Is it Worth Selling on eBay? Yes & Here’s How You Can Make More Money
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Is it worth selling on eBay, even now?
With all the other new eCommerce platforms, is selling on eBay still worth the time and effort?
Well, yes! eBay makes a great side hustle when done in the right way.
But, at the same time, it also has drawbacks that are entirely avoidable - and we're going to show you how to side-step them with relative ease.
From collectibles to jewelry and unused clothing, there's a market for everything - if you can find a buyer.
Let's look at some of the best eBay selling strategies to make the platform a profitable online pursuit.
In a rush?
You can always count on help from a tool like Zik Analytics to give you the data and direction helpful for your eBay selling needs.
It'll help you find low-competition, high-demand, and high-profit products that are proven to sell - backed by real data. And it'll take it a step further by even helping you optimize and rank higher for these products to ensure you profit!
- What is eBay?
- Why is eBay Still a Good Side Hustle?
- What's the Best Way to Sell on eBay?
- Use Zik Analytics to Find the Best Products to Sell on eBay
- Know Your Buyers
- Set Pricing Based On Finished eBay Listings
- Make Product Descriptions Seo-friendly
- Take Excellent Pictures That Stand Out
- Make a Listing Schedule
- Create Trust at Each Part of the Selling Process
- When You First Begin on eBay, Set Prices as Low as Possible
- Provide Free Delivery at all Times on Your Items
- Reach Out to Your Customers for Positive Feedback
- Post Your Ad Listings Throughout All Social Media Channels
- How Much Does It Cost to Sell on eBay?
- What Sells Best on eBay?
- Resources for Selling on eBay
- Do People Still Use eBay?
- What Can and Can't You Sell on eBay?
- Wrapping Up - Is it Worth Selling on eBay?
What is eBay?
eBay is a popular online auction site founded by Pierre Omidyar to bring buyers and sellers together in an open marketplace. Originally an auction-based website, eBay is still a powerful eCommerce platform, the second biggest, just behind Amazon.
One of the oldest eCommerce websites, eBay is well known for its consumer-to-consumer fixed price sales and auctions. It is also one of the first companies to match buyers and sellers via a website. Over 2 decades on, eBay is still one of the leading marketplaces, particularly in certain niches like collectibles.
Some eye-catching stats:
- Recent statistics (July 2022) show that eBay is the second most visited eCommerce website worldwide, with 590 million visits.
- The eBay app also ranks just behind Amazon as the retail platform with the most mobile traffic, with 307 million unique monthly visitors.
Founded in 1995, the company doesn't sell any products directly themselves - instead, users are allowed to list their products for sale.
eBay also acts as a sales channel for some serious heavy hitters, like:
- Diane Von Furstenberg
- Nintendo, and many more
From its humble beginnings in a small living room, eBay has grown to be a multi-million business with millions of transactions every single day.
- Opening an eBay account is free. Sellers have the option of choosing between a personal account or a business account, depending on the extent of their store.
- As a seller, you are expected to pay the listing fees, which depend on the price of your products and how long you are listing them for.
Why is eBay Still a Good Side Hustle?
Despite the fees, eBay remains one of America's most preferred eCommerce platforms. Our research has discovered that eBay is one of the leading eCommerce sites, with 10.29% of visits - just behind Amazon.
But the question remains: is it still a good side hustle?
- With its global reach and large marketplace, eBay is a thriving side hustle for millions of Americans, especially those who sell collectibles and niche products. So, you can cash in those vintage figures you have been hoarding.
- Furthermore, eBay is truly international, with operations in 190 countries and 138m buyers. You can buy/sell products locally by entering your zip code, nationally, or even internationally.
- eBay customer service makes this one of the best e-Commerce platforms for buyers and sellers.
- eBay helps you build your brand identity. Since there is little to no barrier to entry, people from all walks of life can turn a quick profit.
Top Tip: One of the most profitable models on eBay is Flipping. Plenty of eBay success stories are from those that resell flea market finds.
What's the Best Way to Sell on eBay?
Most eBay sellers have no idea how to sell on the platform. So whether you start selling clothes to make space or generating extra income, it’s best to learn the ropes and do your research before spending too much money.
Here are a few ways by which you can save money selling on the platform:
Use Zik Analytics to Find the Best Products to Sell on eBay
eBay limits you to 10 products when you first start selling on the platform. So, it’s critical that you find the right and profitable niche for your eBay Store.
Zik Analytics is a product research software that helps find the best products in a matter of minutes. Founded in 2016, the platform is used by more than 100,000 eBay sellers.
Not only does it identify the products to sell on eBay, but it also:
- Determines the most popular niches
- Figures out if there’s still demand in these popular niches
- Checks the competition
- Gets price analytics data and keyword data
Above All, Zik Analytics provides the key metrics to help conduct eBay product research and identify the products that are selling fast and why.
Know Your Buyers
The most crucial step before setting up your eBay store is understanding the buyers and their requirements. It gives you a lot of insight into what they’re searching for and their interests.
Understanding your buyers can literally make or break your eBay store. It also sets you apart from other sellers on the platform.
Research into the buyer's persona can help:
- Identify a fast-moving product
- Increase revenue
- Get repeat and loyal customers
Set Pricing Based On Finished eBay Listings
Pricing the products is a significant challenge new sellers face on eBay. If you price it too high, you may not get any sales, but if it is too low, you may not make any profit.
So, how do you price your product as a beginner? The easiest way is to determine your pricing by manually checking the cost of goods sold.
Another option is to let eBay determine your pricing. eBay can suggest starting prices of auctions and an amount for fixed price sales too, based on similar items recently sold. While this may work in a pinch, it will not give you the precise results of manual research.
How to Locate Finished Listings
Locating finished listings is time-consuming manual work. But the results are accurate and may resonate well with your buyers.
- Search eBay for items you are looking to sell.
- Go to the "References Section" in the left-hand panel and select "Completed Items" under "Show Only."
- This filters the results and displays only the sold listings.
- Dig deep and find successful eBay listings similar to your store and of the same quality.
- This gives you an idea of how much the eBay buyers are inclined to pay.
Make Product Descriptions Seo-friendly
According to Oberlo, there are an incredible 1.7 billion active eBay listings at any one time.
So, unless your product descriptions are optimized for SEO, they are likely to disappear among the vast sea of other items.
- Ensure you go into detail about the product you are selling—for example, color, model, size, condition of the item, etc.
- Frontload your description with the primary keyword, generic search terms, and search terms specific to the product.
- While specific terms help the buyer narrow down to your product, the generic terms ensure that your product is also listed for a wider audience.
- Include the product's features and benefits, giving the buyer the entire picture in words.
Take Excellent Pictures That Stand Out
Every platform, from Instagram to Facebook, is dedicated to pictures. So good quality optics are crucial for every eBay listing.
According to research by eBay themselves, listings with good-quality photos are 5% more likely to sell than those with no or poorly taken pictures.
And while 5% doesn’t sound like much, when you’re battling it out with over a billion different listings - every little edge you can get matters.
7 Tips for Shooting Images of eBay Products
A high-quality picture ensures that your buyer remains a repeat customer. But, of course, it goes without saying that one top-notch image that shows all the details is much better than ten grainy pictures.
Here are some tips and tricks to help take good-quality pictures with your smartphone:
1. Avoid Using Stock Photos
Buyers are more and more savvy these days and may not trust other sellers with obvious stock images. So, instead, take it upon yourself to take pictures to showcase your product.
Moreover, original high-quality photos give you the creative freedom to set your brand image.
2. Take Pictures of Your Product Against a Plain Backdrop
Always use a plain and neutral backdrop in a well-lit area. A busy backdrop can distract the buyers from the item you're selling. Moreover, a simple background also helps when editing (to retouch).
- A white wall makes an excellent backdrop for clothing and accessories
- A neutral-colored sheet over a table makes for a simple background to display products.
3. Take Pictures From Various Perspectives
Take pictures of the item from all angles to capture its details. This helps buyers visualize the product and make a fast decision.
Top Tip: You can also use Macro mode on most new Smartphones to help catch even the tiniest detail.
4. Include Any Product Defects
Ensure that you capture not just details but also flaws and blemishes (if any) so that eBay shoppers know precisely what they are buying.
5. Display the Item's Size in Your Advertisement by Comparing It to Another Object
Pictures can always be deceptive in terms of size. So, buyers often need clarification as to the size of the item itself.
Place the product you are selling next to something similar in size to give eBay shoppers an idea of the size of the item.
Top Tip: Use your hand or a coin for reference to show the size of your product.
6. Upload Images That Are the Right Size as Per Ebay's Requirements
The image dimensions for photos are between 500×500 and 9000×9000 pixels. Therefore, high-quality photos measuring 1600×1600 pixels are considered to be ideal.
7. Make Sure Your Photography of the Item is Consistent
Last but not least, maintain consistency in your photos throughout your eBay listing and even your entire store. Consistency adds credibility to your store and increases your brand value.
Make a Listing Schedule
Regular eBay shoppers will always look for new listings whenever they visit your store. So, instead of adding all your listings in a single day, set a listing schedule and add one item to your store daily while your seller account is new.
eBay's listing tool can help you schedule your listing. Working with the listing tool is pretty simple:
- Enter the words describing your product in the search bar.
- eBay automatically provides suggestions based on similar products sold on the platform.
- Select the proper description, and the listing tool will automatically populate the fields with the correct information.
- You also have the option of editing the fields to modify the listing according to your product.
Create Trust at Each Part of the Selling Process
Is it worth selling on eBay if you're not going to make an effort in building trust? Unlikely, as - now more than ever - people are very particular about how they spend their money online.
The biggest challenge that every new seller on eBay faces is trust since they have little to no transaction history. However, trust is crucial for the success of your eBay store, and you should strive to establish it right at the beginning.
Here are a few ways to go about building confidence between you and the buyer:
- People love seeing the face behind the store. So, ensure that you add a picture of yourself first.
- Enter information about yourself and your store. Add any background information if possible, as this may help attract buyers. Are you a Mom selling products to other Moms? Make sure to mention this, as it’ll draw potential customers to you.
- Display customer testimonials and positive feedback on your listings. This shows potential buyers that you are reliable and can be trusted.
- As we touched on above, be truthful about any defects or flaws in your listing. Also, ensure that you have a photo of your product with the blemish visible.
When You First Begin on eBay, Set Prices as Low as Possible
Is it worth selling on eBay if you're going to jump right in with premium pricing? No - you need to establish yourself first.
The first few sales on eBay are all about building a reputation and ranking higher on eBay search results for your fixed price sales. eBay shoppers are often fixed on the prices and look for the least expensive products; a lower-priced product may actually rank higher in search results.
Top Tip: Lower-priced products will eat into your profit margin initially. But once you are established as an eBay seller, you can slowly increase your prices.
Provide Free Delivery at all Times on Your Items
Is it worth selling on eBay if - as a brand new seller - you're going to charge for delivery? Probably not.
There's nothing more attractive than free delivery - it’s one of the biggest selling points of Amazon Prime, right?
Buyers feel like they are getting a bargain, while sellers get a simplified selling experience since they don’t have to calculate the potential cost for every listing. Although ebay's global shipping program has at least made it easier now there's less need to worry about international shipping costs.
However, free shipping is impossible for all items, especially those that are fragile and heavy.
Top Tip: If you do plan on charging for shipping, ensure that you clearly enter the shipping cost and description, along with the estimated delivery time – when your buyer pays, don’t give them a nasty last minute fee at the checkout.
Whether your item sells as an auction or fixed price, it's easier than ever to despatch items sold on eBay. You can even create and print off shipping labels without leaving the eBay app.
Reach Out to Your Customers for Positive Feedback
Customer feedback is the only way to establish yourself as a trustworthy, credible, and reliable eBay seller in the long term.
Not only does feedback help improve the buyer experience, but it also makes your business better when you incorporate any necessary changes they’ve suggested.
While customers will leave feedback, there is no harm in reaching out to them for their opinion. You can encourage them to leave positive feedback by:
- Offering competitive pricing
- Free shipping
- Keeping track of inventory
- Engaging with the buyer and answering any questions they may have
Post Your Ad Listings Throughout All Social Media Channels
Is it worth selling on eBay if you've a good to great social following? Our research has found that 55% of all buyers research on social media networks to guide their purchase decisions.
You never know who is interested in your eBay business, so share your listings on your social media directly from your listing. Even without a very large following, you are attracting more eBay buyers to your store.
In fact, even 6 years on from launching in the United States, Tik Tok is still making products go viral.
Top Tip: If possible, consider adding paid boosts for your listing. While they may cost you in the short term, they increase your visibility and place you higher in the search results.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell on eBay?
A not-so-attractive part of eBay is its seller fees.
As an eBay seller, you'd have to pay fees (apart from their eBay store subscribers) to sell items on the platform. The eBay fees are deducted from every sale before being delivered to either your PayPal account or directly to your bank account.
eBay's selling fees are still lower than other e-Commerce platforms like Amazon. And that's why - 32 years after launch and with more competition today than ever - eBay still has more than 159 million active users and 1.5 billion active listings on its website.
Here are the eBay seller fees:
- Listing Fees: eBay sellers get 250 free listings every month, in either auction or fixed-price items. Every additional listing costs you $0.35. Sellers with an eBay store subscription get additional free listings.
- Final Value Fees: eBay takes a percentage of every sale as a commission. The final value fees vary depending on the product category and are automatically deducted whether the seller is paid or not. Typically, it is .5%-15% of the item's value (to account for international shipping and handling fees) + .30 cents.
- Listing Upgrade Fees (Optional): Listing upgrade eBay fees include:
- Bold Font for the listings
- Include Subtitle
- Add more pictures with Gallery Plus
- Use Listing Designer by eBay
- Increase International Visibility
- Set a Reserve Price for auction listings
While entirely optional, the fees can help increase selling odds.
- Promoted Listings Fee (Optional): A promoted listing fee, otherwise called the advertising fee, is charged only when someone buys your item. The fees can be anywhere between 2% to 15% and vary depending on your product and the competition.
- Shipping Costs: eBay sellers are also required to pay a portion of the customers' delivery costs.
- International Fees: eBay sellers in the US should pay an international fee when delivering outside the country. Typically, the international fee is 1.65 % of the total amount.
- Punitive Fees: eBay requires its sellers to sell and transact within eBay's ecosystem. If not, eBay will charge you a punitive fee depending on the auction price.
- Payment Processing Fees: eBay sellers can also have their payments managed by eBay, in which case you will have to pay a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $.30 for every transaction.
Sellers are also required to pay sales tax on any income generated from their eBay sales.
It's not obligatory, but paying for an eBay Store subscription starting at $4.95/mo gains you access to a personalized storefront that allows you to exhibit your brand and showcase your inventory to potential buyers.
Fees for Sellers on Amazon Versus Fees on eBay
Is it worth selling on eBay when it comes to their fees versus Amazon's?
Simply put, eBay is much cheaper than Amazon, mainly because Amazon charges more in selling fees, reducing your profit margin.
Generally speaking, eBay charges 9.15% (standard eBay account), while Amazon charges 15% plus an additional $0.99 per item.
In saying that, this is not the same for all categories. For example, Amazon charges:
- 6% for consumer electronics such as cameras, computers, cell phones, etc
- 8% for gaming consoles
- 12% for power tools
The same goes for eBay too. eBay charges:
- 15% percent for women's bags (including handbags), jewelry, and watches
- 6% on musical instruments
- 3% on heavy equipment
Top Tip: After you choose your product category, make sure to check both Amazon and eBay to see which will cost you more in fees.
Reduced eBay Fees in 2013
In March 2013, eBay announced a reduced and simplified fee structure in an attempt to combat up-and-coming e-commerce platforms.
As per their new guidelines, eBay users get free listings every month depending on their store type:
- Sellers without a store - 50
- Basic Store - 150
- Premium Store - 500
- Anchor Store - 2500
As a part of their reduced fees, eBay also simplified the final value fee structure to flat rates:
- Less than 4%
- Not more than 9%
- Maximum $250
- 10% for nonstore owners
eBay reduced the seller fees in categories with solid or high competition and hiked or retained the fees for those with less competition.
What Sells Best on eBay?
As per Zik Analytics, the top-selling items on eBay include:
- Screen protectors
- Bluetooth speakers
- USB cables
- Reading glasses
- Jewelry (particularly necklaces)
- Wireless phone chargers
- Portable projectors
Apart from that, collectibles, toys, hobbies, video games, mobile phones and accessories, health and beauty, home and garden, automotive, clothing, shoes, and accessories (for both men and women) also tend to sell well.
However, there are other factors in play, not only competition from other sellers but also:
So, the best-selling listings on eBay may vary occasionally.
Resources for Selling on eBay
An early hurdle a seller faces when it comes to starting an eBay store is to stock it. Procuring products from the right source can help increase profits and beat the competition.
- One of the easiest methods to stock is via retail arbitrage, wherein you buy a product online or in-store and sell it on eBay at a higher rate.
- Another successful method of sourcing products is drop shipping, where a third-party supplier supplies and delivers the items directly to the customer.
- White labeling is yet another profitable way to sell things on eBay, wherein you buy generic products from the manufacturer and label it with your brand name.
- Finally, you can purchase goods from a manufacturer and sell them on eBay for a profit.
Apart from eBay dropshipping, you always run the risk of your product not selling. And that's where product research comes in.
The best solution is to find out everything about the product you intend to sell, its market value, and the competition before sourcing.
Do People Still Use eBay?
Yes! eBay is still a viable marketplace for sellers. However, it has to be accepted that it has lost a good chunk of its customers to large e-Commerce platforms such as Amazon. But, no doubt, it still holds firm in categories such as collectibles, vintage and used items.
Although it’ll probably never catch up with Amazon, eBay is still the solid Number 2 in the United States based on monthly visits to the site.
This puts it ahead of big marketplaces like:
- Wayfair, and more
What Can and Can't You Sell on eBay?
Even though eBay’s first listing was a broken laser pointer, it’s no longer a platform to exchange your trash for cash. There are some products that are prohibited by eBay, including:
- Illegal items, including drugs, firearms, weapons, prescription drugs, and stolen property, amongst others
- Medical devices
- CB and HAM radios
- Certain electronically delivered goods - such as software keys
- Bootleg media
- Offensive material
- Hazardous substances
- Counterfeit items
- Restricted-use pesticides
- Illegal, explicit content
Although those are some of the main banned items, it’s by no means an exhaustive list. For a complete list of banned items, visit eBay on their website.
Wrapping Up - Is it Worth Selling on eBay?
Is it worth selling on eBay, even now? As we’ve learned, eBay is still a great place to start your eCommerce store or just to offload some great items you found at the local flea market if you want to start selling small.
- It doesn't require significant investment; anything from just a few dollars to $100 (or even more if you can afford it) would work.
- The best part about eBay is that it is a seller-oriented platform, especially for arbitrage sellers.
- The platform has long moved on from just being an online garage sale where you can sell unused and unwanted items in your house.
- It is now an established eCommerce platform for niche categories such as collectibles and vintage items.
Main Takeaway: The key to a successful eBay store is researching the intended market and choosing the right tools. Only after this thorough research can you decide to sell on the platform.
However, if you get it right, there’s definitely gold to be found here. In 2020 alone, the number of eBay millionaires grew by over a third.
If you follow our tips above, dig deep into your initial analysis, and sell trending products - you too might just be the next eBay superstar.
Next: read our in depth guide of the 15 best things to sell on eBay.
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