A couple weeks ago I did a blog post asking for reader suggestions about what content they would like to see in future posts. Today’s post was written to answer the question, “is it better to sell on ebay or amazon?” I will be covering how I decide which platform to list on as well as how I decide whether or not to use the fulfillment by amazon program.
Deciding if it is better to sell on ebay or Amazon is a decision based on personal preference as well as the items you are selling. My personal preference with items that I sell is to sell them on amazon using the fulfillment by amazon program. I make my sourcing decisions with this in mind, but I do sell a decent number of items both via amazon merchant fulfilled and on ebay. The reason for this is that there are some items that are profitable that are not fit for the FBA program.
Below is my basic thought process when evaluating any potential item to resell (note that this assumes the item fits my required profit threshold, if the item does not fit my minimum profit threshold I will move on immediately):
As my preference is to sell via FBA that is always the first question that I ask myself. I am willing to accept the lowest profit per item here as I have to do the least work to earn the profit. I am generally looking for a minimum profit of $5 per item and 50-100% return on investment for items that I sell via FBA depending on how fast I expect them to sell. If the item fits these criteria I purchase them right away and don’t do any further analysis.
If the item is not something that I can sell via FBA, then I consider if I can sell the item merchant fulfilled on amazon. A few reasons that I may not want to send an item to FBA are: amazon has considered the item a hazardous material, the item weighs less than 13 ounces and can be shipped USPS first class, the expiration date is quickly approaching, and lastly seasonal factors don’t allow for the approximate 1 week transit time that FBA requires. For items that I sell merchant fulfilled, I am looking for a minimum profit of about $10 and at least a 100% return on investment. The reason for the higher standards is that it requires more of my time, and I have to be available to ship the item out when it sells.
If I find an item that is not fit to sell on amazon, then I decide if I want to sell the item on eBay. The primary items that I sell on eBay are clothing items. Selling clothing on amazon requires approval, and I have not attempted to gain this approval to this point. The majority of the items that I sell on eBay are clothing, but other reasons for selling items on eBay include: the item is damaged/flawed and requires pictures, an incomplete board game (items that are not 100% complete are not eligible to sell on amazon), or rare items that I want to auction off. As eBay requires more time to list items for sale and requires me to be around to ship it when it sells, I generally look for at least a $20 profit per item and at least 100% return on investment.
If I find an item that is not fit for sale on amazon or ebay, I will occasionally try to sell the item on craigslist or via my personal network. I very rarely get to this step, but a few items that I have sold via craigslist are: wakeboards, bikes, and golf clubs. If I sell via this route, I am looking for at least $50 profit per item and 100% return on investment.
This is the basic decision process that I go through whenever I am evaluating items to resell. I prefer to list in the method that allows me the easiest listing and shipping process, and ideally does not require me to ship the item when it sells to the end customer. This is why I pick FBA for the majority of my items. Selling via merchant fulfilled, eBay, or on craigslist, requires more of my time and that is the reason that I look for higher returns when selling via these methods.
These are simply the guidelines that I use and I have found work for me. You will have to decide what mix of the available platforms makes the most sense for your business. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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