Friday, May 24

Online Selling: Amazon Vs. Ebay Vs. Craigslist


Where’s the best place online to sell your used stuff? People cleaning out garages, downsizing, or trying a side business are checking out Ebay, Craigslist, and Amazon, but there’s no simple answer when it comes to choosing the best place to sell. The kind of goods you have and your personal preferences will help point you in the right direction.

— If you’re selling small, light, easily shipped items like collectibles, Ebay is a good place to start.

— For books, video games, and similar media, try an Seller Account. Your costs per transaction will probably be higher than they would on Ebay, but you’ll be reaching enough buyers worldwide who turn to Amazon first for books.

–If your goods are big and bulky, like large housewares, outdoor items, or furniture, Craigslist is probably your best bet. There are buyers for these items on Ebay, but many resist paying the full cost of shipping, which is considerable these days. Unless your item is unusual and valuable enough to be attractive to buyers even with a heavy shipping cost– which you can charge separately or include in your base cost in order to woo buyers with “free shipping”– local sales like Craigslist are usually best. If you live in a remote area with few local buyers, you may need to turn to Ebay after all.

Now Craigslist is a mixed bag here when compared to Ebay because half the people prefer the latter when looking out for a good bargain that you don’t get to find in Craigslist most of the time coz some people make bizarre demands like Helium 10 over something useful.

Here’s the essential scoop on these three selling options. (Naturally, there are a great many more out there on the Net, but we’ll deal with these three popular marketplaces for now.)


How It Works:

Craigslist works like an old-fashioned classified ad page, only you can add pictures and plenty of text, and it doesn’t cost anything to place your ad. There’s a separate Craigslist site for major metropolitan areas– find yours on the central site, or type Craigslist and the name of your city in your browser. Sellers choose a category (such as “appliances”), create their ads, add photos, and finalize them for publication. Sellers’ e-mail addresses are hidden to buyers. Buyers read ads by category or by the date, and respond either online or to your phone number, if you provide one. This allows you as the seller to control how you want to be in contact with potential buyers.


Craigslist is free– there’s no cost to seller or buyer. Shipping isn’t an issue, since Craigslist works locally and buyers can come to inspect and pick up merchandise themselves.


Since it’s a local service, Craigslist reaches only buyers in the metropolitan area it serves; Ebay and Amazon reach buyers worldwide. Sellers on Craigslist often get replies from spammers and scammers as well as legitimate buyers. Most of these are harmless– someone sees your ad for your baby crib, and sends you an e-mail asking if you want to earn extra money at home. Craigslist tries to prohibit this type of spam, but the open nature of the bulletin board makes it hard to avoid. Sellers may also get messages from “buyers” who offer to buy goods sight unseen, and pay for them with a check made out for more than the purchase price. These are scam artists, and the checks are invalid. Refuse to deal with anyone who makes an offer that doesn’t make sense, and insist on cash only.


How It Works:

Ebay lets people and businesses sell goods– new and used, from ten-cent toys to multi-million dollar yachts– in an online auction format, or for a fixed price. Sellers traditionally paid a fixed fee, called an “insertion fee” to list their goods, additional fees to increase the number of photographs displayed, and a percentage of the sale price (commission, or “final value fee” in Ebay lingo) if the item sold within the time period selected. As of June 2009, Ebay stopped charging insertion fees for the first five auction listings in a given month. (Some categories of sales, like automobiles, aren’t included.) Commission percentages depend on the value of the item sold. Payment is generally via PayPal. For more information, check out


Ebay is the best-known name in online auctions, and now fixed-price sales are a big part of what Ebay offers. Customers everywhere come to Ebay to find unusual offerings and bid for bargains. If you have small, collectible items (porcelain figures, for example), or things which will be of high interest to a narrow range of buyers (such as spare parts for Airstream campers), Ebay is the place to list.


It can be hard for occasional sellers to master the auction format, which often draws more attention than fixed-price sales. Sellers must think carefully about shipping costs, since buyers are wary of high shipping and handling costs, but sellers will need to be sure they don’t lose money on the item after shipping costs are factored in. Ebay’s seller page offers a handy shipping calculator.

How It Works:

Amazon allows people and businesses to sell new and used items through its global site. It’s most famous for books and media, but sellers offer items in a range of categories, from baby products to wireless antennas. Unlike Ebay, there are no categories for autos, boats, campers and the like. Occasional sellers pay a “closing fee” of $.99 per sale when the item sells, plus a commission of 8-20 percent. (Regular sellers and businesses can choose a monthly fee of $39.99 instead of the per item closing fee, but everyone pays commission.) In addition to commission, items in some media categories are subject to an additional cost at the time of sale. An occasional seller offering a book an Amazon would pay $.99 plus $1.35 in closing fees, plus 15% of the sale price. Amazon requires sellers to accept fixed amounts for shipping. (Learn more at


Amazon is the global leader in online book sales, and it’s increasingly a go-to spot for goods in home/garden, food, and clothing categories. Your items for sale will be available to tens of millions of Amazon account holders. Buyers of your items pay Amazon through their own accounts, and Amazon pays you by bank deposit. There’s no need for a Paypal account for seller or buyer.


Amazon isn’t the place for less valuable items– selling costs are relatively high. Listing items is easy, and photos are provided, as long as your goods are already in Amazon’s inventory. If you’re selling a book, for example, you simply enter the book’s barcode or ISBN number, and all the right information and photos appear. If your book has no barcode or ISBN, and can’t be found in Amazon’s inventory, it can’t be sold there.


About Author

Carlos Smith is a content writer, website developer, blogger and editorial associate. He developed and created Hashtaggedpodcast in 2015. He finished his studies in Western Carolina University.

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