Selling On Ebay vs. Your Own Website?

I have my on website and I am just getting started to selling my products. But, I was checking out ebay and was wondering would it better to sell products on ebay than your own website.

Is there anyone in here who have sold their products on ebay? What are your thoughts on creating a profitable business selling on ebay rather your own website?


Ebay takes a small percentage of your sale’s total as a fee for using their site in addition to your listing fess. This is over and above their listing fees and your credit card processing fees. Plus most items tend to sell at lower prices then they would in almost every other market.

However, ebay has a huge following and generates a ton of traffic which is more then most ecommerce sites can say. The odds are even with the above mentioned drawbacks you will still do better on ebay then with a standalone store. Plus you can always use ebay to drive traffic to your own store…just don’t circumvent their rules as they don’t like that. :wink:

stymiee said it best. You have some additional overhead by using eBay, but the trade-off is you have one of the largest marketplaces with the most visibility for your product. Compare that with a new site/store you setup, you will not come anywhere near that kind of exposure for quite a while, although you are not paying extra fees to ebay.

So, IMO I would do both. Start on eBay to get your product out there and generate some revenue almost immediately, and also work on building your store and your brand on your own site. Over time, you will begin to see sales from that as well, and if all goes well, you can migrate completely to your own storefront without relying on eBay. Or, maybe eBay proves to still generate a steady stream of revenue and you stick with it, that is always a possibility too.

But, you can make some pretty good money on eBay if you are a smart seller. We saw just over $100,000 in revenue on eBay alone in 2004, and that was the first year in business. We could have never done that type of volume by just setting up our own storefront. We may have saw higher profit margins on each sale, but the volume would not have been even a fraction of that done on eBay.

Ebay has a ton of price competition. If your product is unique enough you can do well, but otherwise you’ll have razor thin margins and your time would be better spent elsewhere.

Also, the fees that Stymiee mentioned can really eat into your bottom line.

Definitely build your own site, if you try doing some ebay too on the side thats fine, but I’ve found it to be much much more profitable to build your own site instead.

Thanks stymiee. As I visited ebay I could not believe how many people were bidding on or buying certain items. I was thinking to myself what this seller was selling was nothing special, but that seller has a certain customer willing to spend money on a certain niche item. Incredible!

Marubozo and Aspen you both make good points. I have my own website already. But, ebay seems to have all of the potential customers right there ready to buy my product.

Just to touch on what aspen said… he’s right about having something a bit unique. Don’t expect to sell a common everyday item that someone can buy at a local store or at a major online retailer like newegg or something and expect to do very well on eBay. For those types of items, you will make very little as people can get them elsewhere just as easily.

But if your item is not that mainstream, eBay can be a very profitable sales channel.

In the end of the day, eBay takes just less than 25% of what you’ve sold it for. However, by selling on eBay, you get all the extra promotion. Think about it - if you sell on your own website, you will have to:
Also, how will you get users to trust your site? People don’t just go up to any old osCommerce site and buy from it. It’s actually safer to buy from eBay.

To give you an example. The items I sell regularly sell below wholesale on ebay, there are also knockoffs all over ebay, and when they do sell above wholesale they go for like $5 above wholesale.

With my own site I can make $50 profit per item, it costs me nothing to keep relisting the items so I can afford to sell something that is only bought once every few months, and whent he item is finally sold I pay less in fees.

Obviously the promotion was easy for me given my background, as for trust, I’ve never had that big of an issue with it.

Do both. Many retail (brick & morter and Webbased) companies also sell on Ebay. It helps move stock, generate name recognition, and sometimes people that bought from you via ebay come back and buy from your website.

Does anybody have any advice on ebay integration options? Do they have API? Are there any useful 3rd party services to eliminate/reduce listing and order processing?

If you want ebay integration, go with Marketworks

When deciding to sell on ebay, we looked at everything out there. There are some good services, there are some crappy services. Marketworks is awesome, and we even use a POS system that in turn integrates with marketworks and then integrates with ebay itself all seamlessly.

Plus, with marketworks you can if you choose to, also utilize their storefront system, so you could use them for creating your storefront and also for integration with ebay.

They also have great support, always someone available to talk on the phone if you need help.


Off Topic:

They didn’t make you a mentor yet? :eek:

Stay way from They suck.

When my company first tried selling on eBay we didn’t have much luck; in fact we lost money. frowns

To many bargain hunters (who would have thought?) and not enough people with deep pockets.

Steelsun, I may do both to play it safe.

demosfen : We use Zoovy to integrate with ebay and it works great for us. It allows you to have both a site and an ebaystore and you inventory database ties into both.

If you have Macromedia Contribute 3 you can get an free, (it’s quite old), add-on download called WA eBay StoreBuilder from Web Assist.

It is excellent.

I think it depends what industry you are in and in what capacity you expect to sell on Ebay. If you have room to lower your prices to compete with those on Ebay, and you don’t mind making less profit, it may not be an issue at all. However, like Chris mentioned, there are a lot of items that routinely sell for less than wholesale making it almost impossible for anyone to make much money. They usually sell 2nd hand or lower quality merchandise, but that’s hard to determine from a picture. When looking at 2 auctions with similar photos and descriptions, the lowest priced usually wins.

Another thing you should think about is selling excess stock or one-time offers through Ebay. It can be a great way to sell items where you don’t expect to get more stock and only have a limited supply.

And of course, if you sell a really niche product you will do better on ebay than if you sell something readily available.

Actually, most sellers on eBay have little or no retail experience and will not provide adequate customer service. However, the good news is that you can use the feedback number as a measuring stick. You can’t really compare eBay with buying from any given store, because eBay is not one vendor, it’s a conglomeration of vendors. Each vendor has their own individual reputation.