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The Complete Guide to Selling on eBay

Threecolts
Emma Ritson
Published
March 7, 2023
Modified
March 26, 2024
The Complete Guide to Selling on eBay Such As These T-shirts

Did you know eBay accounted for $18.2B of Gross Merchandise Volume in Q4 2022? That’s a lot of dollars! There were also 1.7B listings on eBay, along with 132M active buyers, contributing to $2.5B in total revenue for Q4 2022. The hype is real. This much-loved marketplace is a wonderful way to sell and earn extra income, and is ideal for the online seller looking to diversify their income.

It gets even more compelling: in 2022, eBay generated $4.6 billion in positive economic impact through the sale of pre-loved and refurbished goods; saving 1.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions and keeping 73,000 metric tons of waste from going into landfills.

Despite its origins as an auction-based marketplace for used items and collectibles, eBay has undergone a significant transition toward a fixed marketplace. In fact, most of eBay's Gross Merchandise Volume, at 90 percent, now comes from fixed-price and Buy it Now listings. In this way, eBay provides us with the beauty of both worlds—auction-style as well as fixed price model. This opens the door to happy buyers and sellers and better profits.

Do people really buy from eBay?

You betcha; eBay operates globally in over 190 countries, so sellers have the opportunity to reach a vast audience. The majority of eBay buyers—31 percent-reside in the United States and 29 percent in the United Kingdom. Aside from being a flexible e-commerce marketplace model, eBay buyers enjoy cheap prices on not only pre-owned or secondhand items, but across varied categories, especially household products.

Should I consider selling on eBay in 2023?

Why not? The thrill of tapping into the marketplace with millions of opportunities and over 15 different categories alone is a compelling reason to start selling on eBay. Moreover, setting up a seller account and listing your products on eBay is like spreading melted butter on a slice of bread—so easy.  

Further, eBay’s marketplace model allows all types of sellers to take advantage of the platform. You could be a manufacturer of industrial equipment, a small handicraft business, or someone wanting to sell extra stuff lying around your house. There is no set level of success on eBay; it is up to you to determine how successful you will be. What starts as a declutter project might end up becoming a steady side hustle. It might be enough to replace your current income completely!

Before you register yourself as an eBay seller, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced e-commerce vendor, let’s understand the basics of the business model.

Business models on eBay

As we know, eBay is a multi-vendor online marketplace that connects millions of buyers and sellers from all over the globe to buy and sell new or used products, both on the website as well as the mobile app. Here are the categories:

Used items

Everything you can think of, from furniture to Lego, is probably currently listed on eBay.

New items

Any item, new or never used, falls under the New Item category.

Cars

eBay states that about 7.4 unique visitors a month browse their platform looking for cars. To learn more about selling cars on eBay, visit eBay Vehicle Seller Central https://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/vehiclesellercenter.html

Art, antiques and handicrafts

Many art and craft enthusiasts use eBay not only to buy supplies but to fund their interests by selling their own creations.

A hand with buy and sell cards

Collectibles

Rare coins, stamps, limited-edition watches, vintage toys, autographed items, and any other memorabilia. eBay appeals to customers seeking good deals and hard-to-find products.

What value does eBay offer?

Accessibility, customization, risk reduction, and brand/status are the four primary value propositions eBay offers to both buyers and sellers.

Accessibility: eBay is a proven channel through which individuals can provide and obtain items that might be difficult to find due to various challenges.

Customization: eBay enables sellers to personalize their listings through auction-style and fixed-price. They can also specify item conditions in a wide variety of ways as new, used, refurbished, rare, branded, and unbranded. Buyers also get to choose between picking up their packages and having them dropped at an address.

Risk reduction: Money Back Guarantee, Seller Performance Standards, Verified Rights Owner Program, and Feedback Forum are special programs through which eBay ensures the safety and protection of buyers and sellers.

Brand/status: eBay is known to be the second-largest e-commerce marketplace, and has been well-known since its launch.

How to start selling on eBay

As one of the world’s most popular e-commerce websites, eBay sellers must face stiff competition. But don’t you worry! We’ve got you covered with this extensive guide.

Let’s learn how to create a seller account on eBay in simple steps.

Step 1: Create an account

First of all, let’s find out if you are eligible to sell on eBay by verifying your registered address in any of the countries, regions, or overseas territories in the list provided by eBay.

After determining your eligibility, you can create a seller account by registering either a personal account or a business account. If you want to sell the extra stuff lying in your attic, creating a personal account is probably the best option for you. If you have a registered business, you can set up an official business seller account that comes with added perks.

Step 2: Create a USER ID

Once your account has been created, you’ll be asked to create a USER ID. Your ID will be displayed to every user so choose one that is professional and reflects what your business stands for.

Step 3: Set an automatic payment method

After creating your User ID, you’ll be prompted to set up an automatic payment method which includes PayPal, checking account, or a credit/debit card.

To set up a new or existing payment method, follow the simple steps as listed by eBay.

Step 4: Create a listing

Creating a listing is the first step in getting your item in front of buyers. But, before you create one, let’s get you familiar with the basics to prevent any troubles in the future.

You have two options to list an item for sale on eBay: the quick listing tool or the advanced listing form. For your first listing, the quick listing tool may be the better choice as it offers pricing and shipping guidance based on previous sales of similar items. However, if you plan on frequently selling on eBay or have a large inventory, it may be more beneficial to use the advanced listing form due to its additional features.

Quick listing tool: Using the quick listing tool, you can easily identify your product by entering descriptive words or its UPC or ISBN code in the search bar. eBay will then suggest listings based on previously sold similar items.

Once you find the listing that matches your product, you can edit the existing fields to customize it with information that best suits your product.

Advanced listing tool: With the advanced tool, you can identify your product by typing relevant keywords into the search bar and clicking on "Get started." If you're unsure which keywords to use, you can click "Browse categories" and select the most fitting category and subcategories for your item.

For instance, if you're selling a book on eBay, you can select its genre.

Once you’ve selected the genre, a form will be generated that must fill in about your items. We have listed a few best practices ahead to help you create a flawless listing.

  • Use a title that includes the most important, compelling information about the item.
  • Fill in product identifiers, such as UPCs and ISBNs.
  • Provide item specifics, including size, make, model, and color.
  • Include up to 12 high-quality photos taken in a well-lit area against a white background.
  • Write a clear and concise item description that answers any questions a buyer may have, using simple formatting and bullet points for ease of reading.

Listing types

eBay originally focused on auction-style sales for used items during its initial setup. Nonetheless, fixed price or 'Buy It Now' listings account for 88 percent of eBay's products sold. This implies that you set a price and ship an item as soon as an order is placed.

Pros of auction listing

·       Fast moving inventory.

·       Great for rare and collectible items.

·       Prices skyrocket on auctions on valuable items.

Pros of fixed price listing

·       More automation.

·       Best offer feature.

·       Immediate payment guaranteed.

If you’re not sure which listing type to use, we recommend that you begin by understanding the pros and cons of both listing types.

A gift box wrapped up

Selling cost and other fees

eBay will automatically deduct your fees and other selling costs from your sales proceeds. However, you must have a valid payment method set up to cover these costs in case your sales proceeds do not cover them. Valid payment methods include a debit or credit card, or a linked payout bank account. If your funds are insufficient, eBay will charge your on-file payment method within 14 days and may combine the amounts you owe into a single charge.

eBay has a detailed guide on how they charge the sellers for selling costs and other fees.

There are different types of optional and mandatory fees charged by eBay. There are two that all the sellers must be aware of:

Insertion fee: Before you sell an item on eBay, you will need to pay a listing fee. Each month, sellers can list up to 50 items for free. For any additional items, eBay will charge a flat fee of 35 cents per listing. However, if you opt for a monthly store subscription, this fee can be lowered.

Find value fee: When you successfully sell an item, eBay will charge a percentage of the final sale price. The exact percentage is determined by the product category under which your item was listed. Generally, the fee is 12.35 percent for most categories.

eBay selling policies

If you violate eBay's policies, your listings may receive less visibility, and, in severe cases, your account may be suspended. Although some rules may seem self-evident, others may be less apparent. To avoid these issues, we suggest reviewing eBay's selling policies before beginning to sell. Below are some significant mistakes to steer clear of:

  • Don’t sell banned items, such as drugs, alcohol, counterfeit products, or recalled items.
  • Don’t use product images taken from other websites.
  • Don’t try to close any sales outside of the eBay platform.
  • Avoid canceling customer orders.
  • Avoid late shipments.
  • Don’t ignore buyer complaints.
  • Don’t list contact information, external links, or misleading information in listings.

If your eBay seller account gets suspended, you can reinstate your account depending on the reason why it was suspended in the first place. To understand more about why your account can get suspended and how it can be reinstated, we recommend going through eBay Export’s step-by-step guide thoroughly.

Step 5: Setting prices for your products

Securing your first sale is essential as it helps establish your reputation and boosts your visibility in eBay's search rankings. Potential buyers often prioritize pricing and may sort search results from the least to the most expensive, which means that a lower-priced item could improve your ranking. Conversely, higher-priced items may appear lower in search results. It's crucial to price your item as low as possible, but not suspiciously low, to avoid discouraging buyers.

Although pricing your items lower may reduce your profit margin, it is a strategic move. Lower-priced items often sell faster, which leads to increased sales and higher placement in eBay's search results. As you gain traction and establish yourself as a seller on eBay, you can gradually raise your prices while retaining a prime position in search rankings.

Step 6: Packaging and shipping your orders

After a sale on eBay, sellers need to purchase a shipping label, enter tracking details, and package the item for shipping. The process is best done from a computer unless your phone can connect to a printer. eBay provides a simple system to purchase shipping labels by entering the weight and dimensions of the package already provided in the listing. It is important to have packing supplies on hand to ensure prompt order fulfillment, which customers love.

Effective packaging can enhance customer satisfaction and frequently encourages buyers to leave positive feedback for sellers. However, it is essential that the product inside matches the description in the listing.

We’ve summarized the supplies you’ll need to fulfill your eBay orders below:

  • Shipping boxes and/or envelopes can be purchased from Walmart, Target, Home Depot, or office supply stores.
  • USPS provides free shipping boxes at their post office.
  • Only use USPS boxes when shipping with USPS.
  • Adhesive shipping label paper makes it easy to print, peel, and stick labels on packages.
  • UPS offers free shipping labels.
  • Packing tape should be kept on hand.
  • Protective inserts and padding like packing paper or bubble wrap should be used to ensure items arrive in the same condition they were sold.
  • Packing materials from received packages can be reused.
  • A package scale is necessary to ensure the correct package weight for accurate shipping fees
Lipsticks for sale onlne

Become an advanced eBay Seller

Here are some useful tips to become an advanced eBay seller:

1.       Fulfill the order immediately

Ship every product as soon as the payment is verified so as to maintain promptness. The wait time between “confirmation” and “shipped out” can feel long for a buyer.

In case you do not receive payment, don’t hang in between for more than a couple of days. Act proactively by contacting the buyer to understand what went wrong and where. If the buyer does not respond to the message or invoice, report the unpaid item to eBay.

2.       Establish trust at every point of sale

Trust is an integral part of growing any business. If you are a beginner with no to less transactional history, the trust factor becomes highly crucial. There are a few ways by which you can quickly establish trust:

  • Fill out all forms correctly and add a profile photo or a brand logo.
  • Add original pictures and videos of all the products in your listings. If you are uploading a used item, upload pictures of scratches or dents that accurately show the product.
  • Display product reviews.
  • Follow a smart pricing strategy by starting out with alower price margin and, eventually, raising it for optimum profit.

3.       Promote your listings

Creating a promoted listing is a step towards becoming an experienced seller on eBay.

Once you select the item you want to promote on eBay, the platform will generate an ad automatically.

The seller needs to determine the ad rate, which is the percentage of the item price that they are willing to pay for promotion. The ad rate can be set as low as one percent.

The ad rate helps eBay determine if they should promote your listing when a buyer searches for the item or a similar one. The higher the ad rate, the more likely eBay will promote your listing.

eBay provides information on ad rate trends by country and category for every type of seller with an Above Standard or Top-Rated Seller.

4.       Offer 30-day returns and timely returns

Nothing builds trust like return and refund policies—a free mail return voucher is like a chef’s kiss for a buyer. Listings with a 30-day free return policy see a 17 percent boost in conversions, and listings with a 60-day free return policy see a whopping 34 percent increase in conversions.

5.       Join social media seller groups

The platform is constantly evolving to stay on par with the ongoing technological innovation in the world of e-commerce. This means that you must stay up to date with changing algorithms and buying trends. There are quite a few groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

You can implement social media marketing strategies to promote your products.

6.       Request ratings and feedback from your buyer

By providing your buyers with excellent service, you can increase your confidence in requesting their feedback, which will enhance your credibility as a seller. Positive feedback can also help you learn from any mistakes and avoid future negative experiences. Additionally, requesting feedback presents an opportunity for you to interact with the buyer and address any questions they may have.

Now you're ready to sell

Once you understand the basics on eBay, you can experiment and find new ways to make your listings more competitive. To identify areas where you can try new ideas, analyze your account data with a guide to tracking and applying metrics for better growth. You can also experiment with shipping options, such as offering free shipping, to see if it helps your sales. Don't hesitate to conduct your own tests to determine what makes your listings most effective.

And that’s it!

Selling on eBay is a great option for those who want to start an e-commerce business or earn additional income by decluttering their homes. Due to its low entry barrier, it is an awesome platform for both entrepreneurs and newbies. With the help of this guide, you can start selling on eBay immediately and start seeing some cash flowing in. Happy selling!

About us

Threecolts acquires, launches, and grows e-commerce software with a robust suite of offerings such as SellerRunning, SmartRepricer, SellerBench, Tactical Arbitrage, Bindwise, RefundSniper, ChannelReply, and FeedbackWhiz.

Reach out to SellerBench for help with shipment reconciliation and FBA fee reimbursements; it's the most robust profit recovery platform for Amazon and Walmart. Because 99% of FBA sellers are owed money. Get your free audit today.

If you are more interested in the #1 Amazon Arbitrage software, try TacticalArbitrage. With over 6,000 users, TacticalArbitrage will help you discover profitable products to resell on Amazon.

SellerRunning is an entirely new way of selling on Amazon. Discover a global network of Amazon marketplaces for seamless listing, smart pricing strategies and increased profitability. Outdo the competition and win the Buy Box with prices that are automatically updated according to your rules.

Bindwise will help you to identify costly issues with your Amazon seller accounts. Receive instant Bindwise Alerts about everything related to your store on Amazon.

RefundSniper is an international Amazon reimbursement service that runs audits on both Vendor Central and Seller Central. Find out how much you are owed by Amazon today.

Try effortless, instant and automated repricing today with SmartRepricer. It's the world's #1 repricer to safely automate your Amazon pricing, win the Buy Box, and increase your sales.

If you're looking for a way to streamline multi-platform e-commerce support, ChannelReply has you covered. Cut your customer response time in half by having all your customer information in one hub.

FeedbackWhiz is an Amazon sellers management software that helps merchants scale their business by automating email campaigns, improving seller feedback, getting more product reviews, monitoring listings, and analyzing profit and accounting data.