Amazon, Etsy, and eBay for Sellers, Ranked by an Ecommerce Merchant - Business Insider

Summary

Neil Lassen has made a living for the last 10 years in ecommerce, selling various items online.

In his experience, Etsy is the best site for most sellers, with Merch by Amazon coming in second.

Neil Lassen has made a living for the last 10 years in ecommerce, selling various items online.

In his experience, Etsy is the best site for most sellers, with Merch by Amazon coming in second.

He doesn't recommend using eBay, due to its algorithm and lack of payment processor.

When Neil Lassen, 30, was in college, he was tired of making $8 an hour working at Target. He started looking into ways to make money online and quickly found a knack for selling merchandise — especially more hands-off, print-on-demand items.

Today, Lassen spends his days running a fully online business to help other ecommerce merchants get traction with customers by sharing tips, tricks, and skills he's learned over the last decade.

One thing he's learned is where it's easiest and hardest to sell. Below, he ranks three of the biggest sites he's worked with — Etsy, Amazon, and eBay — from most to least favorite.

1. Etsy

Etsy has a bad reputation with some creators, due to the cut the site takes of creators' profit, without offering to handle any of the customer service or other logistics. That said, Lassen said that he still thinks it's better for many creators than either Amazon, or eBay.

"Yes, you have to deal with customer service," Lassen told Insider. "But I think Etsy's a lot better just because it gives you way more control over your business. You actually get to interact with these customers, which will lead to a way better review rate than the 1% you might get on Amazon."

That said, he conceded that Etsy does take a large cut of the profit and just raised its fees, and understands why that hurts the creator's bottom line. But he said that it's not the full picture of what Etsy has to offer.

"Everyone's very upset about that," Lassen said. "But at the same time, almost everyone that I work with, who's just trying to get something set up online, just wants to make a few bucks. Those people are going to fail unless the audience is already built in, and Etsy has done that."

He added that doing print-on-demand via Etsy can help get around production costs for sellers, and that one way to recoup costs if you're making handmade items, which Etsy is very popular for, is by building that cost into the price that the consumer pays.

"A lot of the artistic and creative people I deal with don't really understand the business side of everything, which is why I try to educate people," said Lassen. "Yes, you love needlepointing — but now here's how to actually turn into a business and how to price your stuff appropriately by looking at the market data."

2. Amazon

While Lassen prefers Etsy for creators, especially those who hand-make products and don't do print-on-demand, "Amazon's got a way bigger buyer pool," Lassen said. "You get way more sales there."

Lassen specifically recommends Merch by Amazon, an arm of the company that allows independent creators to design their own print-on-demand merchandise, which Amazon will create, list, and ship to customers via Amazon Prime. The creator of the design only receives a royalty fee, but it's much less work for the creator and may ultimately become a more passive stream of income.

"I would implore people to actually do a little bit of research on the business," Lassen said. "Because most people don't know that you can sell physical products without actually shipping anything, which I think is like the coolest thing ever."

3. eBay

The platform that Lassen likes the least is eBay, which he tried to use for his own merchandise early in his business ventures. "They don't have nearly as many customers," Lassen said, and "the algorithm to actually get things ranked on eBay is a lot harder."

Lassen explained that Etsy and Amazon don't require you to "continuously monitor the product," because the algorithm for those sites will keep your product afloat indefinitely, but eBay won't. Additionally, Lassen dislikes that you have to deal with PayPal to do commerce on eBay, while Etsy has its own payment processor and Merch by Amazon pays people a simple royalty fee.

To Lassen, the merits of the other two platforms over eBay is a no-brainer, due to the products remaining evergreen on those platforms and how they have much more customers than eBay.

"When's the last time you saw an eBay commercial?" Lassen asked. "You see Etsy ones all the time now."

Amazon, Etsy, and eBay for Sellers, Ranked by an Ecommerce Merchant - Business Insider
Photo Credit: Business Insider

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