In the world of e-commerce, it is crucial to understand how different platforms can either help or hinder your chances of success. As a seller, choosing the right marketplace can ensure that you are reaching the right audience for your products and increase your chances of earning a profit.
Whether you’re looking for coupons, rebates, or discounts, Craigslist and eBay both offer a wide selection of affordable products. In this article, we will compare two online platforms for sellers: eBay and Craigslist. Let’s get started by outlining the intended uses of each platform. Then, we will examine their individual benefits and drawbacks.
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Purpose and Use of eBay
eBay is an online marketplace for new and used goods. The platform is open to sellers of all sizes, locations, and backgrounds including:
- Independent sellers
- Small businesses
- Large corporations
The e-commerce platform allows sellers to make use of the ever-growing digital economy to sell their products online. In other words, there’s no need for a physical storefront. By eliminating the physical retail element of building a business, sellers can instead focus on the most important aspect: the profit-making sale of their products and merchandise.
When using eBay, sellers can post their products using two different listing formats:
- Auction-style listings – Using the Online Auction format, sellers can list their merchandise at a starting price and buyers can bid on the item for a duration of 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, based on what the seller determines when creating the product listing. When the demand for a particular item is high, auction-based selling can increase engagement, thereby increasing profit.
- Fixed price listings – Sellers can also sell merchandise at a fixed price. Like an auction, sellers can list their product for up to 10 days. There’s also a feature that allows buyers to submit their best offers to the seller, who can then choose to accept or decline the offer. Using the Markdown Manager, sellers can also put their items on sale.
With eBay, your shop or brand is reaching a global audience of millions of potential buyers. In fact, eBay is the second-largest online marketplace in the United States, and it attracts buyers and sellers from around the world. As of 2021, eBay has 187 million active buyers—a number that has only increased since its foundation in 1995.
Purpose and Use of Craigslist
Craigslist is an online classified advertisements website with a focus on local (rather than global) trades of goods and services. In other words, users can post on the forum to share about such topics as:
- Community events
- Skilled trade services
- Items for sale
Craigslist is geared toward those who are interested in selling individual products that are not necessarily related to a cohesive brand or company. It’s great for less frequent sellers who are looking to make some extra money, but don’t have a product collection that would warrant investing in an online or in-person shop.
Unlike eBay, sellers on Craigslist can only advertise their products for a potential sale. The platform does not facilitate the sale internally, meaning the buyer and seller will need to meet in person or use a third-party service to complete the transaction.
However, Craigslist allows for more flexibility regarding what can be posted, which includes products, services, and events, in comparison to eBay, which is limited almost entirely to goods.
Pros and Cons of eBay
eBay is a global marketplace that offers transactional assistance, a worldwide audience, and the ability to build your shop’s brand. However, there can also be a few drawbacks that may affect your user experience, too.
- Auction-style transactions – As the seller, you can allow customers to compete for the highest prices for your products. As bids increase, so do your profits.
- Fixed price transactions – Sellers can also opt for a fixed price transaction, which allows for less hands-on selling options and the ability to control your profits.
- Global reach – eBay has a consumer base of hundreds of millions of users around the world. If you list your products on its marketplace, you’ll reach a larger audience. As such, there’s a higher chance that an interested buyer will buy your merchandise. eBay also offers its sellers a free market research tool called Terapeak to help determine their pricing models.
- Easy transactions – eBay is better structured for e-commerce than Craigslist. More specifically, it’s geared toward the sale of goods and therefore its user interface is more intuitive for both buyers and sellers. eBay’s Promotions Manager also helps sellers set up sales and promotions to encourage more purchases.
- Built-in brand building – Sellers can name and create customized URLs for their online shop to cultivate a customer base and attract new buyers. The e-commerce platform also offers seller education programs that can help bolster your entrepreneurial skills and help grow your business.
- Fees – eBay requires that sellers pay fees when setting up shop in its marketplace. These include monthly store subscription fees, insertion fees, final value fees, and fees for particular kinds of listings. So, it only makes sense to set up shop if you anticipate selling multiple items over an extended period of time.
- Less targeted range – Because eBay’s reach is so vast, it may be more difficult to reach a local audience. That means there is less opportunity for interacting with the buyer directly. Also, selling things via eBay may mean incorporating costs of shipping to national or international customers into your pricing model.
- Greater seller competition – Because eBay is such a large marketplace, there is a greater potential for competition between sellers. If a seller halfway across the world is able to price their products a bit lower than you, they may attract buyers who would have otherwise purchased from your shop.
Pros and Cons of Craigslist
While Craigslist is not specifically geared toward e-commerce, it may be a great option for sellers looking to target a local audience. But first, it’s important to weight the pros and cons:
- Fewer restrictions – Craigslist is open to both goods and services, rather than solely goods. This allows skilled professionals in trades to advertise their services to a local audience and increase their local reach.
- Greater opportunity for buyer/seller interaction – Because the scope of Craigslist is local to the user’s particular city or area, the buyer and seller have the opportunity to interact in person. This opens up a greater possibility for price negotiations, consistent communication, and more trusting relationships to bolster future transactions.
- No fees or financial restrictions – It is completely free to post and respond to listings on Craigslist. Users can buy and sell without paying fees, which are required on other e-commerce sites, such as eBay.
- Reliant on individual action – Because the platform simply offers an opportunity to advertise products and services, it does not handle the transaction portion of the sale on the website. Instead, the buyer and seller have to independently arrange for an in-person trade or an online transaction through a third party service.
- Smaller audience reach – Craigslist postings are targeted to a particular geographic area, decreasing the size of the buyer audience. As such, areas with smaller populations will elicit less online traffic than larger cities, meaning small-town sellers may have a very limited pool of potential buyers.
- Not structured for businesses – Craigslist is not intended for consistent business transactions. If you are looking for a platform to generate consistent traffic and revenue, Craigslist may not be the most profitable platform for your merchandising.
For Online Sellers of Any Kind: Use RebateKey to Earn Extra Income
The decision to post listings on eBay or Craigslist is ultimately up to the seller’s individual needs and product capacity. While eBay offers a wide-reaching marketplace for the sale of online goods, Craigslist provides a small-scale platform for those looking to build an audience around their goods and services.
If you’re looking to boost your profits beyond eBay and Craigslist trades, use RebateKey.
With us, you can increase your profits and maintain your existing selling strategy. More specifically, through RebateKey you can offer rebates to buyers to increase traffic to your shop and turn your existing customers into repeat customers.
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