Founded in 1995, eBay is the OG when it comes to online auction sites. Back then, it was the only game in town, while currently, there are multiple alternatives available. eBay ranked number one when we researched and compared these services to find the best places to sell online. For our eBay review in 2020, we checked the current offerings, website design, ease of use and selection of products, as well as the overall experience of buying and selling.
eBay has the largest user-base of all the auction sites, so the company must be doing something right after all these years.
eBay review: Website and selection
- East to navigate with relevant suggestions
- An overwhelming amount of items to choose from, yet well organized
When you visit eBay’s site, you’re greeted with a colorful online warehouse of products ranging from vehicles to clothing, art to sporting goods - and really anything else you can imagine. The search bar says ‘search for anything,’ and that’s not an exaggeration.
As a buyer, you’re given the option to shop by category, which is nice considering the amount of products available. As you scroll down, it suggests shopping from their Brand Outlet section, which means you can buy directly from top brands and sellers at a large discounted rate.
Next there are a slew of products in the ‘Daily Deals’ section, which is a mosh posh of items, all offered with free shipping. These are broken down into categories such as a Spotlight Deal, Trending Deals, and Featured Deals.
If you head to eBay without a clear plan of what you’re looking for, the site can swallow you for hours, similar to walking into a retail store to browse, with no clear endgame in mind. You may end up with items you never intended to buy, but that’s the beauty of shopping.
If you know exactly what you want to purchase and are looking to compare the best prices from various sellers to either bid on or buy directly, eBay is the right place for you.
Did you know that 80% of eBay’s inventory is actually brand-new? If you think eBay is bidding on used goods that nobody wants anymore, it’s definitely time to go to their site (opens in new tab) and see how things have changed over the years. Between this and the fact that eBay is the de facto go-to in terms of online auction sites with over 182 million shoppers, it’s a clear winner. Other sites may come close, and their offerings are certainly unique (so don’t count them out just yet), but we recommend eBay if you’re looking for the widest and varied range of items for sale.
eBay review: Fees
- eBay charges the highest fees
- Many selling tools available
While eBay seems to charge the highest fees, it’s also the largest of all online auction sites. This means that with over 182 million registered users, your products have a better chance of selling.
If you’re someone who only occasionally wants to sell items, eBay has a standard subscription where your first 50 listings are free. Then a fee of 30 cents is charged to list anything additional.
It’s important to note that some categories are excluded from the 50 free monthly listings. eBay takes a 10% commission on your total sales amount and you only pay if your items sell.
For this fee, you get shipping labels you can print at home, with large discounts on postage. You have access to an existing target audience, along with seller protection and customer support.
There is also the option to upgrade to various sales tools for additional fees, which can add up.
If you’re thinking of setting up an eBay store, you should utilize the eBay Seller Hub. There’s no extra charge to use Seller Hub, but you’ll have to pay for the features they offer, such as Selling Manager Pro. eBay Seller Hub can help sellers keep track of business performance and create better listings, faster. It’s worth investing in if you are not a seasoned seller and don’t know how to start selling fast. Once you feel confident you can sell for a good price without the services, you can unsubscribe from them
eBay review: Buying and selling on eBay
- Many tool options for sellers to choose from to maximize sales
- Not all items have product reviews
As a seller, eBay does a really nice job of walking you through the process of setting up an account. Once you get started, the site asks what your product is and aids in finding similar items, so most of the details are already filled out. The options are very specific and you’re allowed to upload up to 12 images, which is not as high as other platforms, but upgrades are available.
When it comes to pricing your item, eBay gives its recommendation for which selling style is right for your product. The two available options are auction-style or fixed-pricing listing. eBay also recommends a shipping option and sets you up for payment through PayPal, a third party online service that enables secure payment transactions.
What’s really nice to see is that eBay asks if you’d like to donate a portion of your sales to charity (opens in new tab). They’ve helped raise 1 billion dollars for the 83,000 charities enrolled and that’s impressive.
Whether you’re cleaning out your closet and want to sell a few items or plan on becoming a pro-seller and opening up an eBay store, their Seller Hub is a pretty amazing tool. Why? All your selling activities are organized into one place with plenty of data to sift through, such as sales trends, number of buyers finding your products and how they’re finding them. The Seller Hub helps to create listings in less time and handle orders with just a few clicks. It even lets you know how you’re measuring up to your competitors.
When it comes to marketing your products to ensure maximum number of eyeballs are viewing them, eBay helps you increase your sales with simple promotional tools as part of a subscription plan they offer. The Seller Hub is only available to US sellers at the moment, but will soon be available on their international sites as well.
As a buyer, eBay makes it simple to find what you’re looking for. There’s a lot to choose from, which can be overwhelming. But if you know what specific item you’re there to buy, it’s a very quick and easy process.
What’s nice is that 90% of their items have both an auction option and a Buy It Now option. It's actually fun to bid for a product and get the best possible price, however you always have a chance of losing it to a higher bidder. To ensure you get what you came for and quickly, the Buy It Now option comes in handy.
Almost all eBay items come with a money-back guarantee which creates a sense of trust between buyer, seller and eBay. Many of the items offer free shipping, which is a bonus.
Once you have located what you want to buy out of the 1.3 billion listings, you have access to specific information such as the item’s condition, which varies by item category. You know what you’re getting when you order from eBay and everything is transparent. No surprises.
As a buyer, you can also see what level the seller of your desired product is graded. The level is based on transaction defect rate, cases closed without seller resolution, late shipments, and confirmed tracking and delivery. If the performance is rated with a Below Standard sticker, you’ll want to look at another seller.
Product reviews are not easy to find on eBay, and reviews are really useful to read before purchasing. Not all items have a product review because it’s up to the seller to select their product from the eBay catalog and put as much information as possible. The lack of reviews on a certain product may deter buyers.
Overall, the process of searching and purchasing an item was very easy and there was certainly no lack of choices. We found this to generally be true across all online auction sites, but on sites like Webstore (opens in new tab), offerings may be more limited.
Should I choose eBay?
If you’re a seller, eBay has the largest number of active shoppers and has created a very smart platform for you to maximize sales and stay organized. If you’re a buyer, eBay has over 1.4 billion live listings that are easily searched for, along with various purchasing options, free shipping and a money back guarantee on a large portion of products. It’s definitely the best option among online auction sites. Overall, we feel eBay’s website is very comprehensive, easy to navigate, and provides lots of options for both buyers and sellers.