eBay.com 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 eBay's 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 auction sites like eBay that have lower seller fees (and, thus, possibly lower prices), try Webstore.com or eBid.com. Or, if more flexible usability and customer service are your priorities when looking for eBay alternatives, check out Overstock.com or eBay's perennial rival Amazon.com.
Whether you're looking to straight-up buy stuff online or try to score a deal in an online auction, here are 10 popular alternatives to eBay.
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.
If you'd like to learn more about Amazon and how to use it, check out our Amazon course!
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.
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.
Webstore bills itself as the "Robin Hood" of online marketplaces. Feeling that charging fees to users (like most other online marketplaces similar to eBay do) is unfair to small-scale businesses looking to turn even the slightest of profits, Webstore relies on advertising and corporate sponsorships for revenue instead. With no fees (except those for processing payments), sellers don't have to overcompensate on the prices of items, so you can usually find stuff at lower prices here.
Webstore also has similar buying and selling tools as eBay, such as automatic bidding and search-by-seller. Its main downsides are that it has a small user base (only about 200,000 people) and that it won't directly intervene should you have a dispute with a buyer or seller (you have to go through PayPal instead), putting the onus on you to be proactive in avoiding problems.
This British auction website is one of the largest auction sites similar to eBay, with about 2 million users. In addition, like Webstore, 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.
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.
WalMart is the largest company in the world, known for its chains of supermarkets around the globe. However, it now allows shopping online, too. Items that you buy on Wal-Mart.com can then be delivered to your door, or picked up at a nearby brick-and-mortar WalMart store. WalMart prides itself on its low prices.
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 platforms like eBay, you can't join as a seller unless you live in mainland China.
Our AliExpress course is a step-by-step guide on how to order from this website.
A popular discount shopping company in the U.S., Target now has a website for buying the products that they stock online. Similar to Wal-Mart.com, items bought on Target.com can be picked up at a nearby Target store, or else delivered to you by courier service. Target's emphasis is more on fashionable products, as opposed to Wal-Mart's focus on low prices.
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.
Have you tried any of these websites that are similar to eBay? 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.
Also, if you like one of these websites and want to abandon eBay in favour of it, we'll show you how to delete your eBay account in our next tutorial.
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