There are several good ecommerce seller platforms to choose from, but eBay and Amazon are probably the most popular. I lot of people wonder if Amazon may be the better choice for beginners, but I really don’t think that’s the case. Based on what I’ve learned building my own online retail business, I think new sellers should start on eBay. I got my start on eBay and didn’t begin looking into Amazon until about ten months in…and I’m so glad I didn’t try sooner.
Selling on Amazon can be really profitable and I do recommend moving that way after a few months, but there are a lot of really complicated and convoluted elements to running an Amazon business. Their system isn’t very beginner-friendly; I spent hours upon hours trying to figure things out and more than once I felt like banging my head against the wall. If I had tried to tackle the ins-and-outs of Amazon any earlier, there’s a really good chance I would have gotten frustrated and given the entire online retail endevour up completely.
When you’re just getting started, it can be easy to become discouraged. This is a very vulnerable time for new entrepreneurs because everything about society’s conditioning is screaming for you to “Get a real job,” and “Stop living in a dream world,” because “You’re just going to fail.” None of that is true, but adding the extra stress of working through Amazon’s restrictions and requirements without any basis in online retail can feed into those fears and make pushing forward all the more difficult.
That’s the overarching reason new sellers should start on eBay, but I want to delve a little deeper. So here are six much more specific reasons that eBay is the perfect solution for breaking into the world of online e-commerce.
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1. eBay is Free to Start
Finding the capital to open a business is one of every entrepreneur’s biggest worries, but eBay can completely alleviate this concern. One of the main reasons new sellers should start on eBay is that it’s completely free to start selling. You automatically get 50 free listings a month and you don’t owe eBay a dime until your products start selling. You can list more if you pay an insertion fee of $.30, but I’ve literally never paid it. eBay also has free listing promotions all the time, providing you even more opportunity for growth.
2. Low Seller Fees
Using an already established e-commerce platform give you instant access to millions of already-dedicated buyers, but it comes at a price: seller fees. Luckily, eBay’s cut of your earnings is quite reasonable. With a basic account, eBay gets 10% of whatever you sell your item for, including the cost of shipping. That may initially seem steep, but other sites take up to 20% in referral fees and most don’t give you free monthly listings or run seller promotions.
3. Instant Access to Funds (Almost)
New sellers are usually eager to get the cash from sold items quickly so they can reinvest and build their businesses faster. That’s smart, but sometimes difficult. Amazon, for example, holds funds from your sales for two weeks, plus processing time. eBay, on the other hand, sends your earnings directly to your PayPal account as soon as a transaction is processed and bam! You’ve got your money. The only exception to this is for brand new sellers; your funds will show up as “pending” in PayPal until eBay can confirm delivery of orders. If you ship on time, this only takes a few days and the holds completely end once you’ve been selling on eBay for three months.
4. Buyers Expect Used Items
While you can definitely buy and sell used items on other e-commerce platforms, eBay firmly holds the title for best online auction site. eBay is the master of auction-style selling online and many buyers intentionally shop there to look for used items at a discounted price. This is perfect if you’re planning to bootstrap your online retail business into being because you can sell things from around your home first. Since buyers expect to find used items on the site, you should sell your items more quickly and build your business faster than you would on other sites.
5. Flexible Listing Options
Another reason new sellers should start on eBay if that the site offers flexible listing options. When you first start selling, it can be difficult identifying the best prices for your items. The ability to create auction-style listings and allow for buyer-initiated offers gives you a buffer in this department. If, for example, you have an item you’re unsure how to price, you can list it as an auction and let the bidding do the work for you. Further, accepting buyer offers on Buy It Now listings still gives you the opportunity to sell your item even if you accidently overpriced it.
6. Simple Photo Requirements
Oh. My. God. At one point, figuring out Amazon’s photo requirements and meeting them was literally the bane of my existence. I’ve got it handled now, but if I’d had to wade through their guidelines and produce the kind of images they want from the beginning, I would have written off selling on Amazon forever and switched to eBay anyway.
When it comes photographing your items for eBay, all you need is a basic camera or your phone. eBay buyers prefer real images to stock photos, so there’s no need to mess with fancy editing programs to remove backgrounds or adjust the size.
There are tons of e-commerce platforms out there, but I firmly believe new sellers should start on eBay. Amazon may promise huge sales numbers but, for beginners, there are so many more reasons to choose eBay. For now, focus on getting your feet wet with eBay so you have a firm foundation in online retail when you decide to conquer Amazon further down the road.
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