Tuesday, October 20, 2009

eBay vs Amazon: The buyer's perspesctive

A while ago I wrote a couple of articles about Amazon vs. eBay focused on the seller’s perspective. Now, here’s my view on both marketplaces fron the other point of view: the end consumer; the buyer.

On a feature by feature analysis, this would be a very concise summary of the buying experience in both eBay and Amazon from my standpoint.



BUYERS Perspective

Amazon

eBay

Fees

WORSE

Higher average fees translate to higher average prices

BETTER

Lower average fees prices means lower prices for the end consumer

Format

FIXED Price Format

FIXED price + AUCTION

Average sale Price

HIGHER

Amazon buyers tend to focus more on product condition than price.

LOWER

eBay, by its nature, is competitive and draws buyers looking for the lowest possible prices.

Payment Methods

WORSE
Only Credit / Debit cards or AMAZON payments

BETTER,

MORE PAYMENT OPTIONS

Besides credit and debit cards, eBay sellers can accept PayPal, money orders, cashier's checks or cash (in person)

Return Policy

BETTER

“A-Z Guarantee” favors the Buyers

WORSE

NO Buyer Guarantee, only a “Resolution Center” that works sometimes

Shipping

BETTER

Buyer always knows the shipping cost

(Amazon sets the shipping cost)

SLIGHTLY WORSE

Variable shipping costs, dependant on sellers.

Web experience – Personalization tools

BETTER

No doubt, Amazon is probably the best online store available

WORSE
Doesn’t have as many personalization tools, cross selling, A/B testing methods, etc as Amazon. The buying experience is




Summing it up, Amazon is a better online experience for the buyer… but at higher average prices than eBay. Both are perfectly valid options for online shopping and just as in “brick and mortar” retail stores some prefer to buy at WalMart and some at Target, on Internet the different mix of service/price also gives consumers more options to choose from.
My personal favorite... Amazon. I don’t care if they’re cents more expensive on average. .. so far, no other online retailer has been able to create a better experience than Amazon.



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