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Ever since we started selling online we’ve noticed that eBay is pretty much a two-direction freeway for both buyers and sellers. People come in droves and they also leave in droves.
No matter how much (or little) you love eBay, you’d still be wise to have a couple of eBay alternatives up your sleeve.
While I don’t think that eBay is dying any time soon (at least, not tomorrow or the next day…) having multiple platforms to shop/sell on ensures that you’re either getting the best deal or selling your item for the most money.
Besides, it’s foolish to put all of your eggs into one basket.
So, if you’re a seller, the best alternatives to sell your items on are (in my opinion):
- The RealReal
- Facebook Marketplace
Now, there are a ton of things that go into choosing a great platform to buy and sell on. Obviously, I’m only one person but I’ve been selling full-time online for almost 5 years and have talked to thousands of people who do the same things (either full-time or part-time)
So, when you’re looking for an eBay alternative, hopefully, we can spread some light and help you choose!
eBay Alternatives Comparison Chart
|Platform||# Of Users||Desktop/App-Based||Average Selling Fee|
|eBid||15 Million||Desktop||Up To 5%|
|The RealReal||20 Million||Desktop||15-40%|
|Facebook Marketplace||>1 Billion||App||0%|
5 Things That Make A Great eBay Alternative
Many people claim that there are no great alternatives to eBay. Not true. There are literally hundreds of selling platforms that we looked at while making this list. Many of them are simply ghost towns or straight-up scams.
Which, of course, begs the question of what we looked at. We considered 5 different categories when deciding on the best alternatives to eBay (with eBay as a baseline for each):
1. Audience Size
The bigger the pool of buyers/sellers the more items you’ll be able to find on the platform. This is a slight drawback as a seller (as you have more competition) but the benefit of having more people coming to shop far outweighs the negatives.
After all, getting the eyeballs of potential buyers onto your listings is the most important aspect of running a successful store.
As important as a larger client base is, however, it’s also important to have a healthy buy/seller ratio so your listings don’t get lost in the noise from millions of listings.
Amazon is the only platform that beats eBay in terms of traffic and most other options aren’t even comparable.
If you looking to sell on a platform you obviously would like to know how much they’re going to charge you. Surprisingly, the is not much middle ground and platforms run the gamut from free to around 30% of the sale amount.
Even if you’re only looking to buy, platforms with higher fees typically have higher overall prices as the sellers are trying to make up for lost profits.
In the olden days of online selling, the average fee percentage fell around the 10% mark. In the past couple of years, however, the percentages have continually crept up (despite sellers getting worse service from the platforms).
The average fee percentage for online platforms now sits around the 15% mark.
Platforms with high fees lost major points, especially when they provided an inferior service to those with larger audiences, better support, etc.
3. Listing/Category Restrictions
eBay is such a great place because you can sell almost anything that is legal. (Although eBay’s new payment system has introduced some limitations)
Many other platforms are so niche that you can only sell one item on them (shoes, for example). We didn’t include these one-off platforms as they do not represent an opportunity for most people.
We also gave extra points to platforms such as Mercari that have next to no listing restrictions and detracted points from very limited platforms like Poshmark.
4. Customer Support
You would think that, since sellers make the platform money, they would be supportive of them. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. On many platforms, the seller is considered to be quite expendable.
When I was looking for an alternative to eBay I wanted to find a platform that would fairly support both the buyer and seller. On eBay, for example, contacting customer support can be excruciating, and they almost always side with the seller, allowing buyers to get away with scams. Despite this (and long call wait times), eBay’s customer service is on par with most other platforms.
This made it easy for a platform to make up some ground here if they actually did their job and supported their buyers and sellers.
5. Shopping/Listing Flow
If you are going to be flipping items for profit, you want to use a platform that is quick and easy to list things on. Many platforms have a listing flow that, while easy, does not lend itself to being quick.
On the other side of the coin, if you’re a shopper, you want to spend your time (and money) on a platform that makes the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Additionally, a platform needs to be set up with the tools to handle a large number of listings. Sellers need to be able to search their own listings, bulk edit, etc.
Smaller platforms typically don’t intend their platform to be used by sellers with 1,000s of items for sale and just aren’t set up to accommodate them.
So What Is The Best Alternative To eBay?
There are a ton of factors that will dictate what the best eBay alternative is for you personally. However, some platforms are just objectively better than others (if you’re interested in selling things).
The best alternative platform for eBay sellers is Mercari. They have a large audience, lower fees, similar listing flow, and good seller support.
Is any platform going to match eBay for sales? Probably not. I would use these platforms in addition to eBay as a way to increase your sales.
With over 60 million users, Poshmark is one of the most popular alternatives to eBay. Despite their popularity (and the fact that many full-time sellers use them), they do come with some major drawbacks:
- Fees. Poshmark has some of the highest fees at 20% per sale (over $15)
- Limited Categories. You can only sell home goods and clothing on Poshmark.
However, Poshmark is extremely attractive to many people because of its social-media-like feel.
Check out some of our other direct Poshmark comparisons too see if it would work for you:
Mercari, a Japan-based platform, has made huge strides in the U.S. when it comes to customer service and ease of use.
Mercari has a fee similar to eBay 5 years ago. It is not social like Poshmark but has a straightforward search function and basic filters to allow buyers to find what they want.
We have sold hundreds of items on Mercari and it is our go-to platform for people who want to branch out from eBay.
Don’t Have A Mercari Account Yet?
Sign up through our link to get $10 off your first order of $20 or more!
Also, if you’re a seller you’ll get a $20 bonus when you hit $100 in sales!
While Etsy may have started off as a marketplace for vintage, antique, and handmade items, those definitions have been stretched enough that you can find just about anything for sale.
While Etsy is not a viable alternative if you sell mostly clothing on eBay, it is an excellent place for most types of hard goods.
One of the best features of Etsy is its super low fee percentage. We’re used to paying several thousand dollars a month in eBay fees and the idea of cutting that by 75% is pretty darn attractive!
Bonanza is the platform that most people who are disgruntled with eBay are fantasizing about. It seems to have everything: customer support, super low fees, payment via PayPal, and very few listing restrictions.
The only thing they lack, really, is a large audience. With under a million users it can be difficult to get sales. However, it is extremely easy to try and we have had 1-2 sales per week.
The coolest feature on Bonanza is that they allow you to import all of your eBay listings to your “booth” with the click of a button. It’s free to try so check it out and get a (small) sales boost!
If fees are your nemesis, eBid might be the perfect place for you. It’s always free to list things (unlike eBay which is $.30 per item) and you never pay more than 5% when something sells.
However, eBid loses out to most other platforms in size. With only a couple hundred thousand visits per month, it can be pretty hard to move inventory.
If you are looking to build a massive reselling business, Amazon is probably your best bet. They have the most users (by far) comparable fees, and pretty much every item under the sun.
While sales on Amazon can be slow for used items (except for books) you can definitely list them.
What’s more, it gives you the option of scaling up your business by selling via Amazon FBA.
We’ve sold thousands of items via Amazon in the past couple of years but have scaled back our operation recently. Why?
My honest opinion is that selling on Amazon is akin to playing with an 800lb gorilla. It might be fun (and you’ll get a cool picture) but the gorilla doesn’t care about you or if you get hurt. Like all other platforms, Amazon will continue to grow and expand with their own profit in sight. If that conflicts with the interest of their sellers, that’s who’s getting shorted.
With that being said, Amazon is a good place to diversify your eBay listings to if you want more sales.
eCRATER is a small marketplace with a cool feature: they submit all your listings to Google Shopping so you can show up is search results. This exposes your listing to millions of potential buyers!
Despite its smaller user base, eCRATER remains an attractive option for sellers who want an alternative to eBay because of its low fees and personal customer service. I haven’t tried selling here yet but it’s on my shortlist to try! When I do try them out you can bet that I’ll update things here!
8. The RealReal
If you want someone to sell your clothing for you, The RealReal is a great option. Provided that you normally wear luxury clothes and don’t mind losing a large chunk in fees.
The RealReal is a classic commission-based business. You send them your items, they inspect (and authenticate) them, decide on a price, and then list them for sale.
You do lose out on choosing many things about your listing (such as the price) but it’s worth it for many people for the hands-off approach.
Many people list their items on eBay first (because of the lower fees) and then send their luxury items that don’t sell to The RealReal. Even though they have high fees, The RealReal can typically get higher prices for your items because of the level of trust they have with buyers.
So, if you need an eBay alternative that is far less work, try a commission-seller
THREDUP is similar to The RealReal except for normal people. They brand themselves as an online thrift store and stand up to the test!
Many sellers send their stale inventory to THREDUP and, while they don’t take all of it, they will typically send you a payout for the things that they do want. Easy money!
If you’ve used traditional classified ads you’ll be very familiar with OfferUp with one notable exception, they also offer shipping. This makes them a great choice if you’re tired of selling on eBay because they allow you to have all of your listings in a single location (both big/heavy things and smaller more shippable things).
11. Facebook Marketplace
Have you ever heard of Facebook? It’s kind of a new thing.
With over 1 billion users (6x the size of eBay) Facebook Marketplace offers the largest used goods marketplace in the world. At least in theory.
In reality, most of your sales will be limited to people within a driving radius of you (40 miles or less) which makes it more suitable as a classified site than a direct replacement for eBay.
However, it is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal, and, with its zero fees, doesn’t hurt to try!
Why Are People Avoiding eBay?
With nicknames like “FeeBay” and “GreedBay” it’s not surprising that more and more people are choosing to avoid eBay (and claim that it’s dying)
While some of these are just people who have failed to sell anything and want to blame the platform, there are some significant reasons why people don’t like or don’t trust eBay:
- Rising Fees. While eBay’s fees are still on the lower end of the well-trafficked platforms, there’s no denying that they’re creeping up year after year. Many people think that recent changes eBay has made to their seller hub reporting simply function to obfuscate the real fee percentages.
- Glitches/Outages. In the past couple of years, eBay has experienced some very significant downtime, usually during an update. A couple of years ago we went from having 5-10 sales per day to 0 for 4 days in a row when eBay tried to update everyone’s listings and failed.
- It’s “Buyer-First”. While eBay does offer customer service, many buyers are left feeling unsupported when they have a conflict with a buyer. In a recent issue, we were charged an erroneous $2200 shipping charge by eBay and were unable to get it removed despite spending over 10 hours on the phone with them. It’s not a normal occurrence but these “costs of doing business” leave a sour taste in your mouth.
- Scammers. Many people think that scammers are at home on eBay and, if they leave, they’ll find more honest people elsewhere on the net. I’m afraid to say that there are scammers everywhere. In my opinion, eBay does an admirable job of keeping its platform clean and honest.
- Selling Restrictions. New seller? Restrictions. Struggling seller? Restriction. Forgot to pay your fees? Restrictions. Having a limit on the number of items you can list certainly doesn’t help you to maximize your profits on eBay.
- eBay’s Managed Payments. While we haven’t had any issues, tons of people have been scared off by eBay’s new payment system. Leaving behind PayPal and demanding that sellers share their Social Security Numbers and banking information has meant that many people are looking for greener pastures.
*I’m not saying any of these are true. Just that these are among the reasons people give for exploring other selling platforms.
Despite the exodus, eBay claims that they continue to grow in numbers of sellers and buyers year after year. While this may be true, our sales numbers are lower (per number of listings) than they’ve been in years. Which is one of the reasons I ended up writing this article.
I’m not saying eBay is dying, but do check out the Google Trends chart below that shows interest in (and searches for) eBay over the past 5 years. Food for thought.
The Hydra Attack: Crossposting
If you really want to succeed as an online seller/reseller (and don’t manufacture your own goods) then you really need to diversify your selling platform.
Imagine how ridiculous it would be if you created your own product and then decided to sell it only on eBay. What if eBay banned you? Or just limited your selling privileges? You’d lose your business and be back to square one.
We advise everyone that we know who resells to choose at least one of the eBay alternatives (usually Mercari or Poshmark) and cross-post their inventory. This gives you access to twice as many eyeballs (and wallets) while also protecting you from anything going wrong on one of the sites.
Don’t have enough time to cross-post everything? Neither do we. That’s why we use cross-posting software to pull our eBay listings and list them on other sites (It takes about 10 minutes to cross-post 30 listings). Check out more info and our full review here.
How Much Money Can You Make Reselling?
When it comes to making a profit as a reseller, the sky is really the limit. You can stay hobby-size your entire career by just selling trinkets from your house or you can scale up your eBay business to 7-8 figures per year.
Once you’ve figured out how to sell on eBay, where to source items, what sells best, etc. the only denominator left is the platform. The truth is, some platforms will not support a full-time seller. Typically this is because they lack the traffic for you to sell a sufficient number of items.
I feel confident that the majority of people can sell full-time if they are willing to put in the effort (it really is a full-time job).
However, make eBay or Amazon the backbone of your reselling business and then use other platforms to diversify and get a few additional sales.
I know you’ll probably hate the hear it but, after writing this article, my feeling is that most eBay alternatives have not over-taken eBay simply because they are not as good.
We buy and sell on multiple platforms but, until someone does it better, we’ll be sticking with eBay. Mostly.