eBay was one of the first large e-commerce websites on the Internet, and it's still going strong in its quest to be a "perfect market." Its massive popularity means that there's bound to be a user selling something that you want. You can go for it using its easy-to-use auto-bidding feature, haggle over the price by submitting a "best offer," or buy it outright. Plus, you can become a seller as well, and put your wares in front of people who might be willing to take them off your hands.
As much as it tries, though, eBay isn't perfect. Its high fees for sellers mean that they have to compensate with higher prices, so it may be difficult to find a deal unless you choose to compete in auctions. For some items, you won't even get a choice as to how you can purchase them. And items bought through eBay are difficult to return, because of the legal nature of auction bids or price offers and eBay's notoriously hands-off approach to customer service.
If you're looking for an alternative ecommerce website that has lower seller fees, more flexible usability, better customer service, or just looking to try something different, here are 13 popular eBay alternatives.
This former online bookstore started around the same time as eBay, and is recognized as one of the largest eBay competitors. In addition to allowing people to sell their own merchandise, Amazon stocks and sells its own stuff. This means that, in addition to it being easier to cancel or return orders, you can find things on Amazon such as groceries and even unique electronics developed by Amazon itself. Some items are digital, and can be downloaded right onto your computer. On top of all this, Amazon has a fairly good customer service reputation, too, despite being such a large company.
To learn more about Amazon and how to use it, be sure to check out our free course on Amazon here.
Bonanza is an online marketplace like eBay that also allows its users to bid on items, and allows nearly anyone to sell on the website. Bonanza aims to fix some of the issues it sees with the big online shopping websites by allowing sellers to list their products for free, and charging less fees for sales. It also has easy user-to-user instant messaging, and advertises that it’s where you can find “everything but the ordinary,” as its most successful sellers sell unique or hard-to-find things that they won’t list on a website like eBay.
Zazzle is another site similar to eBay where you can list your products online and sell to any registered Zazzle user. The great and unique thing about Zazzle is that you can customize many of the products before you buy them! Imagine finding the perfect funny coffee mug online and being able to add your name to it before it’s shipped to you. Or change the colour of a t-shirt you like. The possibilities are near endless on Zazzle, so even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can turn it into what you were looking for!
This website is a shopping portal for people who don't mind buying wholesale goods straight from Chinese manufacturers. The prices are low, and the buyer protection policies should help you out if an item isn't right when it arrives (offering full or partial refunds, and flexible options). Still, the shipping costs are potentially high (your stuff's coming from China, after all) and, unlike other selling websites, you can't join as a seller unless you live in mainland China.
Once upon a time, Overstock sold leftover items from online marketplaces that didn't quite make it. Now, it's a legitimate alternative to eBay and other big e-commerce players. Not only are its prices competitive on both new and surplus items, but it also has a reputation for offering relatively good customer service. For the socially-conscious buyer, Overstock's "Worldstock" program allows the purchase of handmade goods from artisans worldwide, who receive no less than 60% of the sale price.
LightInTheBox is an online selling site like eBay that offers its users hundreds of thousands of listed products that they can buy at prices that are almost always cheaper than retail. LightInTheBox takes advantage of efficient Chinese manufacturing, cuts out the ‘middle-man,’ and distributes to users globally, saving them countless amounts of money. On LightInTheBox currently, you can buy clothing, electronics, home and garden supplies, wedding apparel, and health and beauty products.
Unlike other websites like eBay, OnlineAuction charges its users a flat monthly (or yearly) subscription fee instead of listing fees. The trade-off for this is that it gives its users greater freedom to not just buy and sell, but to also build relationships with each other and others outside OnlineAuction. This includes contact through an internal email system, talking in chat rooms, reading and posting feedback, and even sending out personalized emails or linking to auctions on a private website -- whatever keeps business flowing! It also has plentiful customer service options.
The two main knocks against O.L.A. are that it has a relatively small user base (just over 100,000) and that, as a buyer, your bidding privileges are restricted to a set amount of money per day without a paid subscription.
CQout (or “Seek You Out”) is an online auction website like eBay with thousands of listings for almost anything you could think of, especially unique items you may not find on eBay. CQout only charges commissions to its sellers, and never charges listing fees – even if the product never sells. Payment of goods is also not released until the buyer receives the goods in perfect condition – so you never have to worry about spending your money and then receiving subpar products.
This British auction website is one of the largest sites like eBay, with about 2 million users. In addition, it has much lower listing fees (plus subscriptions that sellers can buy to eliminate listing fees completely), so it's easier for sellers to offer real bargains. Advanced search functions and listing promotion tools make it easy for you to find what you're looking for, and an on-site resolution system will help you if you run into any problems.
The main criticism of eBid is that some selling options (such as allowing automatic bidding, instant purchases, or premature closing of an auction) are unavailable unless a seller has an upgraded account, so your purchasing options may sometimes be more limited than they are on eBay.
Jet is more of an online shopping tool than a marketplace in and of itself. You have to sign up to use it, which costs $50 per year (though you can get a 3-month free trial), but it connects you with many of the biggest brands and stores that sell goods online. You get fast, free shipping on orders of $35 or more, and you get free return shipping if something is off about one of your purchases. If you like brand-name products and like getting them quickly and conveniently, consider giving Jet a try.
The new name of Buy.com after it was bought by the Rakuten Group from Japan, this eBay alternative has a few notable features. Certain products have video reviews, so you get a better look at what they are, what they do, what condition they're in, and other specifications. Rakuten also has a "Super Points" program, which allows you to earn store credit by buying certain items, and then use that credit towards reducing the cost of future purchases! Similar to eBay (and dissimilar to Amazon), Rakuten simply connects buyers and sellers; it does not stock its own products.
Etsy is an online marketplace like eBay that specializes in crafts, handmade items, and vintage products. In the style of a craft fair, sellers can list all of their products and showcase them on the website, and users can buy them from the independent sellers. Etsy has plenty of reviews you can read from, and rates the sellers so you have an idea of who you’re buying from beforehand. If you’re looking for something unique or handmade – Etsy is your website.
Craigslist is a popular online classified advertisement website where users can list absolutely anything – jobs, personals, room rental or real estate, items for sale (or wanted), resumes, quick gigs, and services are some of the many categories utilized on Craigslist in over 70 countries. Simply go on the website and browse – you don’t even need to sign up. Then contact the poster if you’re interested in what they’re offering. You never know what you’ll find, but Craigslist can be a great alternative for used (or new items) that users simply want (or need) to get rid of, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a bargain.
If you’ve decided you’re done with eBay, consider reading our step-by-step tutorial on how to delete your eBay account. If you’re having problems, you may just need a bit more information on how to contact itscustomer service. If so, check out our article on contacting eBay here.
Have you tried any of these other alternative websites? How good (or bad) was your experience? Are there any other shopping or auction websites that you like to use, and that you think our users would like to know about, too? Let us know in the comments below.
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