4 October 2021

Shopify or eBay: Which platform is better for you?


Written by

Brett Fleiner


4 October 2021

Shopify or eBay: Which platform is better for you?

Written by: Brett Fleiner


So you have been looking for the best e-commerce platform to set up shop on and have been hearing a lot about Shopify and eBay. This is no surprise as both are titans in the highly competitive eCommerce arena, but which is the best?

We’ll dive deeper into both platforms, what they are and what they offer, and provide a detailed analysis of the critical factors you should consider when deciding between these two e-commerce giants.

Let’s first look at the background of each of these impressive platforms and learn more about them.

So you have been looking for the best e-commerce platform to set up shop on and have been hearing a lot about Shopify and eBay. This is no surprise as both are titans in the highly competitive eCommerce arena, but which is the best?

We’ll dive deeper into both platforms, what they are and what they offer, and provide a detailed analysis of the critical factors you should consider when deciding between these two e-commerce giants.

Let’s first look at the background of each of these impressive platforms and learn more about them.

What is Shopify?

Shopify store dashboard.

Shopify store dashboard.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform allowing sellers to set up an online store to sell their merchandise. 

Shopify has been operating for over a decade and was founded when its owner had difficulty finding an easy-to-use platform to sell his products. 

As the leading platform in e-commerce, Shopify is an excellent option for businesses of all sizes and caters to almost any business need. Shopify aims to be a reliable solution no matter what phase of your e-commerce journey you are on.

What is eBay?

eBay seller hub dashboard.

eBay seller hub dashboard.

eBay is a giant in e-commerce initially built and famed for its auctions and item trading. 

eBay quickly grew into one of the biggest platforms favored by merchants and prides itself on being a marketplace where you can buy or sell practically anything, including consumer goods and services.

eBay offers a massive base of paying customers who merely search for a specific product to find various options. eBay has been operating since 1995, making it one of the most established platforms there is.

Shopify vs eBay

Although both of these e-commerce platforms are pretty similar, there are still differences that set them apart. Here are factors that we took into consideration when comparing between the two:

  • Ease of Use: If it is easy to use and doesn’t take a long time to set up
  • Design Versatility: If it has customization options or templates that allow your brand to stand out
  • Features and Benefits: If it has a wide range of valuable features
  • Analytics: If it provides advanced analytics to help you monitor trends and performance metrics
  • Customer Support: If it provides excellent customer support and documentation
  • Fulfillment and Shipping: If it has good delivery options
  • Affordability: If it is affordable for the features and services provided

Ease of Use

Ease-of-use is arguably the most important factor we all look for when starting our e-commerce journey. Not everyone is a web design expert, and nobody wants to endure the frustration of hours of seemingly endless work just to realize they are not getting anywhere. 

The ideal platform should have an easy interface that offers advanced options to give you and your potential customers a pleasant experience.

Shopify offers an impressively simple-to-use platform that puts most of its competitors to shame. You don't need any web design knowledge to build an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-manage store. Their dashboard has all of the tools and features to save you from a complicated or exhausting experience.

eBay similarly does not require any intricate technical skills or experience and offers a straightforward platform to use. With a host of resources available to assist you, you shouldn't experience any frustration when setting up your store.

✏️ Which is better: Tie — Both are straightforward regardless of your level of experience.

Design Versatility

When looking to sell your products, one of the most critical factors you will look for is design versatility. 

In the ever-growing arena of e-commerce stores, the ability to have your brand stand out ahead of your competitors is crucial to your success. You want to be able to grab a customer's attention with an eye-catching and professionally designed store. 

Shopify has an impressive array of design templates that offer varying degrees of customization. There are over 70 templates, 10 of which are free to use, and they all provide a professional and appealing appearance for your store. 

The free templates may seem a little bland but customizing the color schemes, editing images, and changing some aspects can be done quickly and ensure you can create an attractive store. 

Premium designs are more elegant but do come at a cost. One downside with Shopify's design versatility is that you may need to work with a developer if more extensive design changes are required. The templates contain Liquid templating code, difficult to deal with for most non-programmer individuals.

eBay has a single design template that all stores on the platform are forced to use. While you can customize certain aspects of logos and banners, changes are minimal. Your product listing does offer a bit more versatility, but not enough to easily distinguish you from your competitors.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Features and Benefits

When looking for a platform to start selling from, we often pay attention to the upfront cost and not the features that come with it. 

This hyperfocus on pricing can prove to be a severe mistake in the long run. You may find out that a feature you require a few months down the line and switching platforms or adding a 3rd party integration to compensate can be expensive and time-consuming. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing the limitations and capabilities of a platform before getting started.

That said, Shopify offers various plans, each with its own set of valuable features. Even if you cannot opt for the more expensive plan, all options offer some essential basic features. 

When moving to a higher plan, you can expect to access even more amazing features that will elevate your store. There are apps for just about any requirement you could have, from marketing to customer management. Shopify also has a vast selection of apps available via their app store.

On the other hand, eBay offers the bare essentials. As a marketplace platform, they do not focus on other aspects outside of product listings and basic sales reports. 

There are apps available that can assist with various elements of your eBay listing, but they are only offered through 3rd part websites, and it will take some searching to find the best options for you.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Analytics

Using your store data to analyze your business performance and provide strategies to increase sales is essential to your success. Hence, having analytics built into a platform can save you hours figuring out what’s going wrong or which products are top sellers. 

Shopify provides a dashboard that gives you an overview of critical business insights and analytics. With sales stats, best sellers, and information regarding returning customers, Shopify allows sellers to determine steps to improve sales quickly. 

Shopify Plus users will have pre-defined reports available, but all Shopify users can create custom reports based on the analysis they need regardless of your plan.

While eBay also offers a range of sales-related analytics based on purchases made by customers, these analytics are pretty basic compared to that of Shopify. If you seek an in-depth analysis of your performance and other store-related information, a 3rd party app may be your best choice for eBay.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Customer Support

The majority of online sellers probably encounter issues they are unable to fix themselves. Having something go wrong is almost inevitable and the importance of having a team of experts on hand to help you solve your issue cannot be understated. 

Shopify's customer support is available 24/7 through email, live chat, or by phone. Professionalism and willingness to help are at the forefront of Shopify's support team goals. 

Email support for most languages means it doesn't matter which part of the world you are in — someone is always there to help out. Shopify also boasts an extensive library of tutorials and on-demand training, enabling you to take on less complex issues on your own. 

The Shopify community is also active on forums and social media, and can be an excellent resource for helpful information.

eBay's level of support is determined by the plan you have chosen. Basic packages offer live chat and email assistance, but a higher-level subscription can give you access to eBay Concierge.

eBay Concierge enables you access to over-the-phone support from experts with little to no waiting time. eBay also has a large number of support documents and training available. Getting assistance on eBay is reasonably straightforward, and the quality of support is good.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify — for offering top-tier customer support to all customers, regardless of plan

Fulfillment and Shipping

All the branding and marketing in the world renders useless without an effective fulfillment and shipping process to get your products safely to your customers. 

Providing good delivery options decreases the likelihood of customers abandoning products in their cart. Customers who feel that delivery options aren’t reliable are less likely to return and purchase from your store again.

That said, Shopify's fulfillment and shipping options are reliant on your location. If you are in the United States or Canada, then Shopify Shipping is available for you free of charge on any account. International Shipping options for Shopify offer decent discounts based on partnerships with large logistics companies. 

Either way, Shopify's platform allows you to estimate and track shipping costs quickly, ensure products arrive safely, and allow for fast delivery.

eBay has a do-it-yourself approach to shipping, this being your only option. This does have its benefits as it reduces costs you would often pay to 3rd party couriers. Self-shipping also means you can brand packages and labels as you see fit. 

There are still 3rd party options available, and the global shipping plan offered by eBay can make international deliveries more cost-effective. Overall, shipping with eBay is not difficult or expensive.

✏️ Which is better: Tie — both offer decent options

Affordability

Getting your money's worth is vital in every aspect of life, and e-commerce is no different. You want fair pricing with features to match and never want to feel like the investment you made is not worth it. 

Pricing can be the main determining factor for most of us when getting started, as it may take a while before we see a return on our investment. 

Shopify's pricing plans

  • Basic Shopify: $29/m. This includes all the basic features to help you start a new online business.
  • Shopify: $79/m. This includes everything on Basic Shopify, but with gift cards, advanced reports, and more staff accounts. 
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/m. This includes everything on Shopify, but with more staff accounts, access to an advanced report builder, and third-party shipping rates.

Each of these plan tiers has different features included and offers additional transaction fees when making a sale. Getting the essentials for your store is easy on any of the plans above. All are reasonably priced considering what they offer. 

Shopify also offers Shopify Plus. This powerhouse of a plan is designed for large businesses or enterprises with a high turnover. Shopify Plus starts at $2000 per month, and the exact pricing is decided based on your requirements.

A complete list of pricing and the features that come with each plan is available on Shopify's website.

eBay's pricing plans

eBay has a standard charge of 10% on the sales price for each listing, but they also offer the following plans for those looking to set up their store:

  • Starter: $4.95/m. This includes all the basic features to help you get started.
  • Basic: $27.97/m. This includes everything on Starter, but with up more auction-style and fixed pricing listings.
  • Premium: $74.95/m. This includes everything on Basic, but with sourcing insights and a selling manager. 
  • Anchor: $349.95/m. This includes everything on Premium, but with dedicated customer support.
  • Enterprise: $2999.95/year. This includes everything on Premium, but with up to 2,500 auction-style and additional 100,000 fixed pricing listings.

Terms and conditions apply to each plan, and there are cases in which the above figures may not apply. For more specific pricing information and feature inclusion, you can visit eBay’s website.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify 

What is Shopify?

Shopify store dashboard.

Shopify store dashboard.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform allowing sellers to set up an online store to sell their merchandise. 

Shopify has been operating for over a decade and was founded when its owner had difficulty finding an easy-to-use platform to sell his products. 

As the leading platform in e-commerce, Shopify is an excellent option for businesses of all sizes and caters to almost any business need. Shopify aims to be a reliable solution no matter what phase of your e-commerce journey you are on.

What is eBay?

eBay seller hub dashboard.

eBay seller hub dashboard.

eBay is a giant in e-commerce initially built and famed for its auctions and item trading. 

eBay quickly grew into one of the biggest platforms favored by merchants and prides itself on being a marketplace where you can buy or sell practically anything, including consumer goods and services.

eBay offers a massive base of paying customers who merely search for a specific product to find various options. eBay has been operating since 1995, making it one of the most established platforms there is.

Shopify vs eBay

Although both of these e-commerce platforms are pretty similar, there are still differences that set them apart. Here are factors that we took into consideration when comparing between the two:

  • Ease of Use: If it is easy to use and doesn’t take a long time to set up
  • Design Versatility: If it has customization options or templates that allow your brand to stand out
  • Features and Benefits: If it has a wide range of valuable features
  • Analytics: If it provides advanced analytics to help you monitor trends and performance metrics
  • Customer Support: If it provides excellent customer support and documentation
  • Fulfillment and Shipping: If it has good delivery options
  • Affordability: If it is affordable for the features and services provided

Ease of Use

Ease-of-use is arguably the most important factor we all look for when starting our e-commerce journey. Not everyone is a web design expert, and nobody wants to endure the frustration of hours of seemingly endless work just to realize they are not getting anywhere. 

The ideal platform should have an easy interface that offers advanced options to give you and your potential customers a pleasant experience.

Shopify offers an impressively simple-to-use platform that puts most of its competitors to shame. You don't need any web design knowledge to build an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-manage store. Their dashboard has all of the tools and features to save you from a complicated or exhausting experience.

eBay similarly does not require any intricate technical skills or experience and offers a straightforward platform to use. With a host of resources available to assist you, you shouldn't experience any frustration when setting up your store.

✏️ Which is better: Tie — Both are straightforward regardless of your level of experience.

Design Versatility

When looking to sell your products, one of the most critical factors you will look for is design versatility. 

In the ever-growing arena of e-commerce stores, the ability to have your brand stand out ahead of your competitors is crucial to your success. You want to be able to grab a customer's attention with an eye-catching and professionally designed store. 

Shopify has an impressive array of design templates that offer varying degrees of customization. There are over 70 templates, 10 of which are free to use, and they all provide a professional and appealing appearance for your store. 

The free templates may seem a little bland but customizing the color schemes, editing images, and changing some aspects can be done quickly and ensure you can create an attractive store. 

Premium designs are more elegant but do come at a cost. One downside with Shopify's design versatility is that you may need to work with a developer if more extensive design changes are required. The templates contain Liquid templating code, difficult to deal with for most non-programmer individuals.

eBay has a single design template that all stores on the platform are forced to use. While you can customize certain aspects of logos and banners, changes are minimal. Your product listing does offer a bit more versatility, but not enough to easily distinguish you from your competitors.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Features and Benefits

When looking for a platform to start selling from, we often pay attention to the upfront cost and not the features that come with it. 

This hyperfocus on pricing can prove to be a severe mistake in the long run. You may find out that a feature you require a few months down the line and switching platforms or adding a 3rd party integration to compensate can be expensive and time-consuming. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing the limitations and capabilities of a platform before getting started.

That said, Shopify offers various plans, each with its own set of valuable features. Even if you cannot opt for the more expensive plan, all options offer some essential basic features. 

When moving to a higher plan, you can expect to access even more amazing features that will elevate your store. There are apps for just about any requirement you could have, from marketing to customer management. Shopify also has a vast selection of apps available via their app store.

On the other hand, eBay offers the bare essentials. As a marketplace platform, they do not focus on other aspects outside of product listings and basic sales reports. 

There are apps available that can assist with various elements of your eBay listing, but they are only offered through 3rd part websites, and it will take some searching to find the best options for you.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Analytics

Using your store data to analyze your business performance and provide strategies to increase sales is essential to your success. Hence, having analytics built into a platform can save you hours figuring out what’s going wrong or which products are top sellers. 

Shopify provides a dashboard that gives you an overview of critical business insights and analytics. With sales stats, best sellers, and information regarding returning customers, Shopify allows sellers to determine steps to improve sales quickly. 

Shopify Plus users will have pre-defined reports available, but all Shopify users can create custom reports based on the analysis they need regardless of your plan.

While eBay also offers a range of sales-related analytics based on purchases made by customers, these analytics are pretty basic compared to that of Shopify. If you seek an in-depth analysis of your performance and other store-related information, a 3rd party app may be your best choice for eBay.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify

Customer Support

The majority of online sellers probably encounter issues they are unable to fix themselves. Having something go wrong is almost inevitable and the importance of having a team of experts on hand to help you solve your issue cannot be understated. 

Shopify's customer support is available 24/7 through email, live chat, or by phone. Professionalism and willingness to help are at the forefront of Shopify's support team goals. 

Email support for most languages means it doesn't matter which part of the world you are in — someone is always there to help out. Shopify also boasts an extensive library of tutorials and on-demand training, enabling you to take on less complex issues on your own. 

The Shopify community is also active on forums and social media, and can be an excellent resource for helpful information.

eBay's level of support is determined by the plan you have chosen. Basic packages offer live chat and email assistance, but a higher-level subscription can give you access to eBay Concierge.

eBay Concierge enables you access to over-the-phone support from experts with little to no waiting time. eBay also has a large number of support documents and training available. Getting assistance on eBay is reasonably straightforward, and the quality of support is good.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify — for offering top-tier customer support to all customers, regardless of plan

Fulfillment and Shipping

All the branding and marketing in the world renders useless without an effective fulfillment and shipping process to get your products safely to your customers. 

Providing good delivery options decreases the likelihood of customers abandoning products in their cart. Customers who feel that delivery options aren’t reliable are less likely to return and purchase from your store again.

That said, Shopify's fulfillment and shipping options are reliant on your location. If you are in the United States or Canada, then Shopify Shipping is available for you free of charge on any account. International Shipping options for Shopify offer decent discounts based on partnerships with large logistics companies. 

Either way, Shopify's platform allows you to estimate and track shipping costs quickly, ensure products arrive safely, and allow for fast delivery.

eBay has a do-it-yourself approach to shipping, this being your only option. This does have its benefits as it reduces costs you would often pay to 3rd party couriers. Self-shipping also means you can brand packages and labels as you see fit. 

There are still 3rd party options available, and the global shipping plan offered by eBay can make international deliveries more cost-effective. Overall, shipping with eBay is not difficult or expensive.

✏️ Which is better: Tie — both offer decent options

Affordability

Getting your money's worth is vital in every aspect of life, and e-commerce is no different. You want fair pricing with features to match and never want to feel like the investment you made is not worth it. 

Pricing can be the main determining factor for most of us when getting started, as it may take a while before we see a return on our investment. 

Shopify's pricing plans

  • Basic Shopify: $29/m. This includes all the basic features to help you start a new online business.
  • Shopify: $79/m. This includes everything on Basic Shopify, but with gift cards, advanced reports, and more staff accounts. 
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/m. This includes everything on Shopify, but with more staff accounts, access to an advanced report builder, and third-party shipping rates.

Each of these plan tiers has different features included and offers additional transaction fees when making a sale. Getting the essentials for your store is easy on any of the plans above. All are reasonably priced considering what they offer. 

Shopify also offers Shopify Plus. This powerhouse of a plan is designed for large businesses or enterprises with a high turnover. Shopify Plus starts at $2000 per month, and the exact pricing is decided based on your requirements.

A complete list of pricing and the features that come with each plan is available on Shopify's website.

eBay's pricing plans

eBay has a standard charge of 10% on the sales price for each listing, but they also offer the following plans for those looking to set up their store:

  • Starter: $4.95/m. This includes all the basic features to help you get started.
  • Basic: $27.97/m. This includes everything on Starter, but with up more auction-style and fixed pricing listings.
  • Premium: $74.95/m. This includes everything on Basic, but with sourcing insights and a selling manager. 
  • Anchor: $349.95/m. This includes everything on Premium, but with dedicated customer support.
  • Enterprise: $2999.95/year. This includes everything on Premium, but with up to 2,500 auction-style and additional 100,000 fixed pricing listings.

Terms and conditions apply to each plan, and there are cases in which the above figures may not apply. For more specific pricing information and feature inclusion, you can visit eBay’s website.

✏️ Which is better: Shopify 

So which platform is better?

Deciding which of these two e-commerce giants is the best is challenging. Both offer relatively different options, and selecting one can depend on your needs.

Shopify is a fantastic option for those looking to do more than just sell a product — those who want to build a unique brand and seek to grow. Shopify allows you to create a professionally designed space quickly and easily, but you need to do some marketing to get off the ground.

eBay stores are in a marketplace with masses of buyers searching for products, and finding customers can be relatively easy. It can be an excellent platform for those with a small product range and serves well to test demand for your products. 

So in this Shopify vs eBay debate, which platform is better? 

While there is a clear winner when comparing the factors above, it still depends on your business needs and future outlook. eBay would be good if you’re testing new products and creating familiarity with customers. Shopify, on the other hand, would be to build your brand long-term.

We hope that this list of crucial factors and a breakdown of what each platform offers have helped you in your decision-making process. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for e-commerce, and your specific needs will determine the best platform for you.

So which platform is better?

Deciding which of these two e-commerce giants is the best is challenging. Both offer relatively different options, and selecting one can depend on your needs.

Shopify is a fantastic option for those looking to do more than just sell a product — those who want to build a unique brand and seek to grow. Shopify allows you to create a professionally designed space quickly and easily, but you need to do some marketing to get off the ground.

eBay stores are in a marketplace with masses of buyers searching for products, and finding customers can be relatively easy. It can be an excellent platform for those with a small product range and serves well to test demand for your products. 

So in this Shopify vs eBay debate, which platform is better? 

While there is a clear winner when comparing the factors above, it still depends on your business needs and future outlook. eBay would be good if you’re testing new products and creating familiarity with customers. Shopify, on the other hand, would be to build your brand long-term.

We hope that this list of crucial factors and a breakdown of what each platform offers have helped you in your decision-making process. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for e-commerce, and your specific needs will determine the best platform for you.