What is eBay?
We all know of eBay as the place to sell our old iPhones or that treadmill we bought but never got around to using. 🙄
But, what you may not know about eBay is that it can also be a great place to sell art and crafts.
Here's some crazy eBay numbers for you:
- Number of eBay users: 165 Million (source)
- Number of eBay sellers: 25 Million (source)
- Number of listings live at one time: 1 Billion 😲 (source)
Etsy launched in June 2005 as an alternative to eBay. As you know, it quickly gained popularity with it's handmade-friendly fee structure and tight-knit community. In December 2005, eBay answered Etsy with an attempt to launch their own handmade marketplace. An attempt that failed miserably. Despite it's failure, you can surprisingly still access eBay's Handcrafted Marketplace, although none of the links work on it anymore.
eBay review summary
- With 165 Million users, there's no doubt your products will get some good exposure on eBay
- eBay is known as a place to find bargains and "cheap" products. This doesn't line up with selling handmade products.
- eBay has some art and craft specific categories on the site.
eBay review scores
- Competitiveness: 3/10
- Exposure: 10/10
- Fees: 5/10
- Flexibility: 7/10
- Handmade ethos: 2/10
Total score: 27/50
This review is written for those wanting an alternative to selling on Etsy. So, I'll be reviewing eBay based on the top 5 reasons people are looking for an Etsy alternative:
1. Competitiveness – Do your products have a chance of standing out from the crowd?
2. Exposure – Is there a good chance of increasing your traffic and getting more exposure?
3. Fees – How much does it cost? Is the pricing simple and predictable? More than that, are the fees fair for what's on offer?
4. Flexibility – How professional does it look, and how flexible is it to change?
5. Handmade ethos – Are they strictly for handmade, or can you sell anything there? Will you be competing against manufacturers of mass produced goods, that can easily beat you on price?
I'll give each of these elements a score out of 10, to arrive at a total score out of 50. I'll then use this score to arrive at the top 10 Etsy alternatives.
eBay is extremely competitive. Not only are there a huge amount of products on the site, most of them are of course not handmade, therefore you'll be competing on price too.
eBay has some separate handmade friendly categories. They are obviously not well policed though. The standard is very low. You can take a look and decide for yourself. They are:
Here's an example of how competitive eBay is. A beautiful oil painting on canvas (16in x 16in). The price? $33.23 USD 😵
I'm not trying to say that this piece isn't hand-painted. I'm quite sure it is. It's just being sold for much much less than it's worth.
I like eBay, I just can't seem to sell jewelry at what it's worth there – TiazasTreasures, from Etsy's forums
I love Ebay. I've been selling very well on there for years now with no problems and lovely customers. I usually do much better on there than I do on Etsy. But this year not so good. I raised my prices a bit so I think it's put off all the people looking for a bargain on Ebay, which to be honest is why I shop on Ebay! – Jamberoon, from Etsy's forums
Each of the categories listed above has sub-categories as well. Check to make sure what you sell is available under one of these categories. If it's not, then eBay is probably not a good choice for you.
Obviously this is where eBay shines. It may be extremely competitive, but they also have the traffic that helps to negate that competitiveness. 165 Million shoppers is no joke. Listing your products there almost guarantees that you'll get exposure. Whether eBay is right for you and your type of product, you'll need to figure that out for yourself. It's certainly worth a test!
eBay's fees are comparative to Tictail and Storenvy. With eBay is free to list 50 items per month, and you'll pay a 10% commission once you make a sale. There's a $0.30 insertion fee for every item listed above the allotted 50 free listings.
If you want to list more than 50 items a month, you might want to consider an eBay Store. You can see the prices below and how they're differentiated by the number of listings you can have each month. You'll also pay a 9% commission on sales, instead of 10%, if you have an eBay Store.
There's no real benefit to have an eBay Store over their normal listing process. It's only beneficial if you sell over 50 items per month and if the 9% vs 10% commission will make a difference for you. if you want to crunch some number, I recommend playing around with this eBay fee calculator.
Keep in mind that while the listings are free, you'll be offered "advanced listing upgrades". These are things like bolding your item title, or adding a sub-heading to help it stand out in the search results. The fees are small but will add up when you're listing a lot of items. Read more about the Advanced Listing Upgrade Fees.
For what eBay is, I feel like the fees are fair, however a 10% sales fee is very high for a handmade seller.
If you're looking for a professional store to showcase your products, eBay is not it.
That being said, eBay listings are actually quite flexible. You can use tools like CrazyLister to easily customize the look and feel of your listing.
On the other hand, eBay stores aren't very flexible at all. You can customize the colors and add a logo, but that's about it. The store looks extremely outdated and not very appealing at all.
As mentioned, eBay has some handmade focused categories, however there's clearly a lot of mass produced products in there too. It's hard to see eBay as handmade in any other way.
In conclusion, if you can afford the 10% commission fee, eBay is definitely worth a test to see if your products can sell there. With a huge amount of traffic to the site, there's no doubt that your products will be seen. Whether they will sell or not is another thing.
eBay has finished up with a score of 27/50, which ranks them 6th in the top 10 Etsy alternatives list.