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Etsy or eBay? I Help You Choose

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DShawn36

Member
11
5
1
#1
I love selling stuff on the internet. For a while, eBay was my default site for selling things. I’ve been selling since the early days of the internet, and eBay was pretty much the only place you could sell things. Back then, only big businesses like Amazon had their own online stores.

Fast-forward to the present day, and we have so many options when it comes to selling online. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling: if there’s a market for it, there’s going to be an appropriate website for you to sell on.

I still use eBay a lot, but I’ve also started using Etsy more and more. With all the options available to use, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed when trying to decide on the appropriate place to sell your items.

To help you decide, I’ve written this article, which compares both sites and talks about what each one is good for. Let’s go!

Overview

I’m an action figure reseller, but I also enjoy creating custom figures. I use both sites for different aspects of my hobby: eBay is for reselling old collectibles, while Etsy is for selling my custom creations.

Ebay is an auction site, and one of the best places to buy and sell rare collectibles. Even with Facebook Marketplace becoming more of a thing, I still sell more stuff over on eBay. I think people are confident buying on eBay because of the site’s feedback system.

Etsy is a marketplace for vintage and handmade items. If you are into arts and crafts, this is the place to sell your creations.

There’s some overlap between the types of products being sold on each website. For example, the vintage items being sold on Etsy are usually mass-produced items like old encyclopedias, cassettes, and movie posters, which can also be found on eBay. There are also artists who choose to sell their works on eBay.

Once you become more familiar with each platform, you can try mixing up your inventory. But for now, just remember that eBay is for collectibles, while Etsy is for handmade items.

Corresponding Fees

Ebay and Etsy are quite different when it comes to fees. Ebay is pretty notorious for charging fees during every step of your auction. For example, eBay charges an insertion fee, then gets a cut from the final selling price. And check this out: eBay even gets a cut from your shipping charge. Paying all those fees can be painful, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay to sell on the biggest auction site out there.

To help offset the cost, I recommend adjusting your prices accordingly. It sucks having to pass the cost on to my buyers, but that’s business. If you sell regularly, you can look into opening an eBay store. You’ll get a few perks when you open a store, including a set number of free listings per month.

Etsy, on the other hand, is super-easy to deal with. You won’t have to pay any membership fees when you open your Etsy store. Listing an item costs only $0.20, and will stay active for up to four months. When the item sells, Etsy will get a 3.5% commission.

Earning Potential

I’ll say it straight-up: eBay offers the most potential for earning. There are more buyers on eBay, and these buyers are usually willing to pay a premium for rare or collectible items. (Ebay knows this, and that’s why they charge so many fees)

And don’t forget that eBay is an auction site. If you list a sought-after item, you can expect bidders to go on an all-out bidding war. I listed some Star Wars figures when the new movies came out, and was able to sell them for over three times the sticker price!

The smaller user base of Etsy can still work in your favor. People here are generally more appreciative of unique items, and the talent that went into creating them.

I also tend to develop close professional relationships with buyers of my custom figures. Many of these buyers have approached me for more custom toys. These commissions came outside of the site (meaning I didn’t have to pay any fees), but I wouldn’t have gotten them if it weren’t for Etsy.

The Verdict

Both eBay and Etsy are totally legit. They’ve got their pros and cons, but as long as you’re aware of their fees, you can’t go wrong with either.

It all boils down to what you’re selling, and using the appropriate site. Like I mentioned a while ago, eBay is generally better for collectibles, while Etsy is better suited for handmade items.

Your Turn

This article is based on my experience selling stuff on eBay and Etsy. Now it’s your turn to share. Have you sold anything on either site? What did you sell, and how good were your profits?

Let’s hear your stories!
 

Jeanette2091

Well-known member
269
374
0
#2
I opened a store on Etsy this year, but few months ago I closed it. I was using more money on Etsy than selling stuff there. Etsy is getting worst, now it's all about how they can earn money, instead of helping people sell their stuff. :confused:

Now I'm just using DBA aka Ebay here in Denmark to sell all my stuff. (y)
 

Burt Maklin

Active member
43
7
0
#3
You guys might wanna check out Facebook as an alternative. It can be a bit sketchy, but I tend to do most of my selling on Facebook nowadays.
 

June

Well-known member
82
52
0
#4
I remember one of my first posts here on ETB is about Etsy, and how it encourages creativity with their selling platform. I also wrote about eBay and some of the best practices to sell there. I guess you can tell I’m a fan of both e-commerce sites and have tried them out both as a seller and a buyer.

But lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about Etsy. In particular, fraudulent sellers seem to be on the rise with this platform. With the holidays creating a frenzy of buying, I’ve heard a lot of feedback about fake sellers who scam buyers with nonexistent or damaged items. There are also a lot of open cases that receive no response from the platform, which is frustrating to those who already paid for the items they thought were going to be shipped to them.

Even honest sellers themselves seem to have no real protection from malicious sellers and buyers who file complaints against them until they are forced to close shop. The crux of the matter is that no real resolution seems to take place even with constant feedback and request to investigate the case more thoroughly. I wonder what’s going on with Etsy now?

If you’re curious about some of the complaints, the more recent ones can be found here.
 

June

Well-known member
82
52
0
#5
I remember one of my first posts here on ETB is about Etsy, and how it encourages creativity with their selling platform. I also wrote about eBay and some of the best practices to sell there. I guess you can tell I’m a fan of both e-commerce sites and have tried them out both as a seller and a buyer.

But lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about Etsy. In particular, fraudulent sellers seem to be on the rise with this platform. With the holidays creating a frenzy of buying, I’ve heard a lot of feedback about fake sellers who scam buyers with nonexistent or damaged items. There are also a lot of open cases that receive no response from the platform, which is frustrating to those who already paid for the items they thought were going to be shipped to them.

Even honest sellers themselves seem to have no real protection from malicious sellers and buyers who file complaints against them until they are forced to close shop. The crux of the matter is that no real resolution seems to take place even with constant feedback and request to investigate the case more thoroughly. I wonder what’s going on with Etsy now?

If you’re curious about some of the complaints, the more recent ones can be found here.
 

Holden

Well-known member
100
33
0
#6
Etsy all the way… or Etsy and Facebook, to be more accurate. I’ve used eBay years (okay, decades) ago when I had a custom action figure-selling side hustle. It was great for a while, but then all these new options for selling started to pop-up, and eBay sort of became this bloated, antiquated site. I’ve since moved away from eBay and never looked back. Ebay lost my support for the several reasons, but here are the ones that come to mind:

1. So many fees! It’s been years since I’ve last used eBay, so I’m not sure what the current fees are at present. But back when I used eBay, you would get charged for just about anything. Want extra pics? You get charged. Yeah, I’ll pass.

2. Hard to set the shipping cost for overseas orders. eBay wants everything automatic when the buyer completes the sale. You’ll have to add the complete shipping info before you even make your selling page go live… which is tough, because the courier options are pretty limited. And if you’re selling from outside the United States, good luck figuring out the shipping methods.

3. Impersonal. In this day and age, we’re all super-connected. I’ve learned that buyers like being able to chat with sellers. That allows sellers to add a personal touch, which buyers always appreciate.
 

Amos

Well-known member
126
44
0
#7
Yo guys, my nephew saw me reading this thread, and he recommends another option: RedBubble. This site isn’t the same as Etsy or Ebay, since you only sell digital designs through RedBubble. But my nephew (who is currently taking multimedia arts) said that there’s a lot of overlap between users of RedBubble and Etsy. Since sellers on Etsy are pretty craftsy and creative, chances are they also like to do graphic design. In which case, they should check out RedBubble.

On RedBubble, you upload your designs, and then members can choose to have your work printed on all sorts of merch. RedBubble has tons of merch options, from tote bags to shirts to cell phone case to shirts to prints. The really cool thing about RedBubble according to him is that RedBubble handles all the hard parts of the business. They handle the printing, production, and delivery of the items.

Basically, all you do is upload your designs and get paid. Of course, RedBubble gets a commission any time someone buys your designs. But that’s a small price to pay. I myself have tried starting my own t-shirt business, and production and logistics were the most headache-inducing aspects of the job. So it’s cool a site like RedBubble is there to handle all that!
 

NickBlaine

Well-known member
83
42
0
#8
I’m not a seller on eBay or Etsy - never have been - but I have bought several stuff on both e-commerce platforms and would like to chime in on this thread with my experience.

With Etsy, it’s always a great way to find some truly unique items as I believe this was originally a place to sell more one-of-a-kind and craftier goods as compared to eBay which had more easy retail to find stuff. So whenever I needed to impress someone with a unique find like artist’s prints, handmade dolls and clothes, and other things I won’t mind paying more for (because they are rare and OOAK anyway), I go to Etsy. So far, I like my experience there and I see that they now have sellers offering items that even eBay has. I like that they leveled the playing field that way.

With eBay - my experience has been a mixture of good and bad. It’s overall okay because I made sure to bookmark sellers I’ve had no trouble transacting with - some of them even give me little freebies because I’ve been such a loyal customer! But then there are the bad eggs that don’t bother communicating with me, so much so that I would have to keep on bugging them about particular listings. But I guess that’s what happens with most online selling platforms like these, anyway. I just wish there were more regulations in place so that it won’t get vexing waiting to hear from these lazy, can’t-be-bothered sellers.
 

Naomi

Well-known member
94
30
0
#9
Whichever one you use, you will have to pay lots of fees. For example, it’ll cost you $0.20 for a basic listing on Etsy. That includes up to five pictures, and will stay up until either the product sells, or four months are up, whichever comes first. If you’re selling multiples of a certain item, you can set up the listing so it auto-renews each time someone buys a copy of the item.

When someone buys your work, Etsy will charge another 3.5% fee on top of the selling price (excluding shipping costs). Not that this is in addition to the $0.20 they charge just for posting the listing. You will be billed the 3.5% fee for each item sold every month.

The seller (that is, you) will also have to shoulder the PayPal fees. If you take PayPal — which I suggest you do, since it’s the most common online payment method nowadays — you will get charged $0.30 per transaction, plus 2.7% of the total amount collected (that includes the selling price, plus the shipping cost).

Tired of fees? There’s more! Direct Checkout comes with a fee of $0.25 per transaction, plus 3% of the total amount paid by the customer (that includes the price of the item, plus the shipping cost).
 
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