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Learn How to Sell on eBay: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Reading Time: 9 minutes

eBay is a household name and a giant in the ecommerce realm. In 2019, Americans spent $9.79 billion on the site.

This makes up a significant chunk of the $2 trillion spent on the top 100 ecommerce marketplaces that year. 

With more than 183 million monthly visitors, eBay continues to be one of the web’s top destinations for buying and selling products in 2021. If you’re thinking of selling on eBay, keep reading. In this post, we’ll discuss how to set up your store, how to sell on eBay, and best practices for making sales and finding success on the platform.

How to start an eBay store and sell on the marketplace

You may have questions like: 

  • How to set up an eBay account?
  • How to sell things on eBay?
  • How much does it cost to sell on eBay?

All of these questions will be answered below. Have a look at these detailed steps and learn how to sell on eBay.

1. Decide what to sell and how to do it

Before diving into the mechanics of how to start an eBay store and how to sell items on eBay, it’s worth taking a quick step back to evaluate exactly what you’ll sell. Will you be selling used items or brand new merchandise? Are you planning to carry inventory or partner with a print-on-demand drop shipping company? The answers to these questions will inform your decisions about what type of eBay account to set up and how to list your products.

Maybe you’re planning on clearing out your closet and selling a few things you no longer have use for, or you’re a business owner already selling products on other channels and listing your existing products on eBay. If so, then you already know what to sell on eBay.

However, if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to do a bit of research to find out who your future customers are and what they’re buying on eBay.

If you’re wondering how to find items to sell on eBay, you can:

  • Pay attention to trending topics and products on sites like Pinterest
  • Use a tool like WatchCount to find the most-watched eBay listings
  • Join seller communities on Facebook where members regularly share tips

Choose a fulfillment method

When selling on eBay you can either carry the inventory yourself or partner with a print-on-demand drop shipping service. 

If you choose to manage your inventory yourself, it’s going to be your responsibility to ship products to your customers once they’ve made a purchase.

When you partner with a print-on-demand business, your partner will print each item after you receive an order and ship it to your customer. There is little start-up cost because you don’t have to make any bulk orders or rent extra space  to store your products.

Keep in mind that your print-on-demand or drop shipping partner will charge you for fulfillment and shipping. It’s also important to know that eBay enforces certain policies for print-on-demand sellers and drop shippers. For example, eBay doesn’t allow you to list items you purchase from another retailer that ships directly to the customer. In other words, you can’t list an item on eBay and then fulfill it through marketplaces like Amazon or Alibaba. 

According to eBay, failing to comply with their policies may “result in a range of actions including but not limited to: administratively ending or canceling listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering seller rating, buying or selling restrictions, loss of buyer or seller protections, and account suspension.”

If you’re planning to sell print-on-demand products on eBay, you’ll need to work directly with product suppliers (not marketplaces or retailers) and arrange a way for your vendors to ship items to your customers once they’ve placed an order.

When you partner with a company like Printful, you can integrate directly with eBay. Simply connect your Printful and eBay accounts, sync your products, then enter your shipping and tax details. When the integration is set up, you can start marketing your products and let Printful handle printing and fulfillment.

2. Set up your account and profile

Once you’ve decided what to sell on eBay and how you’re going to do it, you can set up your account on the site. 

There are two types of eBay accounts: personal and business. Personal accounts are for casual sellers or very small businesses, while business accounts are for those who plan to sell regularly on the site. According to a thread on the eBay Community, business accounts “may also be eligible for tax benefits and qualify for discounts on eBay fees.”

Pick the account type that works best for you and set it up. 

First, hit the Register button on eBay.com. If you opt for a personal account, enter your name, email, and password. You can also register through an existing Google, Facebook, or Apple account. Creating a business account requires a bit more info. You’ll need to enter your legal business name, business email, and phone number. 

eBay register page

After registering, take a few minutes to create your eBay profile. Click on your username at the top left corner of the page to go to your profile. From there, click the Edit profile button that lets you add a quick description of yourself or your business. You can also add a cover photo and profile picture. 

eBay edit profile

Add as much information as possible to your profile to help cultivate trust with your customers and communicate credibility, so they’ll have confidence in your store and want to buy from you.

3. List your products

When you’re ready to list your items, click the Sell link at the top left side of the page, and you’ll be taken to the Seller Hub. 

From there, click the Create listing button and click either Single listing or Multiple listing depending on how many listings you want to create. Single listing allows you to add a product listing individually. The Multiple listing is great for those looking into how to sell multiple items on eBay because it allows you to create multiple listings for products with similar information. They might have the same category, listing format, duration, or other similarities. 

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to continue creating your product listing.

Tell eBay what you’re selling

After choosing Single listing or Multiple listing, you’ll be taken to the Create Your Listing page, where you’ll be prompted to enter a UPC, ISBN, part number, or product title.

eBay will use the information you enter to categorize your item. For example, if you’re selling a book, when you type the ISBN, eBay will suggest similar products in its catalog and give you the option to automatically populate the listing details. 

If you’re selling an original product like a t-shirt with your design, enter the product title and select the appropriate category. In the example below, we entered “V-Neck T-Shirt” and chose a category from eBay’s suggestions.

eBay tell us what you're selling dropsown

Enter basic product details

The next step is to enter your listing details. On this page, you’ll be asked to fill out the following fields:

  • Title 
  • Subtitle 
  • Custom label (SKU) 
  • Second category 
  • Variations 
  • UPC
  • Condition
eBay create your listing

Upload photos

Next, upload photos of your item. eBay lets you add up to 12 images. You can upload them or copy them from a web address. The site doesn’t allow photos with extra borders, text, or artwork.

eBay upload photos

Add item specifics

eBay also recommends adding specific details about your product. This could include brand, size, type, color, and more. These details improve your SEO  and help buyers find your items.

eBay item specifics

Read also: eBay SEO: How to Optimize Your Listings and Boost Your Cassini Rankings

Enter the item description

The next step is adding a product description. This is where you can describe what you’re selling and offer complete and accurate information. For best results: 

  • Be concise
  • Use short paragraphs
  • Use eBay’s mobile-friendly checker to make sure your site looks great for all your shoppers
how to sell on eBay

Determine your listing format

Decide how to list and sell your products. You have two options here: auction-style or fixed price. 

When you choose to create an auction, you’ll set a starting price and duration (i.e., 3, 5, 7, or 10 days). The highest bidder at the end of the auction will win the product. Selling with a fixed price is a lot more straightforward. You set a price for your products based on your costs and add that price to the field. 

eBay selling details

Find the right price

Next, you need to make sure that you price your products well so you can make a profit. There’s no one-size-fits-all pricing formula for every product, but here are few factors to consider:

The market and your competitors—an easy way to get an idea of how to price your products is to look at what other sellers are doing. Do an eBay search for items similar to yours and take note of their prices. 

Your costs and margins—if you have a business, then you’re on eBay to make a profit. This means your retail price should cover your costs. For example, if it costs you $10 to make a product, your price point should exceed that.

eBay fees—it’s important to remember that sourcing and manufacturing expenses aren’t the only costs you incur when you sell on eBay. The marketplace charges fees when you list and sell products. 

How much are eBay fees? The short answer is, “it depends.” eBay charges two main fees to sellers on the platform: insertion fees and final value fees. 

Insertion fees are the costs of listing products on eBay. Each month, eBay gives you up to 200 free listings (more if you’re subscribed to eBay Stores). Once you’ve used your insertion fee allowance, eBay will charge you per listing and per category. The fee is $0.35 per listing for most categories. This means that if your item is listed in two categories, you’ll pay an insertion fee for the second category. Insertion fees are non-refundable, so you won’t recoup them even if your item doesn’t sell. 

Final value fee is charged when your item sells. It’s calculated as a percentage of the total sale, including the product price and shipping and handling costs. The final value fee varies per category. According to eBay, most categories have a 10% final value fee with a maximum of $750 per item. 

eBay price

The bottom line: before setting your prices, it’s worth asking, “How much does eBay charge?” Double-check what eBay is going to charge you, and don’t forget to factor these costs into your pricing.

Read also: Beginner’s Guide on How to Price Your Products Online

Set up payment options, sales tax, and returns

When you’re done setting your pricing, it’s time to input the information required for you to get paid. You can do this further down the page in the Payment options section. 

eBay is owned by PayPal, so it’s the default way for you to get paid on the site. Simply tick the PayPal box and enter your email address to receive payments. 

Next, set up your sales tax by entering your state and tax rate. We recommend consulting a tax expert to find out about your obligations.

Then, you’ll set up your return options. Here, you can indicate whether or not you’ll be accepting domestic and international returns.

eBay payment options

Finalize your shipping details

In this section, you’ll enter your shipping details and the shipping fees associated with your listing. eBay gives you the option to charge a flat cost to all buyers or to calculate shipping expenses based on the buyer’s location. 

You’ll also need to indicate your handling time which could range from the same business day to 30 business days. Below that, you’ll enter your package’s type, weight, and dimensions. 

If you’re drop shipping or using print-on-demand, make sure you’ve studied the resources provided by your vendor to determine the best way to handle shipping.

eBay shipping

After you’ve completed and previewed your listing, you can submit it to the site. Keep an eye out for your listing on eBay’s search results, and bear in mind that it can take up to 24 hours for your listing to appear.

4. Make sales

Once your listing is live, shoppers on eBay will be able to view it, and— if all goes well—purchase your products. When this happens, eBay will send you an alert notifying you that your item has been sold. 

The next step is to check on the payment status of the item. According to eBay, the timing and for this step depends on the payment method of your buyer. If your customer uses PayPal, the money will be sent directly to your PayPal account. If the buyer used a credit card, the transaction will first be processed through PayPal’s payment gateway before the funds are added to your PayPal account. 

In any case, you’ll be able to manage your sales and orders in Seller Hub. Simply go to Orders and select “Awaiting payment.” When the payment is received, the order will be marked as “Awaiting shipment,” which is the next step of the eBay selling process. 

eBay manage orders awaiting shipment

5. Ship items

At this stage, your product has been sold and paid for—great! The next step depends on whether you handle your inventory yourself or you’ve partnered up with a POD company. 

If you’re shipping the items yourself, eBay makes this step quite simple, as it lets you print shipping labels directly from the Seller Hub.

Just find the order you need to fulfill and click “Print shipping label.”

eBay status messag

eBay generates a shipping label complete with the barcode and tracking information. The site will also send the tracking details to the buyer, saving you time. All you need to do is print the label, package up your product, and ship it by the indicated deadline. 

If you’re drop shipping or selling print on-demand products, this step will be handled by your supplier. Depending on your vendor, you may be able to connect your eBay with their system so that orders are fulfilled once the sale is completed. Printful allows you to sync your Printful and eBay accounts, so all your orders will be synced and fulfilled automatically.

Ready to sell on eBay?

As you can see, getting started on eBay doesn’t have to be a complicated process and with the right know-how, you can get up and running fairly quickly. eBay is a solid platform for selling various products. I especially recommend it to businesses who want to get in front of more potential customers.

Interested in selling on eBay but don’t want to carry inventory? Printful’s print-on-demand platform seamlessly integrates with eBay so you can sell products without dealing with fulfilment. Get started today!

Francesca is a writer and content marketer specializing in retail, ecommerce, SMB, and technology. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Thought Catalog, and more.

Comments

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey, Mattia, we have a direct integration with eBay and you can have an automatic fulfillment with it. Learn more about our eBay integration here.

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