Difference Between Ebay and Amazon

venkatesan | March 23 - 2015

There are some fundamental distinctions between Amazon and Ebay websites. While both are online shopping sites with nearly 200 million users, Amazon is a retailer whereas eBay is an auction site.

Fees and Charges

As an eBay seller, you can list as many number of times you can until you it is sold. After completing the sale, eBay charges 10% of the sale price on a monthly basis.
In Amazon, it is called referral fees and variable closing fees.

Referral fees is a charge on the percentage of total sale price plus shipping costs plus packing charges paid by the buyer. The percentage varies depending upon the category of the product. For example, for Books, Movies and Music it is 12% and for fashion jewellery, musical instruments it is 15

Variable closing fees is where sellers pay a fixed amount of Rs.10 on each item sold. For media products $1.35 is levied and for non-media products it is based on the weight of the item. If it is ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ then the $1.35 is not charged which means that orders are eligible for free delivery and the products are solely packed and dispatched by Amazon. Apart from the above referral fees and variable closing fees, $0.99 cents per item is charged for all items irrespective of the category. But it is waived for people who come under yearly or monthly subscription.

Payment to the Seller

EBay supports Paypal gateway as its payment partner. When a sale is completed and delivered to the buyer’s destination, the money is paid to the seller’s Paypal account. As a seller, you can use the Paypal account on other sites also though a minimum balance is expected to be maintained in your paypal account.

In Amazon, the seller uses Amazon Payment where the payment is transferred to the seller’s bank account on bi-weekly basis.


Compared to a shopping method where the buyer reaches the physical location of the store and make purchases, online shopping is comfortable in terms of variety of selections possible.

In Ebay the process of shopping may be tedious since it involves waiting for the auction and shipping the items takes a bit of time.Moreover, it sells goods that are not always commodities but limited release of items. But it rewards regular buyers.

Amazon gives you an yearly subscription with Amazon Prime for about $79 and there are devoted customers thronging the site.

Customer Service

For an auction site like eBay, the feedback from customers is quite important because in case of dissatisfied customers, it can disturb the company’s esteem.

So, they have notifications in their site that asks the viewers to flag items after they complete a transaction. For Amazon, its only recently that they have realized the importance of customer feedback and trying to make its impression in this line.

Customers’ Attitude

Auction trolls is a common problem in Ebay auction listings. An auction troll is where a segment of buyers reject to pay after they won resulting in the next highest bidder to pay the high rated price. In such a case, ebay raises a ‘Second Chance Offer’ and the item is passed to the next highest bidder.

‘Sniping’ is another issue in auction where users bid at the last moment. Almost all items sold on Amazon are based on clicking the items once, so customers do not find much difficulty in reading the condition of the items.

Product Listings

On eBay the seller can create their own listing with images according to the stipulations of eBay.

Amazon has a common product listing for any number of sellers selling the same product. But it gives sellers a Buy Box feature where you can differentiate by listing your unique pricing.

Shipping costs

At eBay, sellers can decide their own shipping costs. Sometimes, if you charge high there are chances of risk.

Amazon charges for shipping to reimburse the mailing costs. It usually charges a flat rate for most items. It is ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ it charges a regular fee where Amazon has its own stock maintained and dispatches it.


EBay’s auction listings are based on the sole demand of the customers for a product whereas, Amazon has a devoted group of customers who regularly visit their sites. Though some sellers have tie-ups on both the kind of selling atmosphere, they will have differentiating experiences at these places.