ecommerceSelling excess belongings like old clothes, unwanted CDs, DVDs, books, furniture and more is a great way to declutter your life and start fresh. If you’re new to online shopping and sales though, the Amazon vs. eBay debate could be the one thing holding you back.

Which online retailer should you use to sell your items? Which site offers the easiest, quickest way to put your items up for sale, and from which site can you make the most money?

Both sites have their own pros and cons, which will apply differently to you depending on your preferences. Let’s take a look at the benefits and hassles of each, and help you make an informed decision!

Ease of Use

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, selling new and used items from official and individual retailers, including regular people just like you! Listing an item is as easy as identifying the model number, typing up a brief description, and setting your own price. You don’t even need to take a picture of the item if it’s already listed on Amazon.

If you’re selling a used copy of a textbook, for example, you’d just need to input the book’s ISBN number, confirm the particular book you’re selling, and wait until someone buys it.

For eBay, the process is a little more hand’s on. You’ll have to take your own pictures, upload them to your computer, and then again on your eBay listing, provide a more in-depth description of the item, and set your item and shipping price. You’ll also need to setup a PayPal account, which is the payment method used by eBay, if you want to receive your money!

For someone a little less tech savvy, eBay is not the greatest choice. There are more steps involved, and more opportunities to mess something up. Amazon’s system, on the other hand, is easy and straightforward.

Winner: Amazon

Learn how to sell on Amazon here!

Item Condition

eBay has an auction-style option for selling items, whereas Amazon does not. This makes eBay a more suitable choice for buyers looking for used items, preferably cheap, and sometimes rare. Depending on what you’re selling, item condition might not be the top priority for eBay shoppers.

Because Amazon is a huge marketplace with official retailers and plenty of high-end merchandise, its shoppers are more likely to buy items that are new, or at least in new condition. It isn’t likely Amazon shoppers will skim through a long list of retailers searching for the cheapest item in the least new condition, unless they’re really strapped for cash! That’s what eBay is for.

If you want to sell used items without worrying about people not buying them based on their condition, eBay is probably the way to go.

Winner: eBay

Making Money!

Perhaps the top priority for anyone selling their used goods online… making bank! Unless you run an online store, you probably won’t be rolling in cash right away, but it’s nice to get some easy money here and there for your unwanted belongings.

Figuring out which online store you can make the most money off of means examining the costs and fees associated with listing products in the first place. That’s right – you have to spend money to make money.

Listing items on Amazon is free with a basic membership. It costs $40 a month to upgrade, which is a hefty amount, and probably not necessary for someone just looking to put on a quick, digital garage sale to clean out their house. What that upgrade gets you is the ability to sell items that aren’t listed on Amazon. Since Amazon is a huge site with an extensive inventory, you’ll need to have a pretty rare item for that upgrade to be a necessity.

While listing items doesn’t cost anything on Amazon, they will charge you once the item sells. This is a bit nicer than eBay’s system, which charges you to list an item whether or not it sells at all. Amazon gives you a little leeway and doesn’t charge you until you have a buyer.

Some people say the cost of listing and selling an item is eventually the same for both eBay and Amazon. It depends on what you’re selling, and at what rate, not to mention all the complications that come with shipping.

Keep in mind eBay’s auction element as well. You might end up listing something for a low price, and getting a much higher offer. Amazon does not allow this.

There are complications that come with eBay’s use of PayPal though. You’ll have to pay a separate fee to PayPal to receive payment through it, while Amazon uses its own Amazon Payments system and will deposit your money into your bank account twice a month, by default.

While it seems like a tie, I’m going to have to push it a bit towards Amazon, just for the fact that it uses its own payment system, and doesn’t require you to pay a fee to list items.

Winner: Amazon


With Amazon, you don’t have much of an option to market your specific brand. You can run a store that specializes in selling items like used books or CDs, but your store’s brand doesn’t matter. With eBay, sellers can customize their store page and have much more freedom over the way buyers view their inventory.

Winner: eBay

Learn how to sell on eBay here!

Community and Feedback

Amazon and eBay both use feedback systems, where buyers can define how their transaction went with a seller. Amazon buyers don’t seem to care as much about negative feedback as eBay buyers. This is most likely because of Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee policy, which gives shoppers a sense of security when buying from their site. eBay has a similar system in place, but it seems to be more overlooked in favor of a more critical community for reviewing transactions.

Because of Amazon’s lack of community, the winner of this round will have to be eBay.

Winner: eBay


There may have been five categories, and eBay may have won most of them, but that doesn’t make it the best! Again, it’s entirely dependent on what you want the selling process to look like, and how that applies to you. Selling a bunch of rare old toys you found in the attic? Go with eBay. Selling some old college textbooks that are in fairly new condition? Go with Amazon.

Whichever online retailer you end up going with, it might be good to read up on some online sales strategies for both eBay and Amazon!

eBay Selling students also learn

Empower your team. Lead the industry.

Get a subscription to a library of online courses and digital learning tools for your organization with Udemy for Business.

Request a demo