available today.  

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by: lostinNYC This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 01:35:49 2015

I quit selling on Amazon, the money was good, but the policies not. Customer service (for sellers) was so much more aggravating than anything I ever experienced. Amazon was nearly useless for international sales, at least when compared to eBay, where international transactions are close to half of my income.

The Amazon fees, for what I am selling. are much steeper than eBay's, while the cash-flow (due to only twice monthly access to funds) was so bad it threatened to sink my entire operation.

One of the worst aspects for me about selling on Amazon: a seller does not retain the rights to images.  

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 02:11:30 2015

i started selling books on ebay, then added amazon.  i make a lot more money on ebay, but amazon is a far more pleasant place to sell and certainly more "stable" as far as rules and fees go. with ebay's focus on front end fees, i expect to see a lot of booksellers give up on them.  you need to have a big inventory to be able to make a living at this and a lot of book dealers won't be able to stomach a random doubling (that is what will happen to me after i am forced to upgrade my store) of fees.  people who do it part time will decide it isn't worth it and leave.  

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by: NYSteve This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 02:20:17 2015

I have been selling on Amazon for a few years now, just to add to my Ebay 'outlet'. I would never actually buy anything on Amazon.
The listings are not actually 'yours', anyone can add anything to it and 'sell one like this', then if they have a lower price etc. the listing becomes 'theirs' and you are actually shipping the product they are advertising. i.e. they can actually change your item with a specific upc code from let's say, a blue coat, to a red coat. (this has actually happened) whoa's me to the customer thinking he is getting the blue coat, when the red coat arrives!
Besides, even if you are the sole seller of your specific item listed, you are so limited on Amazon in your descriptions, the buyer has to do a lot of guesswork to understand what he is getting....and it is not that easy to contact buyers/sellers on Amazon, so that most people don't even reply to their mails, or feedback requests.

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 06:06:05 2015

QC and Mindelec BACK UP 15 yards and punt... OK by punt I mean READ the CHANGES and resulting actual costs if one has ANY SORT of eBay store.  The HEADLINE number of the MEDIA listing fee is $0.30 .. BUT that is only for casual sellers who haven't gotten with the program and signed up for even a BASIC store. I too was shocked by ANY company increasing a fee from 5 to 30 overnight, but when I read the CHART that was provided I instead saw it as an OPPORTUNITY to upgrade from my Premium store to an Anchor store. Net-Net it was only going to cost me an extra $40-ish per month for ANCHOR vs. Premium as I already have 1,141 listings and under OLD regime was paying that Nickle for ReListed GTC orders every 30 days. MORE as I have been seeing a roughly 150 / month sell-through so the REAL number of monthly ReList fees was more like 800 nickles.  What I saw was that not only do I NO LONGER have to even FRET over Initial Listing Fee, but when you dig in a little DEEPER you see that with an ANCHOR store the NICKLE is now for EVERY CATEGORY.  I hope to ADD another 10 or more to my store every day racing to get ever closer to the current 2,500 FREE, but as I find that it takes on the close order of 10 minutes for each NEW listing (price research, inspection of item, PHOTOS, Editing photos, Lucid Description) trying to find those 100 minutes per day is daunting. Seriously REREAD that update and STUDY the Graphics.  No SANE eBay Media seller of books, movies, music should EVER see themselves listing for 30 cents.  I utterly don't understand anyone who WANTS to sell on eBay not RUSHING to get even a BASIC store if only because then one is ABLE to list multiple quantities as a single listing, Good Til Cancel worry-free, and just start LAUGHING at those who FRET over ReListing auction ads every few days. My worst example is still a GOOD example as last week a 2012 posting sold for my asking price. nearly 30 months at a nickle a month and I still made PROFIT and never had to FIDDLE with it anytime after posting.  I get enough more$$ using BIN GTC that eBay could NEVER come up any way to entice me to list at auction now.  I see too many SCREWED sellers who get STUPID LOW FINAL prices and then compound the error by offering Free Freight. Just yesterday afternoon I found an eBay seller who got LESS than $40 for ALL SEVEN SEASONS of Star Trek TNG with minimal postage when the SAME DAY another seller got $115 plus SHIPPING. Photos showed BOTH sellers were NOT selling the all-too-prevalent COUNTERFEIT seasons and both described them as Good Condition.  Balance off less than $40 vs $115 and then tell me that setting a GOOD price and WAITING MONTHS to see that $115 sale arrive would have been the worse choice.

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by: kayscrochet This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Apr 7 06:41:32 2015

We expanded to Amazon like many to take advantage of the huge amount of traffic Amazon has. And to increase sales. And it worked.

I use all venues to my best advantage. I think many are scared to sell on Amazon because they read all the myths.

The worst part is tracking inventory. I have tried a couple programs but have yet to find one that actually works.

But its still worth the extra time figuring inventory to have the increase in sales

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 06:56:29 2015

Since 2000-2001 (seller since 2001) I have sold on AMZ, EB, Half, and Ecrater.  Most of my sales come from EB and then AMZ.  I sold one item on Ecrater in a year and seriously thought about closing the shop.  Ecrater doesn't advertise and actively promote its site.  There's a lot they could do with the site, but they haven't upgraded since I've been on.

Each has its advantages/disadvantages.  AMZ won't let you sell in every category, for example -- used clothing and toys. EB will let you sell almost anything.  I believe I could sell dirt on EB, and that's the advantage over AMZ.
Both sites have let the Chinese flood with cheap priced goods and that's what causes stiff competition.
I especially like AMZ's Prime and that's why it's such a popular site.  If you get PRIME members on the site, they stay there and buy.  EB is so behind the curve.  AMZ has download music and storage space.  EB doesn't offer those goodies.  AMZ has the FIRE tablet, EB doesn't.  AMZ is willing to risk finding new R&D products and make shopping easier (the DASH), and EB hasn't.  Another reason why AMZ is bypassing EB.

I am not so sure that EB needs auctions anymore -- except for collectibles and rare items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Apr 7 07:12:04 2015

Amazon Like: they are not constantly rebuilding the house. Stable.  You list it and you're done. (Unlike eBay where you have to constantly relist, redo photos and tweak listings to keep it fresh)

Amazon Don't Like: Restricted categories (Amazon could wipe the floor with eBay if they opened up some of these restricted catergories)

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Apr 7 08:20:21 2015

As founder and leader of two former eBay sellers groups on social media, I find it almost ironic that the eBook I wrote about eBay's dark side and mistreatment of small sellers has premiered on Amazon. There's a certain hilarious "karma" in that...

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by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 08:35:35 2015

Sellbrite works.

We tried a couple, some of them decided to end and re-list our items without permission and other hi-jinks.

But sellbrite is simple,and they adjust your sold off Amazon in about 15 minutes from ebay.

Haven't got the whole program down yet. But we are happy so far.

Reasons to  move stuff off ebay?

So you aren't bent over and forced to do whatever they say.

If your business model doesn't support Amazon sales, maybe you should expand to some other products.

Oh yeah,and I don't have to relist my items on AMAZON, they stay there until they are sold.

??

Amazon's sales percentage (items listed versus sales) is about DOUBLE.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 7 08:47:34 2015

I sell 95% used items. I used to be 99% ebay and 1% other sites. I started on Amazon late 2010 with some video tapes after getting a box of them from my Grandma when she passed. I found out you could sell other used items than BVMD and started expanding. Right now I have about 1,000 items on there, with about 375 on ebay. Generally, the Amazon items are cheap items that aren't really worth listing on ebay, but considering how you can create a listing in 2 minutes on amazon vs about 10 on ebay, selling a $10 on amazon is great, but on ebay almost isn't worth my time. Also, I still sell a lot of "defective" items on ebay. I just sold a pair of defective commercial scales for $120 a couple weeks ago. They might have needed calibration or some other work, but they would not have been allowed on amazon, but the buyer was happy with them on ebay. Also, bulk lots. Selling a lot of items that aren't worth selling on their own can be sold in a lot on ebay.

Right now, I'm about 50%-50% ebay/amazon. I sell 4 times as many items on amazon, but they add up to about the same gross sales.
As for buying things, I seldom buy on amazon. Almost everything I want to buy is about 25-50% more expensive than the same item on ebay. Even things I sell. I might be able to get $20 for something on ebay, but easily sell it for $30-$35 on amazon.

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