How to Get Started Selling on eBay

Marketplaces 101
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How to Get Started Selling on eBay

If you are anything like me, you’re hesitant to sell items on eBay. Being primarily a Poshmark Seller, I am intimidated by the complicated listing, payment, and shipping processes. Plus, the interface… just isn’t pretty. Before I started selling on eBay, I just didn’t understand why it was so complicated.

Now I get it. It is not that complicated; it just offers that many selections to maximize visibility and profit! 

eBay is the largest and most lucrative online reselling marketplace with 182 million users worldwide. In 2020, eBay reported $34 billion in sales in just the United States!

 

Fun Fact: The most expensive item ever sold on eBay was a megayacht which was purchased for $168 million dollars!  

In 2020, eBay reported having more active users than all of the other major reselling platforms, combined!  It is time to start selling on eBay to grow your reselling business. Here is a basic overview and a step-by-step on the first steps to get started!

 

1. Don’t Be Intimidated

eBay is notorious for being the most complex and difficult platform to use. Many newbies are anxious to start listing, and even seasoned resellers are hesitant to start cross-listing on the platform. eBay is the largest global ecommerce reselling platform with the greatest exposure and audience for your inventory. Today is the right time to start selling on eBay. You’ve got this!

Change your perspective: The intricate processes on eBay are actually just opportunities disguised as obstacles! While the requirements are more demanding, they are infinitely more rewarding, with ample opportunities for subscriptions, services, exposure, and an array of business tools to support sales and growth!


2. Do Your Research

eBay is not all that difficult to use once you become familiar with the platform, which takes both research and experience. Here is a little overview, but it is not intended to be comprehensive.

 

Reseller Tip: While I recommend doing some primary research prior to posting, you do not need to know it all to get started- Just do it!  

 

There is no doubt that listing on eBay is arduous with multifarious requirements and a technical and intricate interface. eBay is more complicated than all of the other reselling platforms, but with the challenges comes great opportunities including:

  • A Huge Audience (182 Million Users)
  • Global Shipping
  • A Broad Range of Categories
  • Lower Selling Fees
  • Decent Customer Service
  • Seller Resources and Analytics
  • A Mobile Application
  • Different Tiers of Membership (Subscriptions)
  • Various Shipping Options
  • The Ability to Promote Listings
  • Different Listing Types (Auctions or Fixed Price)

Reseller Tip: The eBay app is awesome, but to use all the features available, check out the website on a desktop or laptop. The desktop website provides extra tools such as making batch offers to watchers or batch editing your listings all at once.

 

You can sell (almost) anything on eBay, from clothing to cars and even parcels of land. The permitted items list is so expansive, that it is easier to list what you can’t sell on eBay. eBay is a global platform, and you can easily sell items to buyers all over the world through the Global Shipping Program.

 

In comparison to many of the other resale platforms, eBay offers competitive selling fees. Here is an overview of fees, credits, and invoices on eBay. eBay’s selling fees are dependent upon your membership, your store status (subscription), the item, and the payment method, but they might include an insertion fee, a final value fee, and any elective promotional fees. Insertion fees are synonymous with “listing fees”. When you sign up for eBay, you will receive an allocation of “zero insertion fee listings” per month; for basic users (without a store subscription), you can list up to 250 free items each month.

 

Reseller Tip: Sign up for managed payments to simplify the payment process and reduce fees.

 

Final Value Fees are simply the fees which you pay at the time of sale; on every other platform, we call these “fees”. Final value fees are dependent upon the item, the sale price, the shipping service, and the sales tax. Final value fees are approximately ten percent (for most categories), but do vary. Here is a chart which illustrates the final value fees associated with different categories of items.  If you choose to pay for extra exposure, eBay provides sellers with promotional opportunities such as adding a subtitle to your listing and listing an item in multiple categories.

 

Reseller Tip: Promote your listings! You can promote all of your listings and will only actually have to pay the extra promoted listing fee if the item sells as a direct result of the promotion (if the buyer actually clicks on the sponsored feature itself).

 

As with all platforms, it is important to learn the rules before you start selling. Be sure to carefully review eBay’s terms of service and seller protection information.

 

It will also be beneficial to take a look at the seller resources and tools provided to members to grow your eBay business. Use your Seller Hub and activity reports to view analytics, statistics, promotion opportunities, among other insights and resources for eBay sellers. eBay also offers customer service that is impressive in comparison to other reselling platforms.

        

eBay offers many different listing and shipping options as well! While the extensive selections may seem overwhelming, it is amazing to have so many options to help facilitate quick sales for amazing prices. Listings can be sold for a fixed price or auction style, with additional options such as “Buy it Now”, “Best Offer”, and “Good Til Canceled” (for store subscriptions). Here is an excellent resource to explore the different options and strategize about which might be best for your items!

Reseller Tip: Selling items via auction is a great way to maximize profit for your items, as prospective buyers may bid up the price! Don’t worry, you can set a threshold minimum to ensure that you are yielding your lowest acceptable profit!

 

eBay also offers countless shipping services and providers, to accommodate your location, types of items, volume, budget, and delivery time. In modern Amazon Prime Days, buyers want their items shipped free, and they want them shipped fast! With so many options, you can select which works best for you and your eBay business. You can also give your buyer the option to choose which service they would like, at their own expense!

 

Reseller Tip: For anything under 1lb, I always recommend USPS First Class Mail

 

3. List, List, List!

List your inventory to eBay! You can sell anything there, and it takes only seconds to cross-list with Vendoo! Even if you are still figuring it out, start posting now! You will learn and invest more in the platform as you start to make sales! The sales will inspire you to keep learning and growing.

 

Fun Fact: Unlike other reselling platforms which compress photographs, eBay preserves the integrity of images! eBay also offers a “hover over feature” for easy zooming!

 

Like all platforms, consistency is key when selling on eBay. It is crucial to list regularly, and of course to feature amazing photographs and descriptions. eBay listings are like no other, as they truly encompass every last detail! eBay’s description requirements epitomize the level of detail which we should all strive to include in our listings on every reselling platform.

 

Reseller Tip: For faster listing, establish eBay Business Policies, where you can save your shipping, return, and payment preferences. These custom preferences are saved as “business policies” and become your default settings when drafting listings, so you do not have to make all of these selections each time.

 

While all e-commerce platforms may require a seller to enter an item’s category, type, brand, style, color and size, eBay requires quite a bit more. eBay’s item specifics include everything from material content to product identifiers. While listing on eBay is certainly time consuming, all of the required and optional fields are little dropdowns of opportunity! As these fields are searchable, providing all of the information will generate the most exposure, interest, and purchases! The more detail, the better.

Reseller Tip: Unlike some of the other reselling platforms, eBay sellers recommend putting an item’s size right in the title.  

 

You may also like: How to Create Product Listings That Sell on eBay and Poshmark

 

4. Provide Amazing Customer Service

This is a given, right? You do not need to read a blog to know that you should always provide excellent service to your buyers. I am sure you are already delivering accurate descriptions, timely responses to questions and offers, offering lightning-fast shipping, always being polite and professional (and never petty). Good, keep it up.

 

 eBay is much more business-like than some of the other reselling platforms which more closely resemble social media accounts. eBay provides the largest global e-commerce platform, the most exposure and visibility, and the largest array of business tools and resources, and an advanced customer service and seller protection team. With eBay power, comes seller responsibility. To be frank, eBay does not tolerate some of the “bad behaviors” which one might get away with elsewhere.

 

Reseller Tip: You can dispute buyer feedback on eBay, which is one of the many ways you are protected as a seller.

 

Failing to follow the rules, listing prohibited items, cancelling sales, excessive return requests for items not as described (“INADS”), and bad reviews will all jeopardize your eBay business. While mistakes happen, take extra care to ensure that they don’t.   “Defects” can affect your seller score, your membership fees, your listing limits, and your account standing. eBay is arguably the strictest platform when it comes to monitoring seller conduct. Don’t be nervous about this- be thankful and proud to maintain a good standing and successful business with the largest e-commerce platform in the world!

 

Reseller Tip: If you are cross-listing your inventory, remove your item from eBay immediately after it sells somewhere else, as cancelling an eBay sale is harmful for your eBay account. I use Vendoo, which removes my item from all other platforms when I mark it as sold!

 

5. Select Your Account Type & Subscription

Once you are a bit more comfortable with eBay, consider upgrading your subscription! There are many types of accounts and subscription tiers on eBay which offer various benefits to you as a reseller including avoiding insertion fees, promoting items, shipping supplies and discounts, and other business tools and benefits.  eBay store subscriptions range from “Starter” which is an entry-level option for “occasional sellers’ to “Enterprise” for professionals with large catalogs and a high volume. There are additional options for everywhere in between, which are illustrated in detail here.  

 

While eBay offers a basic account, it is limited. Most eBay sellers concede that you need a store to be very successful on the platform. According to eBay, “If you currently sell less than 50 items each month, you probably don’t need a store subscription.” However, as your eBay business grows, consider which store subscription is right for you.

 

The benefits of having an eBay store include:

  • Lower (or no) insertion fees
  • Discounts on final value fees
  • Promotional offers and the ability to offer a sale
  • Free shipping supplies
  • Discounts of business services
  • Seller insights and business tools
  • Enhanced customer service

Reseller Tip: Click here to help determine which store subscription would be best for your reselling business.

 

eBay is definitely… a lot. Selling on eBay is a lot of work, with a lot of selections and options. With this, comes a lot of exposure and a lot of room to grow your reselling business! What are your best eBay tips? Share with us below!

 

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