Amazon FBA vs. eBay | What You CAN Sell

Recently I asked veteran Amazon sellers via Facebook what differences they found between selling on eBay and Amazon FBA. There were ten areas identified as noticeably different between the two platforms:


For each of the next nine weeks I'll discuss one of these areas and try to dispel some of the myths that surround selling on

The most important element of an online selling platform is what you can sell.  I got my e-commerce selling start on eBay in 2011. My niche was toys and kid's books. I trolled yard sales and thrift stores for my inventory. This sounds like almost every eBayer I know, and you can still use those sources (and more) to find inventory to sell on However, the guidelines of what is acceptable are different.

New is New

First, on eBay something that is in an unopened box is considered new even if there is some damage to the packaging or shrink wrap. On Amazon new is new, no if, ands, or buts about it; if it isn't new in the package (as it was sent from the manufacturer) with NO shelf wear or damage then it can't be listed as NEW on Amazon. There are categories where it is acceptable to list an item as used or collectible, however that is an entirely different topic that I'll cover at another time.



Barcodes are Required

Another difference between the platforms is that all items sold on must have a Universal Product Code (UPC). According to, an item with a UPC has a “bar code that indicates price, product classification, etc., and can be read electronically…” using a scanner or other similar device. A bar code is a series of lines of varying width, printed, as on a container or product, that can be read by an optical scanner to determine charges for purchases, destinations for letters, etc.


On eBay, you can sell anything  (such as a rockstar's dirty gym sock) without a UPC code. If a new-in-package item doesn’t have a UPC, this doesn’t bar it from being sold on Amazon. The seller would just need to assign a UPC to it, which is easier than it sounds. The first step is to buy a UPC (which is just the 12 digit number not the barcode itself) then use it when listing the product on Amazon. This is only when adding products that are NOT already part of the Amazon catalog. I’ll go over this in a more detailed post later, for now let's just get the basics down.

In general, the way many sellers look at the two platforms is simple: if an item is new it sells on Amazon and if it is used list it on eBay. While this is not the case 100% of the time it is true in many cases.

You can get more details on specific products and categories that you can or can not sell on Amazon here and here.

Next Step

Now that you have more information about what can be sold on, take a few minutes to

1) Look through your closet, bookshelf, pantry and/or DVD collection to find NEW items with UPCs

2) Enter the 12 digit UPC into the Amazon search bar in your web browser

3) Review the results. How much is that dust-collecting item selling for on Did you find money laying around in your house?

4) Find a box or bin to add your finds too. This will be the start of your first Amazon shipment. Be sure to share what you found in the comments below!

What are you doing TODAY to move your business forward?



Interested in selling on Amazon with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or know someone who is? Not sure where to start?

Amazon FBA Launch Pad is the most current and comprehensive step-by-step guide to LAUNCH and GROW your Amazon FBA business from novice to startup success without spending a fortune. To find out more information click HERE.

If you are looking for more specialized one-on-one direction to grow your business and or manage your life balance, I highly recommend heading over here and checking out the individualized coaching available from the amazing  Kristin Ostrander.

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