Selling on eBay

Samuel Clennett
7 minute read

eBay isn’t just a place for selling unwanted gifts and household clutter. It’s also a great platform for businesses to sell to a much wider audience. Sign up as a professional eBay seller and you can reach a global audience, grow your sales and even get a brand new business off the ground.

So, how does selling on eBay work, and how much does it cost? Here, we’ll take a look at getting started as an eBay seller, including fees, shipping arrangements and what products you can and can’t sell.

We’ll also cover better ways to get paid from international customers, such as with Wise. If you’re a professional seller, get a free Wise Business account and you can transfer multiple currencies straight over from eBay – without paying high currency conversion fees.¹

But first, let’s get you set up and selling on eBay.

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Why you should be selling on eBay

Sell with eBay and you can tap into an enormous global customer base. The marketplace had a whopping 174 million active buyers in the first quarter of 2020² alone. It’s an established, well-known and reputable brand, and a giant in the world of online retail. This means lots of exposure for your products.

If you’re a new business, eBay represents a low-risk way to test the water. There are fees to pay, but you can start selling without needing to invest time and money in your own professional eCommerce website. You can experiment with price points and find out more about your target audience, and see what works and what doesn’t.

Who can sell on eBay?

Anyone can sell using eBay, but you’ll need to decide whether you want to sell as an individual or a business³. The first option is for hobby sellers or those wanting to make some spending money clearing out clutter.

If you plan to use eBay to sell lots of products and hopefully make a profit, the best option is to get your own eBay Store. Registering as a professional seller should turn out to be the best value option when it comes to fees.

How does selling on eBay work?⁴

If you’re new to selling on eBay, here are the basics you need to know. First things first, you’ll need to sign up for an account. Then it’s as simple as creating your first product listing, complete with photographs, description and details, and sending it live.

You can decide whether you’d like to use the auction or fixed price format, and select postage options for the buyer.

Once you make your first sale, you pack up the item, ship it to the customer and receive payment through eBay. You can manage orders and communicate with customers through your eBay account, whether as an individual seller or a business.

If you have your own eBay Store⁵, you’ll have access to a range of advanced seller tools. For example, you can create a custom storefront, use marketing and promotional tools to increase sales, and access detailed monthly Business Performance Reports.

What kind of fees can I expect to pay?

When selling on eBay, there are four main fee types to be aware of. These are subscription, listing (insertion), final value and PayPal transaction fees.

If you sell as an individual⁶, you can list up to 40 items per month and pay zero insertion/listing fees. Exceed the 40-item limit and you’ll pay insertion fees starting from $1.65 per item depending on the starting price and category.

If you sell an item, you’ll pay a final value fee of 10.9%. This includes anything you charge the buyer for shipping. You can also choose optional listing upgrades for extra fees.

To use eBay for your business, you’re likely to opt for a subscription package instead. This is mainly because you’ll pay much lower final value fees compared to individual sellers. Here are your options⁷:

  • Basic Store – $24.95 a month

Auction insertion fee of $3 per item, final value fees of 6%-9.5% depending on the sale price and category

  • Featured Store - $54.95 a month

Auction insertion fee of $3 per item, final value fees of 5.4%-8.55% depending on the sale price and category

  • Anchor Store - $549.95 a month

Auction insertion fee of $3 per item, final value fees of 4.8%-7.6%.

There are also a number of other fees to look out for, such as adding fixed-price to your product listing or taking advantage of eBay’s optional listing upgrades.

Crucially, there’s also a PayPal transaction fee. PayPal is the recommended payment platform for eBay, but it charges 2.6% +$0.30⁸ on top of all your other fees to process payments from within Australia. For online payments coming from abroad, the fees are higher. We’ll look at a way you can swerve fees for international payments later on.

How should I price my products?

If you want to make a profit selling on eBay – even if it’s selling as a hobby or to make some extra cash – it’s important to price your products carefully. You’ll need to tot up your expenses for the item, and factor in all of eBay’s fees and charges. There are quite a few of these, so make sure you do your homework or you could end up getting less than you expect when your product sells.

It’s also a smart idea to research your competitors, and see what similar items have sold for on eBay. This enables you to find a competitive price point and adjust your offer based on what’s trending and selling on the platform.

What products can I sell on eBay?

eBay is known for being the marketplace where you can find pretty much anything. It has a wide range of product categories, from fashion and motor accessories to home, garden and electronics. You can sell toys and games, health and beauty items, collectables and much more.

You can sell most things on the platform, but there are a few important restrictions to be aware of. You are not permitted to sell⁹:

  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Animal and wildlife products
  • Food
  • Adult items
  • Firearms
  • Used cosmetics
  • Gift cards
  • Artefacts and cultural heritage items.

These restrictions won’t apply to the vast majority of potential eBay sellers, but it’s good to be aware of the prohibited category list just in case.

Shipping and inventory

If you sell a product on eBay, it’s your responsibility as the seller to sort out packaging and shipping. You can do it yourself, or use a courier/delivery firm as your shipping partner.

You can give your buyers a choice of options for shipping, offering express or free delivery if you want to. Just make sure your prices accurately reflect the shipping cost, or you could end up out of pocket.

Fees and taxes

It’s important to remember when selling on eBay that the final value fee you pay will include shipping costs charged to the buyer.

Plan on shipping internationally? Make sure you fully look into the tax and customs rules for the countries you plan to ship to, as there could be extra expenses to consider.

Step by step - it’s easy to get started as a seller on eBay

Selling on eBay as an individual is as easy as creating an account and posting your first product listing. For this, you’ll just need product photos and all the essential details and specifications. Choose a price, sale format (auction or fixed price) and shipping options – then you’re ready to send your listing live.

But if you want to sell as a business, here’s how to get started¹⁰:

  1. Sign up for an eBay Business Account – you’ll need details such as your registered business name, email address and phone number
  2. Confirm your identity – once you’ve registered, you’ll need to confirm your ID with a phone call or text message
  3. Choose how you’ll pay your eBay fees – options include bank transfer, PayPal, debit or credit card. If you’re using PayPal either to pay your fees or receive payment (or both), you’ll need to link your PayPal and eBay accounts together.
  4. Subscribe to an eBay Store and choose the subscription package you want
  5. Start customising your eBay Store, choosing which optional extras you want and making your storefront stand out
  6. Create your first product listings and wait for your first sale.

Tips and tricks

So, you’re nearly ready to become an eBay seller. Before you create your first listing, bear these seller tips in mind:

Use an eBay fee calculator

It can be quite complicated to work out eBay’s fees, and exactly how much it’ll cost you to sell an item using the platform. Luckily, the internet is full of eBay fee calculators which will work it all out for you. Use one – it’ll save you a huge amount of time and head-scratching, and help you avoid nasty surprises when it comes to fees.

Include full details on your listings

There are millions of products listed for sale on eBay, and buyers are impatient when it comes to product listings. Make sure you include all the relevant details, making use of all the handy listing tools and prompts the platform provides. If a crucial measurement or detail is missed, buyers aren’t like to hang around. They’ll simply buy from your competitor instead.

Avoid currency conversion fees – get paid into a multi-currency account instead of PayPal

eBay is a great way to get your products out to an international audience, but what if buyers in different countries want to pay in their own currencies? If you use eBay’s recommended payment platform PayPal to receive international payments, you could be hit with high conversion fees and poor exchange rates.

But get a Wise Business multi-currency account¹¹ and you can get paid straight from eBay, avoiding the extra cost. You’ll get local account details to link to your eBay account and can withdraw your earnings in multiple currencies – for free.

Hold these currencies in your account, spend abroad or cover business expenses with your linked Wise Platinum Business MasterCard. If you want to send money or convert currencies, you’ll only pay a small, transparent fee and you’re guaranteed the real, mid-market exchange rate.

And that’s pretty much it. All you need to know to get started as an eBay seller, from setting up an eBay store to choosing a subscription plan. Plus, a few tips and tricks to help you save money and get the most from selling on eBay. Good luck!

Sources used:

  1. How to Sell on Ebay
  2. Ebay Active Users
  3. How to Sell on Ebay - Finder
  4. Start Selling on Ebay
  5. Opening an Ebay Store
  6. Ebay Fees
  7. Store Benefits
  8. How to Sell on Ebay - Finder
  9. How to Sell on Ebay - Finder
  10. How to Sell on Ebay - Finder
  11. How to Sell on Ebay

Sources checked on 29-July 2020.

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