Before you can sell anything online, you first need to decide where you want to sell it. That is, what online selling platform do you want to use?
And there’s no shortage of options on the table!
On one hand, this is awesome. The variety of ecommerce platforms available gives sellers plenty of opportunities to connect with customers, showcase their products, and generate sales.
But on the other hand, there are so many online marketplaces that it’s just not practical to create listings on all of them. Instead, you need to carefully weigh your options and select the best platform for you.
In this article, we’ll compare two popular online marketplaces: Etsy vs. eBay. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each, including audiences, merchant plans, and seller fees, to help you decide which platform is right for you.
Let’s start with a quick background on both Etsy and eBay.
Founded in 2006, Etsy is an online marketplace where independent sellers, artists, and artisans can list handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies.
Etsy is known for handmade items—but it’s not a marketplace for reselling handmade goods.
If whatever you want to sell doesn’t fit into one of Etsy’s three categories (handmade, vintage, or craft supplies), then this is not the right place to list your items.
Shopping on Etsy feels like the modern-day version of browsing an antique market or farmer’s market, but with a much larger audience. Not only can you get way more eyes on your products than you could from local foot traffic, but it’s also possible to sell items to customers almost anywhere in the world.
To list handmade items on Etsy, you must be directly involved in the creation process—either as the designer or maker of the item. Everyone involved in the creation must be listed in the shop description and any production partners must be credited in the listings.
For example, an artist could sell original works or downloadable prints on their Etsy store; but a collector wouldn’t be allowed to sell artwork they had no part in creating (that is, unless it meets Etsy’s requirements for vintage items).
If you want to sell vintage items on Etsy, you must be prepared to prove that the item is at least 20 years old.
As for craft supplies? This is the only category on Etsy that can include “commercial” items (alongside handmade and vintage craft supplies, of course). Etsy allows the selling of “tools, ingredients, or materials” to be used “in the creation of an item” or for special occasions. Examples include party decorations, DIY kits, patterns, canvas, and paints.
Created in 1995, eBay is one of the oldest shopping websites in existence. Millions of people around the world use eBay to buy and sell everything from clothing and furniture to electronics and collectibles.
It’s not just for resellers anymore. Although eBay originally launched as an online auction site (named “AuctionWeb” at the time), over 80% of today’s listings feature brand new items.
Perhaps eBay’s biggest advantage is its sheer size and popularity. As the second most popular ecommerce and shopping website in the world, eBay sees over 600 million visitors every month.
Originally eBay was an online auction site that involved bidding on each item. These days, the eBay marketplace has expanded to include a wider range of selling options—including auctions, store pages, individual listings, and more.
If you’re choosing between Etsy and eBay for online selling, there are a ton of factors to consider. Not sure what you should base your decision on? We recommend comparing eBay vs. Etsy by these five criteria:
How many shoppers use Etsy vs. eBay?
Both Etsy and eBay are wildly popular. At the end of 2021, Etsy had 90.1 million active buyers and 5.3 million active sellers.
As for eBay, the ecommerce giant boasts 142 million active buyers worldwide and has approximately 1.6 active listings.
What are Etsy and eBay customers shopping for?
Etsy shoppers are looking for unique handmade items, vintage goods, and craft supplies. Some of the top categories on Etsy are Clothing, Jewelry, Home & Living. In 2021, 23% of Etsy’s global market share came from custom and made-to-order products.
eBay shoppers could be looking for virtually anything, in either new or second-hand condition. The top-selling category on eBay is “Electronics & Accessories” (16.4%), followed by “Clothing & Accessories” (13.8%) and “Automotive” (11%).
How do shoppers access the platforms?
Ecommerce shoppers love to browse listings on their phones. Both Etsy and eBay have dedicated mobile apps that receive more traffic than their website counterparts.
On Etsy, 67% of traffic comes from mobile devices; on eBay, about 60% comes from mobile shoppers.
There are several different merchant plans offered by each platform. Depending on your preferences, sales volume, and budget, you can choose between three plans on Etsy and six plans on eBay.
Here’s an overview of Etsy’s merchant plans:
When it comes to merchant plans, eBay offers even more choices for sellers. Here’s a look at the six types of eBay merchant plans:
How much does it cost to sell items online? The answer varies widely depending on your platform of choice, merchant plan, and other factors.
In addition to the subscription fees based on your merchant plan (listed above), selling on Etsy and eBay also involves seller fees for listings, transactions, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the fees you should know about when you list and sell items on Etsy or eBay.
Here’s a breakdown of the fees you might have to pay when you sell merchandise on Etsy:
Advertising and Promotional Fee
When it applies:
(Want to learn more about advertising on Etsy? Check out our guide to promoting your Etsy store!)
In-Person Selling Fee
When it applies: Applicable to sellers who choose to sync in-person sales with their online Etsy shop.
Payment Processing Fee
When it applies: Charged when you make a sale through Etsy.
Regulatory Operating Fee
Visit Etsy for more details on their fees structure.
These are the main fees you might have to pay when you sell merchandise on eBay:
Final Value Fees
Fees for Real Estate
Fees for Classified Ads
Currency Conversion Charge
Visit eBay for more information on their fees for sellers.
Both eBay and Etsy have their own payment gateways built into their platform.
Etsy Payments is Etsy’s payment gateway, which enables shoppers to choose from a range of payment options. Shoppers make purchases by credit or debit card, Etsy Gift Card, Etsy Credits, Etsy Coupons, certain bank transfer services, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Klarna.
Merchants can set up direct deposits to their bank accounts and select how frequently they’d like to receive payments from sales (monthly, weekly, or daily).
Learn more about Etsy Payments here.
Like Etsy, eBay has its own built-in payment gateway for processing sales. Customers can purchase items through eBay using credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal, as well as some additional locally accepted payment methods.
Sellers can connect their bank accounts and choose to receive payouts daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on their preference.
Learn more about eBay payments here.
Whether you’re selling on eBay or Etsy, you need to consider how your items will be shipped to a potential buyer. Sellers on both eBay and Etsy may purchase labels from third-party shipping services (like USPS) through their respective platforms to simplify the shipping process.
Etsy sellers are responsible for shipping items within 30 days of purchase. Sellers have the option to buy shipping labels on Etsy for up to 30% less than standard rates.
In order to purchase shipping labels on Etsy, sellers must be located in the United States, Canada, UK, Australia, or India and accept Etsy Payments or PayPal as payment options for their store.
Etsy sells labels from USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail, Australia Post, Global Postal Shipping, and Yakit Shipping Partners.
Sellers on eBay are also responsible for shipping their own items. Like Etsy, eBay offers shipping labels that sellers can buy and print instantly for maximum convenience. eBay’s shipping partners—USPS, UPS, and FedEx for domestic shipping–offer discounted labels and automatic tracking.
Ultimately, choosing the best ecommerce marketplace for you depends on what type of products you’re selling, who your target customers are, your inventory volume, and what type of store you’d like to create.
Do your items fit into one of Etsy’s niche categories or would it be a better fit for eBay? While Etsy only allows listings for handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, eBay allows you to sell almost anything.
Do your shoppers love the artisan vibe of an Etsy store or do they prefer auction-style eBay listings? More importantly, which platform is more popular among your core demographic of shoppers?
Both platforms have an audience for new and used items—with the caveat that new items on Etsy must be handmade or craft supplies, while used items must meet Etsy’s vintage criteria. If your potential customers are searching for unique items, they’re likely searching on Etsy.
Whether you’re a new seller, small business, or established brand, consider your growth goals when choosing which platform to use. If you’re mass-producing anything, eBay is the way to go; but if you’re creating small-batch items by hand, Etsy is likely the better match. Compare plans to see which can support your potential sales volume best.
You should also compare the merchant plans more closely to see which platform best aligns with your vision for your store. Think about how much flexibility or control you want over the look and feel of your online store. Are you developing your own line of products or curating items from other sources? How much effort do you want to put into promoting your store and how much do you want to spend on ads?
Whether Etsy or eBay is the right platform for you, one thing is certain: you need high-quality product photos to succeed in the world of ecommerce.
Your product photos can make or break your store. Beautiful visuals can help you stand out from other ecommerce sellers on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, or any other online marketplace.
Not only are visuals responsible for catching shoppers’ attention, but they play a role in drawing them deeper into your store to view more listings and influence their impression of your brand as a seller. Shoppers notice your visuals before they read a product listing description, click to learn more, or decide to buy.
Unfortunately, creating high-quality product photos can be tricky and time-consuming for the average online seller.
The good news? The right photo-editing app can help!
Regardless of where you sell your items online, Pixelcut is a must-have app for creating product photos. It makes editing photos simple for sellers who want professional results, fast.
Whether you’re posting a single item or creating a range of listings for your online store, Pixelcut allows you to showcase your items in the best possible light.
You can easily add or remove a background, add filters, and play around with visual effects. Choose from our huge selection of backdrops, photo templates, and more to achieve the precise look you want.
With Pixelcut Unlimited, you also get access to batch editing, which pro users love for creating a suite of similar edits. It’s a fast, simple, and effective tool that can help take your online store to the next level.
So, what are you waiting for? Beautiful product photos are only a few clicks away! Get started with Pixelcut and see how easy it can be to create eye-catching product photos for your ecommerce business.
Join more than 10 million small businesses, creators and entrepreneurs that use Pixelcut to grow their business.