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Amazon vs. eBay: The Future of Online Shopping

The future of ecommerce, no matter the platform, is rock solid.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With easy availability of nearly every product in the world, online shopping has made the lives of millions of people more convenient than ever. Previous generations depended on catalogs to order and purchase things you couldn’t grow on a rural farm, and now many of us depend on online shopping to keep up with our busy lives both at home and on the job. Catalogs may be coming obsolete, but ecommerce has continued to evolve over the last few decades.

Guillaume Payen | Getty Images

Before Shopify and Paypal, Amazon and eBay stormed the web in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and grew quickly in popularity. In the first two weeks, Amazon was bringing in more than $20,000 -- which has grown to $100 billion sales a year now -- and in only one year, eBay sold more than $7 million worth of goods through their site, known at the time as AuctionWeb.

Both companies are now international and allow small businesses to sell their products through their website. They gain even more popularity each year, proving that ecommerce is going nowhere but up.

Related: The 'Amazon Effect:' How Ecommerce Will Change in 2019 and Beyond

But, which platform is better when selling online, especially with forecasts and changes in the way people are shopping online? With each platform being unique in their own way, the short answer is that it all depends on what you’re selling. The long answer is all in the numbers and what each has to offer.

Amazon vs eBay: The numbers.

Still an online hub, eBay reported almost $9.6 billion in revenue last year, which is understandable given the fact that they have a 10 percent listing fee. This total is impressive, yet still lower than profits reported in previous years.

Nearly 40 percent of Amazon’s sales comes from third party sellers, with the rest being sold from their own retailers -- they’ve acquired around 44 notable organizations over the years, including WholeFoods and Goodreads. Amazon has reported more than $2 billion each quarter for nearly a year now. The online giant also has smaller selling fees and plans that depend on what and how much you’re selling. Listing with Amazon also means you get tested more on what you’re selling and have many more rules to follow, meaning your customers trust that they’re receiving exactly what they bought.

With their continued innovation and adaptability to changing technology trends, Amazon is quickly taking over the world and when it comes to speed of delivery -- we're talking about 48 hours -- no other company compares. That's especially true now that Amazon has launched AmazonAir. Using drones, some deliveries can reach you within 30 minutes.

Related: Amazon to Offer In-Garage Deliveries

But this doesn’t necessarily mean eBay has anything to fear. eBay is still one of the most popular options for listing and selling items quickly. And because it is an auction site, sellers are often able to get more than the item is actually worth. You also have more creative freedom when it comes to designing your product page. Selling on a platform like eBay is ideal for people who are just getting started in the ecommerce world.

Just over 10 percent of all retail sales are via ecommerce, and sales are projected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2020. This is a small fraction of overall retail sales, but the numbers are growing. Sellbrite has also predicted that in the next few years, over half of all online sales will be made on Amazon, with just under 7 percent of all U.S. retail sales made on eBay.

The future of online shopping.

Founded in 2006, Shopify has become a contender in the ecommerce universe, making more than $100 million in sales in their first three years and hitting $26 billion in sales in 2017. It’s quickly becoming a very popular method for small business owners to sell online, especially in the U.S., growing their profits an average of 70 percent a year.

Part of the reason Shopify has become so popular is due to their “new-ness” to the market, grabbing the attention of millennials, who make up the biggest share of working adults, with their adaptability, ease of use and events such as their “build a business” campaign.

Related: When Selling Online, Make Decisions Based on Data, Not Your Emotions

Shopify also offers two plans that charge little to no transaction fees, instead relying on monthly charges and credit card expenses. Although criticized for these charges, many ecommerce businesses choose Shopify because of it’s amazing selling tools and customer base.

No matter which online host you’re using, being online in some shape or form is still a very wise choice for your business and will give you a huge marketing advantage over any competition that has yet to arrive in the 21st century. It’s 2019, and it’s time to make your mark in the digital world. Choosing to sell on platforms like Amazon, eBay or Shopify will put your product in front of a massive customer base and get you headed in the right direction.

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