E-shopping: Which is better - ebay or Amazon?

Hockey Sunday 28/February/2016 18:51 PM
By: Times News Service
E-shopping: Which is better - ebay or Amazon?

Which is your favourite shopping hub? Pundits and critics rate Amazon higher than ebay, but that’s largely from the sellers’ perspective. Here we are pitting each against the other on various crucial parameters, which also includes a buyer’s perspective. Let’s see who emerges as the winner.
Site Interface
The ebay has a very user-friendly design. All things fall in a proper manner, with all the elements catching the user’s eye. All the relevant information – from user account to product categories – is neatly organised and easily accessible. The pages are not overcrowded, and the blue highlighted tone is quite pleasant to the eye.
It’s just the opposite on Amazon. The user interface is quite hectic, with an overdose of scrambled information. For a new user, it could be quite a confusing experience going through the site. The bright orange highlight design also somewhat pinches the eye. However, Amazon scores above ebay in the product search feature. Putting even incorrect or misspelled name brings about the relevant product results. On ebay, you have to put in the exact name, or else, the search engine would display no results.
Ebay: 4/5
Amazon: 3/5
Product Information
It’s ebay again which is ahead, with detailed and precise information of the product. From the seller ratings, to product location, to shipping details and product condition: everything is clearly mentioned in an organised pattern, moving from one aspect to the other, such that nothing misses the eye. The product information is highly precise, including the shipping charges.
On Amazon its mostly a mess. You have to look out for pieces of info here and there. Even to check seller’s ratings, you need to click on the seller’s name and then it will open in a separate window. The most annoying however, that the users may find, is the absence of the product condition description (whether it is new, used, or new with defects and so on), and a common generalised product description page for any particular product from multiple sellers, with all the sellers mentioned on the right side of the page. Ebay on the other hand has exclusive pages from different sellers for any particular product, which makes the product description more exclusive of that product. The description layout is also pretty much confusing on Amazon.
The shipping info is a disaster on Amazon, which announces ‘free shipping’ irrespective of the buyer’s location, while the fact is that the free shipping is in most cases available only within the USA. Much to the annoyance of buyer, the truth emerges only when the billing comes inclusive of shipping charges in case of international orders, while finalising the purchase, resulting in unnecessary waste of effort on part of the buyer, who may then finally cancel the order.
On ebay the shipping info is exact, automatically syncing with the buyer’s location mentioned in the address, and specifying the calculated shipping rates accordingly.
Ebay: 4.5/5
Amazon: 2.5/5
Payment Options
The ebay has Paypal, that’s a knockout punch to Amazon, and then ebay accepts all the payment methods that Amazon does including net banking, and credit and debit cards. However, certain country specific Amazon pages like Amazon.in don’t accept many international cards. With ebay payment is never a hassle. Amazon might be on par with ebay in payment option in the USA with many more options including emi (ebay also offers the same), but for international buyers, ebay is more smooth. Both offer buyer money protection.
Ebay: 4/5
Amazon: 3/5
Amazon leaves ebay behind by a mile in shipping. While ebay does not have its own shipping channel, leaving the shipping always and entirely on the seller, Amazon has its own Amazon shipping for products that fall under ‘Amazon fulfilled’ category.
While the shipping is rarely delayed beyond the specified date on ebay, Amazon delivers the product much before the stipulated date of delivery. Also, on ebay, often sellers from certain countries like China, Hong Kong, and certain European countries, post a very long delivery date, and may take even a month to deliver sometimes.
However, ebay having a more interactive interface, it allows buyers to negotiate or request with the seller directly in case the seller is not shipping to the buyer’s country: a feature absent on Amazon.
Ebay: 3/5
Amazon: 4/5
Dispute Resolution
Both ebay and Amazon facilitate returns in case the buyer is not satisfied with the purchase; however ebay provides significantly more options for proper buyer grievance addressal.
The biggest advantage on ebay is that the customer has the option of directly contacting the seller and ebay regarding a dispute.
The procedure is highly interactive, with ebay assisting the buyer step by step, while also explaining what, when, and how to do, and what would be the possible outcome.
Amazon does not have the option of contacting the seller or even Amazon itself directly. All the buyer can do is go through the quite artificial procedure having very limited options; mostly only refund.
Another big feature of ebay grievance addressal is that if the wrong product is sent to the buyer, and the seller doesn’t respond quickly within the stipulated time to the buyer’s request, the buyer gets to keep the product and is fully reimbursed as well. Same happens if the product does not reach the buyer by the stipulated deadline, the buyer can instantly demand full refund, and may also keep the product when it arrives.
Ebay: 4/5
Amazon: 2/5
Both the sites are unmatched in their product diversity and excellent customer service. Though Amazon is rated above ebay by most, but it is only because they take the local US operations into consideration more. Also, almost all the reviews and opinions are created from the sellers’ perspective. For international buyers, ebay is more convenient with a pleasing user interface, more accurate details, and easy payment options.
TOO Verdict: With Paypal assurance, and a very detailed dispute resolution centre, shopping is a more carefree jolly-go-round experience on ebay.