If you're considering eBay vs. Shopify for your ecommerce store, how do you decide which one to use? Both eBay and Shopify are viable options for an online business. However, key differences between the two platforms affect their suitability for your own business. In this article, we'll break down a head-to-head comparison of eBay vs. Shopify to help you determine which of them is more suitable for your needs. We'll also answer some FAQs about the difference between eBay and Shopify.
Essentially, eBay is an online auction platform with limited store features, while Shopify provides a full ecommerce website.
Using eBay is less expensive and easier than using Shopify, but your customization and marketing options are limited.
Shopify offers more design flexibility and better support and marketing tools in exchange for a higher fee.
Use an eBay store if you want a simple ecommerce store to sell a limited inventory of items. Use Shopify if you want a customized ecommerce store with powerful marketing features to grow your business.
What's the difference between Shopify vs. eBay? In this guide, we'll break down how these two platforms stack up in the following categories:
Ease of use
In each category of our Shopify vs. eBay comparison, we'll look at eBay first and then compare it with Shopify.
The eBay platform started as an auction listing site, and although it now supports the ability to buy items at a fixed price without bidding for them, its design and pricing structure remains structured around listings. You pay two types of fees for using eBay's online marketplace:
Insertion fees for listing items, with a limited number of free listings allowed per month, varying by plan
Final valuation fees for selling items, calculated as a flat fee per sale plus a percentage of the sale value
Depending on how many listings you plan to do, you can sign up for two different types of eBay accounts:
Personal accounts are designed for individuals who only intend to sell on a small scale or as a hobby. They allow up to 250 free listings per month before insertion fees kick in. Insertion fees vary by category, ranging from free listings for musical instruments to $0.35 per item for collectibles such as trading cards to $300 for certain types of real estate ads.
Business accounts have five pricing tiers that offer progressively higher numbers of free insertions per month and progressively lower fees for monthly subscriptions, insertions, and final valuations:
Starter: $4.95 per month for an annual subscription, with 250 free auction and fixed-price listings and $0.30 per listing after that.
Basic: $21.95 per month for an annual subscription, with 1,000 free fixed-priced listings a month and $0.25 per listing after that, and 250 free auction listings in select categories per month and $0.25 per listing after that.
Premium: $59.95 per month for an annual subscription, with 10,000 free fixed-priced listings a month and $0.10 per listing after that, and 500 free auction listings in select categories per month and $0.15 per listing after that
Anchor: $299.95 per month for an annual subscription, with 25,000 free fixed-priced listings a month and $0.05 per listing after that, 1,000 free auction listings in select categories per month, and $0.10 per listing after that.
Enterprise: $2,999.95 per month for an annual subscription, with 100,000 free fixed-priced listings a month and $0.05 per listing after that, 2,500 free auction listings in select categories per month, and $0.10 per listing after that.
Final valuation fees are lower for business plans above the starter tier, with fee percentages varying by product category.
Shopify features three pricing tiers that vary by monthly subscription fee, fees per credit card transaction, and ecommerce features:
The Basic tier costs $39 per month, with a trial price of $1 a month for the first three months. Credit card payment processing fees are 2.9% plus $0.30 USD online and 2.7% plus $0 USD in person. Ecommerce features included are basic reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to a 77% shipping discount, and two staff accounts.
The Shopify tier costs $105 per month, with a trial price of $1 a month for the first three months. Credit card rates are 2.6% plus $0.30 USD online and 2.5% plus $0 USD in person. Ecommerce features included are professional reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to a 88% shipping discount, and five staff accounts.
The Advanced tier costs $399 per month, with a trial price of $1 a month for the first three months. Credit card rates are 2.4% plus $0.30 USD online and 2.4% plus $0 USD in person. Ecommerce features included are custom report builders, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to an 88% shipping discount, and 15 staff accounts.
All plans include an online store, sales channels, point of sale (POS) tools, and 24/7 support.
Shopify also offers a $5-a-month Starter plan for sellers who want to sell through social media and texting apps and a $2,000-a-month and up Shopify Plus plan for high-volume sellers. Modular pricing is available for sellers who want to use specific components of the platform.
The eBay platform is designed to be easy to use for retailers without coding skills. If you use a personal account, you only have to create an account to begin filling out listing forms. If you use a business account, you can create an eBay store homepage similar to a social media profile page. You have options to customize your store name, image, logo, and description. You can create a limited number of featured categories, add featured items, create a clickable marketing banner, add a store video, and describe store policies.
Shopify's platform allows you to build a website using a range of customization features. The onboarding process introduces you to a dashboard that allows you to add products, view transactions, and manage store operations. You can organize products by vendors, categories, keyword tags, and collections of related items. You can add pages to your store, such as about, contact, and policy pages. You can customize your store design and functionality by using templates, customizing navigation menus and checkout carts, or adding apps from the Shopify app store.
Advanced Shopify site configuration requires some moderate coding knowledge. The platform uses its own coding language rather than standard HTML code. You'll need to learn this language if you want to modify your store's template.
For payments, eBay's checkout process accepts:
Payment on pickup
eBay gift cards, vouchers, and eBay Bucks
Spendable funds, available to eBay sellers as proceeds from sales
Certain categories also allow:
Online payment services (such as XOOM)
The platform does not allow sending cash by mail or wire-to-wire transfer services, such as Western Union.
Only certain payment methods are eligible for eBay's Money Back Guarantee.
Payment methods Shopify accepts include:
Credit cards via Shopify Payments or third-party providers
Shopify offers customers several expedited payment options via the platform's own Shop Pay or through accelerated checkout features on other payment methods.
Shopify only accepts debit cards that are co-branded with major credit card providers.
You can use a limited range of customization options on eBay stores. You can adjust your own eBay store homepage's name, image, logo, and description. You can add certain featured categories, featured items, a banner, a video, and store policy descriptions.
Shopify lets you customize your own store design and functionality by using templates, customizing navigation menus and checkout carts, and adding apps from the platform's app store. If you know Shopify's coding language, you can further customize your store's template to personalize your own branded online store.
The eBay platform offers a simple range of ecommerce features for store owners, including:
Shopping cart functionality with multiple payment options
Favorites and wish lists
Discount and sales options
For higher tier plans or additional fees, eBay offers advanced ecommerce features with its Selling Manager Pro tool. This includes features to save store listing templates, manage inventory, and track sales data.
Shopify store owners can access advanced ecommerce features, including:
Store management dashboard tools
A homepage with additional page options
Customizable templates, menus, and checkout carts
Product organizational categories, tags, and collections
Third-party app integration options
Multi-channel selling across other platforms
Sale and discount options
In-person point-of-sale checkout
Many of these features come built into the platform. Third-party apps may require additional fees.
Customer support tools for eBay include:
A help center with articles
Chatbot and live chat assistance
Shopify customer support includes:
A help center with searchable documentation
Support assistance via email, phone, or live chat
Marketing tools provided by eBay include:
Internal SEO tools for customers searching on the platform
Social media integration with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat
Email newsletters to eBay store subscribers
Shopify's marketing tools to support online selling include:
Externally-oriented SEO features designed to promote pages on search engines using on-page optimization strategies
Integration with most major social media platforms
Integration with email marketing apps
Comprehensive web analytics tools for your store's traffic
Customers come to eBay primarily by searching for specific products on search engines or by clicking on social media integrations. Once a customer arrives, you can't do much follow-up marketing unless they buy from you and you use email marketing to stay in contact with them.
Shopify customers may come to the platform from search engines, paid ads, social media, email lists, or in-store contacts. Once customers visit your store, you can maintain contact with them through targeted ads and the use of email marketing integrations.
The eBay platform is integrated with major domestic carriers, including eBay's own shipping service, as well as export carriers, import carriers, and domestic freight carriers.
Shopify offers shipping, local delivery, and local pickup. Shopify hosts its own order fulfillment network that works with USPS, UPS, and DHS in the US and other carriers in other countries.
Both eBay and Shopify can be viable ecommerce platforms for your store, depending on your business goals and needs. If you want to list products on a small scale without ecommerce customization, eBay can be a quick way to get started. If you want to build a customized ecommerce website featuring different categories of products and promote your site online using advanced marketing strategies, Shopify may be the better option. And there's nothing to prevent you from using both platforms.
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The eBay platform is an auction listing platform with limited ecommerce features to support fixed-price purchases of listed items. Shopify is a full ecommerce platform that offers greater flexibility in design and functionality and more powerful marketing and analytics tools.
When you integrate your Shopify store with eBay, Shopify does not charge any additional fees for selling on eBay, but you do pay Shopify's standard transaction fees.