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Wed Nov 22 2017 20:30:34

Seller Compares Shoppers on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy

By: Reader

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Would you agree with this seller's blunt assessment of the type of shoppers found on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy?

Dear Ina
I have written to you before telling you how much I enjoy your blog/newsletter. I look forward to them as I find your stories very informative and very helpful with my selling on the big sites, Amazon, eBay, Etsy.

I list 20 products I build on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. My sales on Amazon are approximately $20,000 gross every two weeks. Listing the same products on eBay and Etsy, I get almost Zero! "No Sales". Yes, No Sales!

I find that people who shop eBay are looking for cheap Chinese junk, and the people on Etsy are looking for products to steal and build themselves.

I wonder what is going on.

Kind Regards
Bruce

Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 10:36:16 2017

Etsy & eBay Seller here... no Amazon...
AMAZON is the PROBLEM...
their 'free-free-free' policies...
put people & local biz OUT of biz...
good for you taking in your 20k.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 27 12:38:15 2017

@Bruce, you need to go with what works best.  If Etsy doesn't work, then leave ETSY.  You're paying fees for no sales; right?
If AMZ works then stay with AMZ.  I do well on Ebay, sell a little bit on AMZ.  Since AMZ gates so many items, it's hard to list there.
I don't do anything at Etsy.  I have an account but never sold.
Just don't paint a broad stroke and blame the Chinese....because honestly, I have bought a lot of good stuff from China

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by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 28 13:19:00 2017

I absolutely do think that ebay buyers are cheap. Here I go again, but for me the writing was on the wall, years ago, when ebay started using the phrase "at low prices" in its promotional material. The result of that "promise" has resulted in the cadre of cheapsters who now constitute the majority of ebay buyers. For a long time, I was fortunate that my rather specialized category of collectible paper attracted a relatively affluent buyer. Now, though, I'm beginning to see less affluent (and younger) buyers looking for unreasonalble deals -- and they are often very bold in their demands. It is, of course, generational, and as a fogey, I miss the "good old days" of ebay.

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by: MikeB This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 31 16:06:47 2018

I'm sorry for coming into the discussion so late, (3 months late to be exact) and for the long response. But, Bruce's observations made in comparing sales between his Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon stores are the same for many other online sellers too. I personally cannot speak about Ebay because I do not sell on that platform, but I have almost six (6) years experience selling on Amazon and Etsy, and there is a quantum leap difference between the two.

Before I say anymore, I want to be clear that I don't believe this applies to all sellers with both an Etsy and Amazon store selling the same items. I've have spoken to many other online shop owners who have seen equal amounts of success with both platforms. However, the majority of people that have spoken with me about their experiences selling on Etsy and Amazon expressed a similar observation and concern. Most started on Etsy and after some encouraging success, took the plunge and opened a shop on Amazon. The difference was like night and day, but after some time had passed they started to question whether or not what they thought was "ecouraging" with Etsy, really was.

I will not divulge the names of our shops on Etsy and Amazon, but I will tell you the product types; one is home decor woodcrafts and the other is a candle shop. Our shops, on average do about 30-40 times more sales each month on Amazon than we do on Etsy. We sell they same products using the same images, titles, product descriptions, keywords or tags, and list for the same prices on both Amazon and Etsy. The difference is our Amazon stores sell at a rate of 30:1 compared to Etsy. We're talking hundreds and hundreds sales each month compared to handfuls on Etsy. It's very disappointing.

Bruce used an analogy comparing Ebay and Etsy shoppers as ones looking for "cheap Chinese junk", and "looking for products to steal and build". I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment completely, but I will say, from my experience and the experiences expressed to me from other sellers I spoke with, that Etsy shoppers tend to be more of the weekend "flea market" type looking for bargains, and Amazon customers are more like Mall shoppers. I am not broad-brushing all Etsy buyers into the same category. Many shops do quite well on Etsy selling high-end products, but that seems to be more of the exception, not the rule. One might argue and say, "yeah, but Amazon has 10 times the amount of traffic as Etsy, so of course you're going to see a much higher sales volume". And I would counter and say, 'that may be true, but Amazon also has 10 times the amount of competition', and I would be right. Amazon is a highly competitive; there are a 1000 shops selling the same items you're selling. But, the culture of the buyers is different. Why? I don't know, but clearly there is a difference. One thing I do know, I know my products very well. I come from a strong corporate and financial background and know how to capture my actual costs for the products we sell. I know my COGS, my margins, and whether or not I can sell my products at a competitive price and make an acceptable profit. It is clear to me that many Etsy sellers do not. When Bruce said that Etsy shoppers are looking for products to "steal and build", he wasn't that far off. Etsy seems to be the place where a lot of people are looking for ideas to start a business and tend to go after the low hanging fruit; something easy, and doesn't cost a lot to get started. There's nothing wrong with that, in and of itself, but the problem is a flood of sellers who haven't a clue as to their real costs to make the widget they want to sell and the end result is another happy-go-lucky new shop owner who thinks they will out perform all other shops by offering their products at a much lower price and think they will make it up in volume. Well of course, this never happens and most are out of business within a 12 months. Unfortunately, as long as these unwise entrepreneurs keep flooding the Etsy market, there will always be the more wiser flea market bargain hunter to take advantage of them.  

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