You’ve heard of Shopify, and you’ve heard of eBay, but which one should you choose when starting your online store?
Simply put, if you want to build a large online store, and manage your own website, Shopify is the ideal choice. It comes with a huge range of ecommerce features, and it’s perfect if you plan to grow your store in the future.
If you just want to focus on selling, and don’t want to deal with the upkeep of a site, eBay might be better for you. Currently, eBay has 187 million users worldwide – and there are some very good reasons why it’s so popular!
In this comparison review, we’ll use our years of experience and put both platforms under the microscope, uncovering all the ins and outs to help you make a decision. Plus, you’ll find out exactly what types of online selling each is best suited for.
When it comes to choosing between Shopify and eBay, it’s important to understand one thing: although they’re both ecommerce platforms, they offer very different things.
Shopify is a purpose-built ecommerce platform that allows you to create your very own online store from the ground up. It gives you all the tools to create a brand that you can manage yourself.
When you get started with Shopify, you’ll have a blank canvas, and it’ll be up to you to put in all of the design work. It also means you’re in charge of uploading and shipping your products, as well as marketing them, too.
On the other hand, eBay is an online marketplace. Whereas Shopify is similar to owning your own brick-and-mortar building, eBay is the digital equivalent of leasing a stall in a public forum. As well as being able to sell unique and original items, eBay is also well-known for its many secondhand stores and auction-like bidding process.
Shopify gives you a ton of creative freedom to apply your own branding to your website, but your eBay store will always be hosted on the eBay platform, and therefore will always come with the eBay branding.
That’s not to say you won’t have any customization potential at all. Paying a monthly subscription will allow you to open an official eBay Shop. This gives your store some extra selling features, and more customizability – although it still remains limited.
Want to Find Out More?
- Our Shopify Review will give you a more in-depth overview of what you can expect from this ecommerce king.
- If you want to see what it’s like to actually build a store with Shopify, check out our How Does Shopify Work? guide.
- Selling on eBay might sound complicated, but we demystify the process in our step-by-step guide on How to Sell on eBay.
Shopify Pros and Cons
| Easy Set-Up |
Shopify has a straightforward onboarding process that will help you find your way around the dashboard quickly.
| Liquid Programming Language Only Used by Shopify |
Rather than using HTML, Shopify has invented its own programming language, so you’ll need to learn it if you want to make changes to your template’s coding.
| Attractive Template Designs and Increased Customization |
There are tons of paid and free themes to choose from, all of which can be customized to suit your brand.
| Apps Can Increase Monthly Costs |
Apps aren’t included in Shopify’s pricing plans, so you’ll have to pay extra to use them.
| Extensive Ecommerce Features |
Shopify provides tools to help you with everything from shipping to inventory management.
| No Free Plan Available |
Shopify only offers a 14-day free trial.
| Huge App Store |
With over 3,000 apps to choose from, Shopify has plenty of ways to expand your store’s functionality.
| Responsible For Driving Your Own Traffic |
Marketing is in your hands, so it’s up to you to attract visitors to your site.
| 24/7 Support, Including Access to Shopify Experts |
Shopify provides plenty of support if you ever find yourself stuck.
eBay Pros and Cons
| Access to a Large Existing Marketplace Audience |
eBay already has a huge audience, boosting the exposure of your products.
| Highly Competitive Market |
There are lots of vendors selling the same thing, and sometimes at a lower price.
| Easy to Get Started |
Getting started is as easy as creating an account and uploading your products!
| Difficult to Distinguish Yourself From the Crowd |
It’s hard to make your brand stand out due to the lack of customization on offer.
| Ability to Create a Unique Storefront |
eBay Shops allow you to create a storefront that’s specific to your brand.
| Limited Customization, Business, and Ecommerce Tools |
eBay has limited functionality, meaning it’s not the best for store growth.
| Safeguarded by Seller Protections |
As an eBay seller, you benefit from extra protection that you won’t get with Shopify.
| Harder to Market Your Store Outside of eBay |
The lack of marketing tools makes it harder to reach new audiences outside of the eBay marketplace.
Which one is more straightforward?
eBay is easier to use than Shopify
If you’re worried that building an online store might be a complex and lengthy process, we’re here to set your fears to rest. Both Shopify and eBay are perfect if you’re looking for a pain-free way to get started in the ecommerce world.
When you register with eBay, you can choose to create either a Personal or a Business account. We recommend a Business account for anyone selling a large number of items, otherwise, the Personal account should be fine.
No matter which you pick, you’ll be asked a series of questions, before being directed to your dashboard. Be prepared to fill in a few more details if you’re setting up a Business account – they’ll need some extra information to verify you and your business!
Once you’ve been directed to your dashboard, eBay will immediately invite you to list your first product. Even better, it’ll take you through the process step-by-step, prompting you to enter all the relevant information when it’s needed. Listing products takes less than two minutes, and as soon as you hit that final ‘List It’ button, your online store is all set and ready to go!
Shopify’s setup is a bit more advanced. complex. Don’t worry though – it’s not difficult! There are just a few more steps involved. Like eBay, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your business when you register. Once you’re in the Shopify dashboard, however, you can use the useful task sheet to tick your way through the setup process.
Unlike eBay, you’ll be building a store from scratch, so it’s not quite as simple as just adding your products. You’ll also have to design and create your website. Shopify has a frontend editor that takes care of this, allowing you to change your color scheme and font, as well as add content and pictures that reflect your brand.
When you want to add products, you’ll need to navigate back to the dashboard and use the left-hand toolbar to upload your items. Although fairly self-explanatory, it might take you a while to find your way around, but it’s important to remember that Shopify needs a more time-consuming process in order to create a unique and fully branded website.
Which builder gives you better bang for your buck?
Shopify is better value for money than eBay
When picking an ecommerce platform, overall cost and value for money are some of the first things that people look at. After all, there’s no point falling head over heels for a certain ecommerce solution, and then realizing that it’s way outside of your budget. Luckily, both Shopify and eBay offer a range of plans that should appeal to everyone.
Shopify has three premium plans to choose from: Basic Shopify ($29 per month), Shopify ($79 per month), and Advanced Shopify ($299 per month). Take a look at the features each plan offers in the table below:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify|| Advanced Shopify |
|$29 per month||$79 per month||$299 per month|
|Unlimited Products||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Staff Accounts||2||5|| 15 |
|Multi-channel Integration||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Discount Codes||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Abandoned Cart Recovery||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Gift Cards||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Reports||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Online Credit Card Rates||2.9% + 30¢ USD||2.6% + 30¢ USD|| 2.4% + 30¢ USD |
|Transaction Fee (Without Shopify Payments)||2%||1%|| 0.5% |
|Third-Party Calculated Shipping Rates at Checkout||❌||❌|| ✔️ |
|Shipping Discount||Up to 77%||Up to 88%|| Up to 88% |
|Shipping Labels||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|USPS Priority Mail Cubic Pricing||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Sell in 133 Currencies||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|International Domains||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
|International Pricing||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
Even Shopify’s cheapest plan comes with an impressive array of ecommerce features to help you power everything from a small starter shop to a large, complex superstore. Plus, this list only scratches the surface. Thanks to Shopify’s massive app store, you can use apps to expand your functionality even further!
In comparison, eBay’s offering looks a little uninspiring – however, the good thing about it is that you don’t need to sign up for an eBay Store subscription if you don’t want to. Instead, you can register as a private seller, on a personal account.
If you do choose to upgrade to an eBay Store subscription, you’ll have five plans to choose from.
You can choose to pay for your store on a monthly or yearly basis, but if you’re looking to save some cash, you’ll pay less in the long run if you commit to a year when you first sign up.
Below, you can see what features come included with each plan:
|Starter||Basic||Premium||Anchor|| Enterprise |
|Monthly Cost||$7.95||$27.95||$74.95||$349.95||Not Available|
|Yearly Cost (per month)||$4.95||$21.95||$59.95||$299.95||$2999.95|
|Insertion fee credits for auction-style items||❌||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Promotions Manager||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Markdown Manager||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Subscriber Discounts||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Store Homepage||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Selling Manager Pro||$15.99 per month||$15.99 per month||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Terapeak Sourcing Insights||❌||✔️||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Dedicated Customer Support||❌||❌||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
Although eBay offers a cheaper Starter plan than Shopify, the features you get with it are pretty limited, and won’t be enough if you want to grow your business. Outside of this, though, both platforms come with similar costs.
However, it’s still hard to ignore the fact that with Shopify, you just get more for your money in terms of features, marketing tools, and store customization. eBay’s plans are targeted towards sellers who favor marketplace selling over a dedicated online store.
Which one has the most payment options and the best transaction fees?
Shopify has more payment options and better transaction fees
As a dedicated ecommerce platform, Shopify offers a whole range of ways for your customers to pay you. It supports over 100 different payment gateways, including big names such as PayPal, Stripe, and Google Pay, as well as smaller, more obscure options, too.
Shopify’s own payment gateway is aptly called Shopify Payments, and there are a bunch of reasons to use it – not least because you won’t need to pay any transaction fees to have your payments processed. If you don’t use Shopify Payments, you’ll have to cover these additional costs yourself from your sales. Below, you can see how much you’ll have to pay:
| Plan || Shopify Payments Online Transaction fees || Shopify Payments In-Person Transaction fees |
| Shopify Basic |
($29 per month)
| 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction || 2.7% + 0¢ per transaction |
| Shopify Basic |
($29 per month)
| 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction || 2.5% + 0¢ per transaction |
| Advanced Shopify |
($299 per month)
| 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction || 2.4% + 0¢ per transaction |
Historically, eBay’s payments have all been managed by PayPal, however, this changed in June 2021. Since then, eBay has introduced its own managed payments solutions, where payments are transferred directly into your bank account, rather than through PayPal first.
One benefit of this is that buyers can now choose between a number of different payment methods, rather than being restricted to PayPal. Payments can now be made via:
- American Express
- PayPal Credit
- Apple Pay (Mobile-only)
- Google Pay (Mobile-only)
However, there are some drawbacks, too. You’ll still need to pay a number of fees for each order. The exact amount depends on the category your listing fits into, and include:
- Insertion fees
- Final value fee (plus, those on shipping)
- Good ‘Til Canceled listings fee
- Payment processing if you don’t use eBay Payments
Additionally, you’ll need to wait a while for the money to enter your bank. Previously, PayPal provided a same-day transfer, but now it could take up to two days for funds to become available, and then a further few days before they appear in your bank account.
The only good thing is that you can decide how often you’d like payouts to happen, choosing between a daily or weekly release of funds. This just means that your money will be held by eBay until your designated payout day.
Since June, eBay has made managed payment compulsory, so there’s no way for you to opt out, as you can with Shopify Payments. Vendors who’d rather not use it have no choice but to pack up shop and go elsewhere.
Which one has better customizability?
Shopify has better design flexibility
Let’s get one thing out of the way: design customization is pretty poor on eBay.
No matter what plan you choose, your store will always be hosted on the eBay platform, meaning you won’t be able to get away from its logo and branding. As we mentioned earlier, on eBay your store is just one stall amongst thousands in a very crowded marketplace. There’s only so much you can do to make it your own.
That’s not to say there aren’t any customization tools at all. If you’re a paying eBay store subscriber, you’ll be able to add a header image and tweak the color scheme to fit your branding, but that’s about it.
The options are even less if you’re a personal seller. Changing your store profile pictures is about the only thing you can do.
Shopify, on the other hand, provides a blank canvas. There’s a ton of different ways to build a store that reflects your brand and products. It boasts over 100 stylish templates, 10 of which are free and come in a variety of color options.
You can also filter and search for themes that are particularly suited to your industry. For example, if you run a beauty business, and use videos to showcase your items, there are themes available that come with product videos included.
Don’t panic if you pick a theme that doesn’t have everything you need, though – you can always add it in later!
Although they look great, Shopify’s paid themes are expensive, and a good one can cost up to $200. Don’t worry if you can’t afford one right now – Shopify allows you to switch your theme at any time. We recommend choosing a free one to start with, and then upgrade as your business grows.
Once you’ve picked your theme, Shopify’s editor gives you the tools to make it your own. Here, you can rearrange the layout, change the color scheme, and add your own content and images. Shopify even comes with an impressive range of stock images, just in case you don’t have any of your own yet!
Unlike eBay, Shopify gives you a huge amount of creative control and freedom, so you can create your ideal online store.
Which one has the best selling functionality?
Shopify has the best tools for selling online
When it comes to online stores, selling is the name of the game, so having a comprehensive suite of ecommerce tools is vital.
As a marketplace that specializes in secondhand auctions, eBay’s selling features are pretty basic, although there are some awesome tools in there that will help to elevate your store to the next level, such as:
- A shopping cart function
- An advanced search with filters
- Product reviews
- A wish list
- Product favorites
If you’re an eBay Stores subscriber, you’ll also be able to access the Promotions and Markdown Manager, both of which allow you to set up discounts and sales on your products in order to boost your sales.
If you want more comprehensive ecommerce control, you’ll need to upgrade to eBay’s Selling Manager Pro. It allows you to manage your products more effectively, save store listing templates, and track your inventory. You’ll also be able to view sales reports, and automatically schedule listings or relist unsold items.
Selling Manager Pro is free if you’re on the Premium, Anchor, or Enterprise plan, otherwise, it’ll cost you an extra $15.99 per month.
A lot of what Selling Manager Pro offers for a fee, Shopify gives you as part of your monthly plan. You’ll be able to sell an unlimited number of products, and you’ll also have access to Shopify’s powerful inventory manager. That’s not all either. Here are just a few of the ecommerce tools Shopify offers:
- Multi-channel selling across social media platforms and marketplaces (including eBay!)
- Discount codes
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Gift cards
- Shipping labels
- Third-party shipping rates and exclusive discounts for Shopify users
- Fraud analysis
- In-person POS (Point of Sale) app
- Global selling in 133 different currencies
With all of these features at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that Shopify’s backend editor and interface have the flexibility to host a variety of different store types. Everything is purposefully designed to make selling easier, right from uploading your products all the way to shipping them off.
Plus, if there’s anything missing, you can always use Shopify’s massive app store to fill the gaps. But beware – as much as we love this flexibility, lots of the premium apps cost extra, which can hike your monthly cost up dramatically!
Which one has the best potential for growth?
Shopify is better for growth and expansion
Increasing traffic to your online store is one of the key ingredients for selling success. But visitors won’t flood in without a little encouragement – this is where marketing and SEO tools shine. Below, we’ll look at what both eBay and Shopify offer to help increase your potential customers and skyrocket your sales.
This is awesome when it comes to tracking your growth and progress, and it’s particularly useful for figuring out which areas of your store need a helping hand. If you want even more data, you can also integrate Google Analytics, too.
eBay, on the other hand, doesn’t have such a comprehensive setup. It allows you to access seller performance reports, traffic and sales reports, as well as listing analytics. These are good for giving a broad overview, but you don’t get the same level of depth as you do with Shopify.
One tool that we do like, though, is eBay’s Terapeak Product Research Insights tool. This is available to eBay store subscribers, and allows you to see how products similar to your own are performing across the whole of the eBay marketplace.
This means you’ll be able to check out how your competitors are performing. It’ll also show you which products are popular right now, highlighting certain niches you might want to expand into – excellent for potential growth!
On eBay, social media integrations are more limited. You can only connect properly with your Facebook account, but each listing should come with Twitter and Pinterest buttons, too. This means you can share your items with just one click.
There’s only so much you can do with the templates on offer, and eBay has some very strict rules about what you can and can’t include.
Plus, you might find it tricky to build your list. You won’t be able to offer an incentive to encourage users to sign up, and seeing as you’re competing against all the other marketplace stores, you’re likely to get lost in the crowd. Even if you do manage to build a good number of subscribers, eBay doesn’t offer any email analytics, so you won’t be able to monitor how your newsletters perform.
Shopify offers much greater email marketing freedom. Thanks to its app store, you can connect with a number of email marketing platforms including Shopify’s own Shopify Emails. Not only does this give you greater creative freedom, but you’ll also have access to a suite of accompanying analytics.
Be careful though – eBay’s email marketing comes as part of your monthly subscription, but you might have to pay a fee if you’re adding a premium app to your Shopify store!
Outside of this though, eBay doesn’t come with a ton of SEO tools to help you climb the more traditional search engine rankings.
Shopify, on the other hand, does. It’s equipped with all the vital SEO tools, including custom URLs, headers, meta titles, and descriptions, as well as image alt text. It even gives you helpful SEO tips when you’re uploading your products!
Which builder is best for getting you out of a sticky situation?
Shopify provides the best help and support
Shopify aces this. It offers multiple ways for you to contact its agents, and also provides a few options if you’d rather not speak to someone. Likewise, eBay has a comprehensive help center, as well as offering chatbot and live chat assistance. However, there’s no easily accessible email support, and it’s generally a bit harder to find the right answers than it is on Shopify.
Below, you’ll see what help and support methods Shopify and eBay both offer:
|Shopify|| ✔️ 24/7 phone support |
✔️ Social media support
✔️ 24/7 live chat support
✔️ Community forum
✔️ Email support
✔️ Help center
✔️ Video tutorials
✔️ Advanced specialist support
|eBay|| ✔️ 24/7 chatbot support |
✔️ Live chat support
✔️ 24/7 phone support
✔️ Community forum
✔️ Help center
❌ Email support
The good news is that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to use one of these platforms over the other. You can use both at the same time!
This means that you can have a fully customized, professional-looking online store with Shopify, whilst also using eBay as an additional sales channel and expanding your audience. All you need to do is head to the Shopify app store and download the eBay app to get started.
Once downloaded, Shopify will lead you through the integration process. There’s even an option to import your products all at once.
Selling across both platforms is the ideal solution for anyone looking to grow their business and expand their brand. eBay comes with a huge ready-made audience, which is great if you want to boost your traffic and get more exposure.
What’s more, using the two together means you can work around some of the restrictions that come from just selling on eBay.
However, it might not be the best option for everyone. Managing your own store requires a lot of commitment, so if you only want to sell a few items on the side, it might be better to just stick with eBay. We only recommend opting for a multi-channel method if you’re ready to grow your store and take it to the next level.
Although both Shopify and eBay allow you to create an online store and sell products, fundamentally, they’re very different platforms. Shopify is a fully-formed ecommerce solution, whereas eBay is a marketplace that specializes in second-hand sales.
We’ve covered all of their key differences in this article, but if you want a reminder, take a look at the table below:
| Getting Started and Ease of Use |
|Because of its more developed customization options, building your Shopify store takes longer and comes with a bit of a learning curve thanks to its two editors.||eBay offers a straightforward signup process, and guides you through listing your products so you can get your store up and running in no time.|
| Pricing and Value for Money |
|Shopify offers the best value for money when you consider the number of features you get for the amount you pay. It comes with three different pricing plans, so there’s something for every budget.||eBay offers five pricing plans, however they aren’t as feature-rich as Shopify’s. You’ll have everything you need for marketplace selling, but not much to help you with store growth.|
| Payment Options & Transaction Fees |
|Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways, meaning there’ll be an option for everyone. Plus, if you use Shopify Payments, you won’t need to pay any transaction fees either.||eBay allows customers to pay using a smaller set of options, and you’ll also have to contend with quite a few fees being deducted from your overall profits.|
| Design Flexibility |
|Shopify has a whole library of themes to choose from, and a comprehensive frontend editor, so you can design a store that reflects your business and brand.||Design customization is limited on eBay. Store subscribers will be able to create a semi-branded storefront, but even this comes with lots of restrictions.|
| Ecommerce Tools and Features |
|As a purpose-built ecommerce platform, Shopify has a huge range of ecommerce tools to help you build, grow, and manage your store. From your inventory to shipping, Shopify has you covered.||eBay’s ecommerce features are pretty modest. You’ll have to manage your own inventory and if you want anything more advanced, you’ll have to pay extra for Selling Manager Pro.|
| Marketing Tools and Features |
|Analytics, social media integrations, and SEO – Shopify has it all. And whatever it doesn’t have, you can find in its massive app store!||Sadly, eBay’s marketing tools aren’t as robust as Shopify’s. Its analytics lack depth, and its email marketing is very restrictive.|
| Help and Support |
|Shopify offers a large number of ways for you to get in touch if you have an issue. Plus, its help center is very comprehensive and even comes with video tutorials.||Getting help on eBay can be complicated. It has a chatbot, but speaking to a human is more difficult. It does have a help center, though, featuring lots of great articles.|
We recommend Shopify if:
- You want to grow and expand your store
- You want full creative control over your store’s branding and layout
- You want a better set of ecommerce and marketing features
We recommend eBay if:
- You only want to manage a small to medium-sized store
- You don’t want or need much creative control over your store’s design
- You want to experiment and dip your toe into the ecommerce world
Overall, we recommend Shopify as the best option out of the two. It’ll give you much more scope to grow and your store will look more professional in the long run. Plus, if you really want to use eBay, you can integrate it with your store via Shopify’s app store!
eBay is typically better for smaller sellers, or first-timers who are looking to try out the ecommerce scene.
It’s also a good starting point if you do have plans to begin your own business. It’s natural not to want to put all your eggs into one basket, so eBay is a good way to test the water and figure out if the ecommerce life is for you.
That’s not to say you won’t have to invest some time into both options, though. Running an online store is a commitment, no matter how big it is. If you’re prepared for this though, getting started on your ecommerce journey couldn’t be easier.