Thanks to constantly evolving technology, purchasing goods online is becoming ever more convenient, with retailers and service providers alike taking advantage of the internet’s marketing potential. Despite these developments, the risks involved in online transactions remain a major deterrent for many people. That’s why it’s crucial for retailers to provide reliable and secure payment methods in...
eBay is the largest online platform for trading in used goods. Usually, interested parties bid at an auction for a certain product, and the highest bid wins. Some sellers, on the other hand, set a fixed price for the immediate purchase. Permanent shop pages are also possible. With eBay classifieds, the market leader covers regional requests. Despite the ubiquitous presence of the US company, some eBay alternatives manage to achieve business success with target group-specific offers or regional anchoring. We compare alternatives to eBay that can be interesting for different needs.
eBay isn't all you’ve got – why alternatives make sense
What began as a digital flea market under the name AuctionWeb in 1995 grew into an international company with various subsidiaries. Initially, only private individuals bid in auctions from private sellers. In the meantime, a number of companies have specialized in the sale of used or new products and compete with private sellers. In addition, eBay is sometimes criticized for not doing enough to protect buyers. The constantly increasing sales commission and the allocation of the shipping costs to the providers caused problems for sellers. Anyone who prefers to avoid the market leader will find numerous eBay alternatives on the net. Among the online marketplaces in our comparison, some rely on the regional reference, others on curiosities or Fairtrade.
The best eBay alternatives
Despite eBay's supremacy, there are numerous online marketplaces on the net. However, some platforms pay little attention to buyer or seller protection, which opens the door to fraudsters. Others attract only a few members, which reduces the range of offers. The following eBay alternatives, on the other hand, are convincing with security in payment transactions and their own focal points.
|Focus||New and used products of all categories||Fashion and Accessories||Vintage items of all kinds||Mobile second-hand marketplace||Books and media|
|Size||25,000 sellers, just under 1M visitors a month||21M members||1M monthly users, and roughly 2,500 active shops selling over 15M products||100M app-downloads||340 employees worldwide, sales unknown|
|Fees||Minimum $0.50, plus certain percentages depending on the product price||Fee for buyer protection: 4% of the purchase price + 0,70 cents||19 cents per listing, $100 to set up a shop, no commission||10% commission of listing price||Unknown, as the platform sells the books for you after buying them from you|
|Seller protection||Covered with PayPal’s protection system||Digital purse||Customer service||Shipping service with parcel tracking and e-wallet||This platform takes over the selling process|
|Features||Biggest eBay competition||Desktop and smartphone app, push items and show best matches||Vintage-only platform tailors buyers and sellers needs||Good security features and quick sales||Does all the selling for you, donates to a good cause|
The online auction platform bonanza.com was founded in 2008, previously called Bonanzle. The business model positions the company as a direct competitor to eBay. Both private and commercial sellers offer all kinds of products on the market place, in addition to new goods. Private sellers advertise free of charge and the website claims it takes less commission. Those who want to give their listings that certain something – with a prominent placement, a second photo or boldface – can pay extra.
The offer ranges from electronics to fashion, leisure articles, collectibles, and interior design to vehicles and travel. The respective categories can be filtered by brand, color, or material. Product reviews, leaflets, and a sub-function make the decision easier.
- Excellent design
- It is commended by lots of reviews, and has won awards
- No listing fees
- You can create a bonanza webstore
Vinted is a second-hand sales platform for fashion, accessories, and beauty. Initially the offer was limited to women's fashion, which could not only be sold, but also exchanged or given away. Meanwhile, the men's department also has a lot to offer.
Members can both buy and sell. A forum underlines the basic local concept of the website. Sellers upload photos from several perspectives so that you know exactly what they are buying. In addition there is a description with size details and manufacturer as well as a price chosen by the customer.
Potential buyers signal their interest by favoring the article (sometimes there are several potential buyers for individual articles). Questions about the product are also possible via the messaging function. In the past, this was also the way people traded; in the meantime, however, Vinted has switched to immediate purchases. The principle is supplemented by elements known from social media: Buyers can follow sellers whose choice of clothes they like. When the seller uploads a new product, it appears in the subscribers' feed. In addition, sellers promote their articles via “Best Matches,” a function that places articles matching another member's search in a clearly visible position in the feed.
The platform offers various shipping options and payment systems. The function "Create a package," for example, bundles several orders from a catalog and saves packaging and shipping costs. The in-house buyer protection allows customers to choose the payment system of their choice, even if the seller does not offer it – all they have to do is activate the secure payment system. Buyers, on the other hand, pay a small surcharge per transaction. Vinted stores the amount in an encrypted, digital wallet until the customer receives the product and accepts it without complaint. Then it is available as a credit note for the seller.
- Business model focuses on simple communication
- Exchange possible
- Fees apply only for buyer protection
Ruby Lane specializes in vintage and art pieces. The customer service is good, and it is an intuitive platform for sellers and buyers alike. It is aesthetically pleasing, matching the lovely items it has to sell. Ruby Lane doesn’t take a commission, but it does cost 19 cents to post an item. This may be cheaper for sellers in the long run – paying under 20 cents for an item that sells for $50 or even $100 saves a percentage commission fee common to other online marketplaces. If you have a Ruby Lane shop, you’ll have to pay $69 for up to 80 items, and then from then on each item is subject to a fee upon sale (under 50 cents). To set up shop, there is a one-off $100 fee, which includes the first 10 listings.
The objects you can buy on Ruby Lane are united through their vintage status, but other than that, it’s a diverse shopping experience, where you’ll find one-off gems. The categories are antiques, vintage collectibles, fine art, furniture and lighting, jewelry, vintage fashion, dolls, glass, pottery and porcelain, and silverware, among others. The quality of the offers is usually high, and so it’s not the place to look for things if you’re counting pennies at the moment – but if you’ve been saving a while you might be able to snag a vintage ring at a better price than you’d find at a jewelers!
In order to offer or purchase goods, marketplace visitors need a free account. Private individuals do not have to pay any set-up or transaction fees. Commercial providers pay as listed above.
- Vintage only platform
- Voted best customer service
- Gorgeous user friendly design
- No commission for sellers
- Great security
The fresh online marketplace app Mercari is a hit, with low commission fees and a money back guarantee. The website claims that over 100,000 products are added each day, and that new and used items are on offer. You can find designer items, phones, video games, jewelry, and much more on the platform. The setup is simple: download the app, upload your product, ship it when the product is bought, and then get paid. The selling fee is 10%.
The seller protection is also stellar: As long as the item you list is delivered as promised, you get paid. If you use the Mercari prepaid shipping it is always insured up to $200, which means you don’t have to bother with any meet ups, which can be a hassle. The app has high ratings on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, showing that customer satisfaction is high, and it is a trustworthy platform.
The shop section is split into categories and brands so you can find what you need easily, whether it’s for kids, home, women’s wear, or filtered by brand. There are over 10,000 brands listed, and the site claims that you can secure savings of up to 70%. So whether buying or selling, Mercari provides a solid platform.
- Designed as an app for mobile use
- Lots on offer
- Well sorted categories and lots of brands
- Shipping and payment service for more user security
Better World Books
Better World Books (BWB) is a good alternative to both Amazon and eBay for buying and selling books. It is a great platform for second hand books, which is kinder to the environment and your wallet. It is easy to sell with BWB: Just send them the books you want to sell, they do all the selling, and you’ll get paid. The books are sold in over 30 marketplaces, and you can choose to benefit a non-profit literacy partner with each sale.
The marketplace is huge – pretty much any book you want can be sold and bought via the BWB platform. This is even the case for textbooks, which many physical bookstores won’t buy back. For this reason BWB have a “Give Back at Buyback” service to cater to students. Other than that, there are dozens of categories, ranging from antiques and architecture to children’s books to self-help to true crime. Even within these categories, there are subcategories, allowing for a good browse to discover new titles, even when you’re looking for a specific one. If you want to cut to the chase, a reliable search function is also present.
- Experience as an online book marketplace
- Large selection of interfaces and upload formats
- Depending on the provider free return, shipping discounts, or price suggestion possible
- Detailed categories in the catalogue
- Ethical mission
Conclusion: eBay alternatives for different requirements
The market leader eBay offers some advantages. International reach and a very large offer are just as much a part of it as the joy of having made a bargain at an auction. Due to its size – 177 million users worldwide by 2018 – there are also potentially more fraudsters in the network. In addition, the sales commission of 10 percent for private users is set above average.
These are already good reasons to try out alternatives to eBay. You may also be looking for a more sustainable business model to support (Better World Books), or regional companies. Those looking for special product groups such as fashion or books will find what they are looking for at Vinted or Better World Books.
All these eBay alternatives have their own merits, often complemented by an active community of like-minded people. In addition to the usually low fees, good data protection regulations as well as secure shipping and payment systems should be mentioned as positive points. So if you want to hunt down bargains with a clear conscience, make sustainable purchases, or gain more reach for your online shop via the better known marketplaces: eBay is just one of many alternatives, and the competition has a lot to offer.