How to Successfully Sell on eBay As a Beginner (2021)

Your Shopify store is your business, your brand, and a key source of your income, so its success is important. That’s why your products need to be seen by new shoppers who can be turned into new buyers. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Luckily, you have an opportunity to reach a global audience of more than 100 million active buyers on eBay, a global ecommerce marketplace.

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The opportunity of selling on eBay

Online marketplaces are a common sales channel for today’s brands. In 2020, the top online marketplaces sold nearly $2.7 trillion worth of goods, making up 62% of global ecommerce sales. 

Selling on eBay can get your brand in front of over 159 million active buyers worldwide, with 77% of website traffic coming from the US. A recent study also found that 80% of Amazon sellers currently sell on eBay or have sold on eBay in the past.

Marketplaces like eBay give you exposure, but take a few things in return:

    1. You don’t control the shopping experience. Sellers must use eBay’s listing pages to sell. They are the same for everyone, with no opportunities to customize and make it your own. 
    2. The focus is on the products. Marketplaces exist to give shoppers many different product choices, quickly and easily. Your brand and its customer experience comes second. 
    3. Fees. Marketplaces like eBay do the marketing for you, but at a cost. The platform takes a 12.55% cut from each sale, on average, plus a $.30 order fee. With your own online store, you keep all the profits. 

EBay also offers sellers protection against fraud and scams. You’ll be backed by the company’s policies, transaction monitoring, and dedicated seller-protection team. These features are in place to support you, help increase your conversion rates, and reduce your customer service costs. 

You’re probably still thinking about the 12.55%, right? Don’t sweat it. Marketplaces and branded stores can work together to build brand awareness and increase your bottom line. This reduces your dependency on one channel to make sales and gives shoppers more chances to discover and buy your products.

Shopify and eBay have worked together to make it easier for you to sell on both channels. With the eBay Shopify app, you can create listings, control inventory, and manage orders, all in your Shopify dashboard. 

Let’s take a look at how it works. 

How to sell on eBay as a beginner, step by step 

1. Decide if eBay is for you

The first step to selling on eBay is knowing if it’s right for your brand. There is no point in investing time and money into eBay if your products likely won’t sell. 

EBay shoppers come primarily from the US, with 18% of consumers saying they shopped on eBay in 2020. Similar to Amazon, you can sell a variety of items on eBay, from shoes and jewelry to popcorn-scented pillows (yes, it’s a thing).

At time of writing, eBay’s best product categories are:

  • Jewelry and watches
  • Computers and tablets
  • Cellphones and accessories
  • Video games and consoles
  • Clothing, shoes, and accessories
  • Cameras and photos
  • Health and beauty
  • Music, DVDs, and movies
  • Automotive

EBay is mainly a platform for resellers. You’ll find a mix of amateur sellers and PowerSellers, which are professionals that spend time managing auctions, purchasing items, packaging products, and shipping goods. 

2. Create an eBay account

Sounds like eBay is a good fit? Great! Now it’s time to open an account. If you’re a registered business (sole proprietor, LLC, etc.), you can open a business account on the registration page. You’ll need to provide additional information, like your business name, type of business, and address to sign up. 

  1. Go to the Registration page.
  2. Enter your name and email address.
  3. Choose a password.
  4. Select Create an account.

create an account

After you create an account, you can open up your eBay store. Start by entering a username and filling out your business information. 

ebay sign up

After clicking Continue, you’ll land on eBay’s homepage. 

3. Set up your eBay Store 

Next, you’ll want to subscribe to an eBay Store. Subscribing to an eBay Store gives you discounted fees and more free listings per month, plus additional tools to promote your business on the platform. 

You’ll need to link a checking account for payouts to subscribe. You’ll also want to understand what eBay Store features you’ll need to compare packages. Once you subscribe, you can name your eBay Store and start listing. 

Ideally, your eBay Store name should match your brand. If you still need a brand name, find ideas with Shopify’s business name generator. Choose a name that reflects the products you’re selling and isn’t in use by another company.

4. Connect your Shopify store to your eBay account

The eBay Shopify app helps sellers manage their business through one cloud-based interface. You can sync your products, manage your eBay orders, and increase sales, effortlessly.

Shopify allows us to have a very professional-looking site and link it to other sales channels, especially eBay, where we absolutely crushed it right around Thanksgiving up until March.

Here are some things you can do with the eBay Shopify app:

  • Consolidate your inventory and order management fluidly between Shopify and eBay
  • Grow your brand footprint on eBay’s global marketplaces
  • Manage your eBay business policies from inside Shopify
  • Communicate with customers using built-in eBay messaging
  • Showcase your products to millions of buyers on the web and mobile

Note: The eBay sales channel is currently available for eBay.com (US), eBay.ca (Canada) eBay.com.au (Australia), eBay.co.uk (United Kingdom), and eBay.de (Germany).

It’s simple to merge your Shopify business onto eBay. EBay’s Shopify partnership gives your business instant exposure to the eBay online marketplace and mobile apps.

Linking eBay and Shopify

1. Install the eBay App from the Shopify App Store. Head to apps.shopify.com/ebay. Click Add app.

shopify app store

2. Log in with your Shopify store information and follow the prompts.
In your Shopify admin dashboard, click Add channel

log in to shop store

    3. And you’re all set up! Next, you’ll need to sync eBay settings to your Shopify store. 

    ebay details

    Setting up the eBay sales channel

    Find the eBay channel under the Sales Channels menu to configure the apps settings. 

    1. Click eBay.
    2. Select Account.
    3. Choose Business Policies.

    business policies

    Click Create Policy to create shipping, payment, and return policies. If you have existing policies, select Force Sync from eBay to import them. 

    ebay sales channel

    Note: EBay sellers used to be paid through a PayPal account. EBay announced in 2020 that it would no longer use PayPal as a payment method. EBay now sends payments directly to your bank account through its own payment system.

    Next, you’ll sync settings. Under the eBay Sales Channel menu, click the Sync Settings option. 

    sync settings

    Then configure your settings, including Inventory Sync Preferences, Primary Categories, Default Package Size, Inventory Location, and eBay Tax Table. 

    Then click Save settings to complete. 

    5. List items

    To list products on eBay, you’ll need inventory in your Shopify store. If you’re an active seller, you’re good to go. If you’re new, add products to your store

    Once you have products ready to go, select Listings under the eBay Sales Channel menu. Click Add listing.

    add listing

    Configure the following settings for your eBay listing:

    • Product info such as title and description
    • Category and details
    • Quantity, price, weight, and other options
    • Package settings

    For the last two settings, you can leave the field blank to use Shopify product values. 

    When you’re ready, click Save and publish

    More support

    • For more details on setting up your integration, check out the extensive support articles offered by both eBay and Shopify.

    The costs of selling on eBay

    Seller fees on eBay are straightforward. You pay two platform fees:

    ebay fees

    • Insertion fee, or listing fee, which you pay when listing a product on eBay. This fee applies only if you list more than 250 products per month. It’s free for casual sellers to list.
    • Final value fee, or the portion of sales eBay keeps. If your item sells, you’ll pay around 12.55% to eBay, plus a $.30 per order. 

    The fees you pay depend on the number of listings you have, the product category you’re selling in, and whether you have an eBay Store subscription. 

    ebay fees

    The final value fee is based on the total amount of the sale, including the cost of the item, shipping, sales tax, and other applicable fees. 

    Here’s a breakdown by common product categories.

    Strategies for eBay success

    Potential buyers will first experience your products through your listings, so it’s important to make a good impression. In this chapter, we’ll cover some key best practices proven to increase sales success on eBay. Let’s get started!

    Optimize your listings

    Shoppers search for products on eBay using keywords. EBay assists buyers in finding merchandise that meets their search criteria so they can quickly decide which products they want to purchase.

    Including relevant keywords and product identifiers ensures your listings will appear whenever shoppers search for products you sell.

    product listing

    You can edit the title and description for each of your eBay listings from within Shopify. Do this carefully—searches on eBay commonly look something like this:

    • “men’s nike air yeezy solar red shoes”
    • “32gb apple iphone 7s unlocked”
    • “red taekwondo rebreakable practice board for kids”
    • “large brown macrame flower pot hangers”

    To ensure your listings appear in relevant shopper searches, include the following types of keywords in your listing titles, then set them as eBay identifiers in the Publish view:

    • Brand (“Nike,” “Apple”)
    • Model (“Air Yeezy,” “iPhone”)
    • Product description (“shoes,” “rebreakable practice board”)
    • Color (“red,” “rainbow,” “holographic”)
    • Size (“women’s size 10,” “extra wide,” “35″ inseam”)

    product listing 2

    Add additional information about your products to your listing descriptions. Anticipate the things shoppers need to know:

    • What are the dimensions or measurements of this product?
    • What size should I buy?
    • What accessories are included?
    • Is it a prestige product?

    The more you answer questions like these, the less shoppers will hesitate.You’ll also spend less time answering queries from shoppers. Remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and make your product information easy to digest by providing it in a bulleted list, not in long paragraphs.

    Your goal is to ensure your products appear in search results whenever they are relevant, and that any shoppers clicking on and viewing your listings find enough persuasive product information to purchase from you.

    Position yourself competitively on price and service

    As you begin to expand your eBay product line, take a close look at whether you’re competitive in the following areas:

    Price

    EBay’s marketplace is vast, with sellers offering the same product across a range of prices. Buyers make purchasing decisions based on a variety of factors, including selection, shipping costs, and sale terms, but a competitive price is still the most important factor.

    You can choose one of two selling options in eBay:

    • The online auction. Auctions last from one to 10 days and can sometimes result in a higher price for your product. It motivates buyers to compete with each other. You just need to list a starting price to spark interest. Auction-style listings are ideal for items in high demand with limited supply, such as rare sports collectibles. They are also helpful if you don’t know what price to sell at. 
    • Buy It Now. Also known as fixed-price listings. This lets a buyer pay for something and have it shipped immediately. They don’t have to wait for an auction to end. Buy It Now is ideal for items people buy on impulse or where there is more supply than demand. 

    EBay accepts the following payment methods at checkout:

    • PayPal
    • PayPal Credit
    • Credit card or debit card
    • Apple Pay
    • Google Pay
    • Payment upon pickup
    • Escrow (select categories only)

    Shipping costs and speed

    Today’s buyers expect free shipping. To appeal to more buyers, consider incorporating this cost into your price tag. Drive even more sales by offering expedited shipping options.

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    Return and exchange policies

    Offering 30-day returns is a standard eBay best practice. Though other options are available, this policy is the most consistent with eBay buyer expectations. Offering free returns can further reassure customers about shopping with you, leading to even more sales.

    All of this information is presented prominently to eBay shoppers—there is no “fine print”—so work hard to align your listings to the platform’s expectations in order to be competitive.

    Be friendly, responsive, and professional at all times

    EBay shoppers are invited to rate their experience with sellers by leaving feedback. Ensure you receive positive feedback for every transaction by:

    • Making sure your products meet the expectations you’ve set
    • Responding quickly and professionally to buyer questions or concerns
    • Shipping purchases quickly and efficiently
    • Setting fair shipping and handling prices

    An accumulation of positive feedback can drive sales and build shopper trust; repeated instances of negative feedback damage your reputation and may lead to reduced selling limits or undesirable repercussions from eBay. Sellers with lots of negative feedback also appear less frequently in search results.

    ebay starz

    Always provide a positive shopper experience, great customer service, and buyer support, and respond promptly to eBay messages you receive in your Shopify account. Over time, your hard work will pay off with more sales.

    Differentiating your brand on eBay

    You’ve published your inventory on eBay and optimized your listings, and shoppers are buying from you. You’re officially an eBay seller. 

    Let’s look at a few more strategies you can employ to boost sales.

    Open and customize an eBay Store

    EBay Store subscribers can access a number of useful tools to help distinguish their products. Personalizing your eBay profile and seller ID are small, easy ways to elevate your brand professionally. EBay Store subscribers enjoy:

    • Lower selling fees
    • Increased visibility in search results
    • Discounts on eBay-branded shipping supplies
    • Control over their own branded or unbranded store pages

    ebay store page

    Opening an eBay Store is a good way to expand your branded eBay presence, especially if you establish a look and feel consistent between your store and your individual product listings.

    Deliver a branded shipping experience

    You can build trust with your customers and encourage repeat business by professionally branding your fulfillment experience. Keep these best practices in mind to become the “seller of choice” for your customers:

    • Deliver purchases promptly.
    • Avoid canceling orders whenever possible.
    • Consider investing in branded shipping supplies to give your order a professional look.
    • Deliver a clean, orderly, impressive fulfillment experience.
    • Request honest feedback from your buyers.

    Follow these practices and you’ll be rewarded with shoppers that look to your listings first in their search results or even bookmark your eBay store and come to you directly for future purchases.

    Use Promoted Listings and Promotions Manager

    Promoted Listings is a simple tool used by eBay sellers to get their products noticed by more people. It improves your placement in search to reach more buyers and drive more clicks. Many sellers say they’ve seen a 30% increase in visibility by using Promoted Listings. All eBay Store subscribers are eligible for this service.

    Sellers using Promoted Listings pay only for the service when an item sells. Promoted Listings users also enjoy access to additional tracking tools to help them adjust campaigns and maximize sales.

    promotions manager

    Promotions Manager helps you create even more unique offers that move inventory and encourage purchases. Through Promotions Manager you can provide:

    • Discounts based on order size
    • Buy one, get one free offers
    • Sale events
    • Shipping discounts
    • Codeless coupons

    Sellers using Promotions Manager have seen sales increase by as much as 11%.

    EBay Guaranteed Delivery

    EBay Guaranteed Delivery (EGD) is a program offering shoppers guaranteed rapid delivery times without impacting participating sellers.

    For listings to qualify for EGD, sellers must offer same-day or one-day handling. EBay calculates the delivery date, then provides a guarantee to shoppers that their purchase will arrive on time. Research shows that shoppers buy first from merchants who deliver their orders in the three days or less promised by EGD.

    To qualify for EGD, sellers must complete a minimum of 100 transactions per year and have a late-shipment rate of less than 5%. Participating sellers are required to provide accurate handling times and upload on-time tracking information for their buyers.

    The boost in visibility and sales offered by EGD easily offsets the additional work and promptness requirements.

    Global Shipping Program

    EBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP) is an easy way to put your products in front of shoppers around the world. 

    Sellers using GSP don’t have to worry about any of the logistical details involved in shipping globally. Instead, when an eligible item is purchased from abroad, sellers ship the parcel to eBay’s global shipping center, located in Kentucky, and eBay professionals do the rest, forwarding your delivery to its international destination and completing all required paperwork.

    Shoppers love this option, not only because there are no surprise delivery fees, but also because clear end-to-end tracking details are provided for all shipments, letting them keep an eye on their order throughout its entire journey.

    EBay sellers can opt individual listings into the Global Shipping Program or include it in their shipping policy by default, ensuring international shoppers receive quick and easy delivery of all listed items.

    What not to do on eBay

    So far, we’ve looked at what to do to be a successful eBay seller. But there also are a few things you should be sure not to do. Many of these actions can result in selling penalties and can create bad experiences for eBay shoppers, so avoid them whenever possible.

    EBay works hard to attract buyers onto its platform and make sure they’re able to find and easily purchase exactly what they’re looking for. These rules are designed specifically to ensure the eBay customer experience is top notch and the selling experience for merchants is fair.

    Don’t include contact information or external links in listings

    Avoid providing details that can be used to contact you outside of eBay. Buyers and sellers can only be protected when they transact through eBay, so eBay disallows the following:

    • Including your phone number in listings or eBay messages
    • Including your email address in listings or eBay messages
    • Including your business address in listings or eBay messages
    • Posting any of the above anywhere else on eBay or in listing images
    • Encouraging shoppers to contact you outside of eBay messages
    • Using your phone number, website, or email address as your eBay ID

    In most cases, think of your entire eBay presence, including your item descriptions, as an eBay-only zone. Listings containing links to external websites or addresses may automatically be removed and your selling privileges could be suspended.

    Don’t create misleading listings or listing titles

    Include appropriate keywords that apply to your products in your listing titles. Avoid using irrelevant keywords in an attempt to appear more frequently in eBay search. Shoppers don’t click on listings for products they didn’t intend to search for, and engaging in this practice—often called “keyword spamming”—can reduce your eBay search visibility over time.

    Represent your products accurately and completely in your descriptions and images, and include any applicable caveats or negatives. Provide your buyers with the data they need to make an informed purchase. Leave them satisfied and happy to provide positive feedback about their experience.

    Don’t neglect customer service requests

    Respond promptly to buyer refund and return requests. Putting off (or ignoring) a request can be detrimental to your business—your visibility could suffer or you may experience selling restrictions.

    It can be frustrating when shoppers ask for a refund or open a case with eBay, but by addressing customer service requests promptly and professionally, you ensure high levels of buyer satisfaction and long-term success.

    Don’t regularly cancel orders

    From time to time you may experience inventory problems and have to cancel orders. You should not allow this to become a regular practice. In cases when you can’t fulfill an order promptly, contact your buyer immediately to ask how they want to proceed. Let them know you can cancel and refund their order.

    Sellers who repeatedly cancel their orders will have their selling abilities limited and may be banned from eBay indefinitely. While mistakes happen, eBay needs to make sure its customers walk away with the best experience possible, every time. The more positive experiences shoppers have, the more buyers there will be to purchase items on eBay—including yours.

    Start selling on eBay today

    It’s clear that eBay is a good place to build awareness for your products. The platform reaches over 158 million people, sporting brands like Lululemon, Nike, and more. But selling on eBay also has a few drawbacks, like fees and no customization options. 

    If you want to sell on eBay, start by creating your own Shopify store. Then connect the two platforms together. This way, you can list products quickly, manage inventory better, and make more sales. 

    Happy eBay selling!

    Illustration by Pete Ryan


    Selling on eBay FAQ

    How do I sell on eBay for the first time?

    1. Decide if you should sell on eBay.
    2. Create an eBay account.
    3. Connect eBay to your Shopify store.
    4. List your inventory as products on eBay.
    5. Make sales.

    Is eBay still free to sell?

    If you are a casual seller and list under 250 products per month, you don’t pay a listing fee on eBay. You can pay up to 12.55% of the total sale price once an item is sold, depending on the product category you are selling in.

    What are the advantages of selling on eBay?

    • Online shoppers trust eBay.
    • You can auction items versus selling at a fixed price.
    • EBay can help your products get found on Google.
    • Over 158 million people shop on eBay.
    • EBay offers shipping assistance.

    What’s the difference between Amazon and eBay?

    The two companies have different business models. Amazon acts as a retail store where you can sell items at a flat price. EBay operates like an auction house where buyers can bid on products. Amazon also uses third-party sellers to list products on its marketplace so shoppers have a huge inventory of products to choose from.

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