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eBay is an online shopping platform that’s best known for its auctions and allows everyone to sell their items – even used goods – to the large, worldwide audience eBay has acquired over the years. In fact, eBay is one of the oldest customer-to-customer online marketplaces. It was founded in 1995 and it’s one of the biggest eCommerce platform up to date.
- 171+ million active users – no need to worry about traffic
- Seller protections in place from buyers scams
- Great marketing tools – only pay if you sell your item
- Global brand – instant trust from buyers
- Sold order fees up to 12%, plus insertion fees up to $300
- Negative feedback caused even by delivery companies, can impact yuor sales
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What is eBay?
eBay probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s an online shopping platform that’s best known for its auctions and allows everyone to sell their items – even used goods – to the large, worldwide audience eBay has acquired over the years.
In fact, eBay is one of the oldest customer-to-customer online marketplaces. It was founded in 1995 and is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms up to date.
How Does eBay Work?
How eBay works is simple. Sellers create listings for their items uploading product descriptions and photos, setting pricing and selecting payment and shipping options.
Some products on the platform are sold in an auction-style, while others offer fixed prices. But we’ll talk about different formats of selling later on in this article. For now, let’s see how selling your stuff through eBay works and what fees you should be aware of.
Sell Your Stuff Directly (No Middleman)
When you sell your stuff through eBay, you’re selling directly to customers. There are no middlemen in the process, meaning you’re the only person responsible for every process related to selling on eBay.
Even though you’re selling your items through eBay, they aren’t responsible for anything but providing you a secure platform with millions of active shoppers.
This means you need to price your stuff yourself, manage customer communications and handle shipping independently.
There are 2 types of fees associated with your eBay listing: insertion fee and selling fee.
Both fees vary from product to product, but setting up your first 200 listings per month is typically free. After this threshold, you’re required to pay $0.35 per listing.
On the other hand, you’re charged a selling fee every time your product sells. A selling fee is a percentage of your item’s final value.
Standard selling fee for most categories is 10% (max. $750) of your product price.
Here’s the table of eBay fee rates for each product category:
|Category||Insertion fee||Selling (final value) fee|
|Musical RecordsMotors Parts & AccessoriesAutomotive Tools & Supplies||Free for first 200 listings per month. Then $0.35 per listing.||10% (max. fee $750)|
|BooksDVDs & MoviesMusic (except Records category)||12% (max. fee $750)|
|Musical Instruments & Gear > Guitars & Basses||Free||3.5% (max. fee $350)|
|Select Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories:Men > Men’s Shoes > Athletic ShoesWomen > Women’s Shoes > Athletic Shoes||Free if starting price is at least $100||0% if selling price is $100 or more10% if selling price is less than $100|
|Select Business & Industrial categories:Heavy Equipment Parts & AttachmentsPrinting & Graphic Arts > Commercial Printing PressesRestaurant & Food Service > Food Trucks, Trailers & Carts||$20||2% (max. fee $300)|
Is eBay Safe & Legit?
eBay is a very safe place to sell stuff online. The platform has integrated PayPal to ensure safe payments.
Moreover, eBay has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 1998 and holds an A+ rating.
However, as eBay values buyers more than sellers, you might need to do your due diligence to avoid fraudulent customers. All eBay customers have their own profiles and sellers have an opportunity to rate them. Simply check your buyer’s profile and rating and avoid selling anything to people who have under 5 reviews or a bunch or negative ones. Otherwise, you’ll find out that eBay almost always sides with the buyer when they open a dispute.
eBay Selling Format
When eBay was founded in 1995, it was purely offering only auction-style selling. Later on, the platform incorporated the second selling format – fixed-price listings.
Nowadays, you can choose the best selling format for yourself and sell your item either at an auction or for a fixed price.
Let’s review how each of these formats work.
Fixed-price listings are also known as the “Buy It Now” format of selling. This allows you to set the fixed price for your item, enabling the shoppers to know the exact price up front and buy it immediately.
This format of selling is efficient and convenient, because there’s no waiting for an auction to end.
Auctions are usually open for a specified number of days.
When you list your items on an auction, you’re opening a bid, i.e. setting the starting price. The buyers can bid up from the opening price within the auction time frame and when the auction comes to an end, the highest bidder wins and gets your product.
Auction-style sales usually work great for unique items, antiques or collectibles. These categories typically have passionate fans that are ready to bid up the pricing and don’t mind paying more to win the competition and get the desired item.
Pro tip: set the lowest price you’re willing to accept for the item as the starting bid. This way, you’ll ensure you’re getting the fair value for your item.
How to Sell Stuff on eBay
Step 1 – Find Your Product
Finding what to sell is obviously the first step to start selling online. Whether you’re selling something you own or want to produce items for sale, you need to do the thinking and choose the product first.
Step 2 – Create Listing
After you have a product to sell, it’s time to create an eBay listing. Creating an eBay listing is a straightforward process.
No matter if you want to participate in an auction or sell your item for a fixed price, you need to upload images and descriptions for your item. Don’t forget to indicate shipping costs and times in your listing as well.
Just go to eBay.com/sell to start creating your first listing.
Step 3 – Ship Your Item
Once you receive an order you should ship your item to the buyer. Here are all the steps you should take:
- Pack your item – safety is important, so make sure you secure the box with the tape and use bubble packaging, packing peanuts or newspapers to pack delicate items.
- Print your shipping label – you can find discounted shipping labels in your eBay account.
- Ship it – just hand your package to the mail carrier or drop it to the post office.
Step 4 – Get Paid
eBay stores your funds in escrow until the buyer receives your item. And they will release your money after the delivery is confirmed either by the shipping company or the buyer.
You have 3 options when it comes to receiving payments.
eBay Payment options:
- PayPal – is the easiest option
- Credit or debit card – requires you to open a merchant account through credit card companies
- Payment upon pickup
- PayPal credit
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Bank-to-bank transfers (also known as bank wire transfers and bank cash transfers)
- Money orders
- Online payment services (e.g., Escrow.com, Allpay.net, CertaPay, Fiserv, Nochex.com, XOOM)
eBay Seller Protection
Selling on eBay, you’re protected by policies, transaction monitoring and data systems allowing you to sell with confidence.
Here’s how eBay seller protection works:
- Report a buyer if he/she violated a buying practices policy
- The eBay Resolution Center is an easy and secure way to solve problems with eBay transactions. eBay can step in to help even when you’re just communicating with your problematic client.
- The Unpaid Item Assistant helps you resolve unpaid item cases and make sure you’ll get paid for sure.
- Automatic Defect Removal corrects your transaction records in case they get beyond your control.
eBay Pros & Cons
- A worldwide audience of 182 million active members.
- Sell anything – the platform allows you to list and sell any product you desire.
- Gain new customers for your online store. When you get a sale from eBay, you can use the opportunity to introduce your brand to your eBay buyers.
- High seller fees. You’re charged a 10% fee on your item’s final value each time your item sells.
- High competition in some niches. While you get to leverage the 182 million members eBay has, it may also mean that there’s high competition in certain niches.
eBay vs Craigslist
Craigslist is a classic alternative to eBay when it comes to selling used stuff. However, eBay offers more advanced services, including secure payment processing and customer service. On Craigslist, you cannot set up an auction, neither can you communicate with your buyer or turn to customer service to assist you to resolve a problematic case.
eBay vs Listia
Listia is the biggest alternative to eBay when it comes to selling your items on an auction. Just like eBay auctions, Listia allows you to easily set up your auction listings and give shoppers an opportunity to offer their bids. Although Listia offers a lower selling fee than eBay (a fee of 3.5% vs. 10%), eBay can boast a larger audience – 182 million users worldwide while Listia has 10 million.
eBay vs Amazon
While both eBay and Amazon are the world’s largest marketplaces, there’s a huge difference when it comes to selling your products on each platform. The biggest downside of selling your items on Amazon is that Amazon itself competes with third-party sellers like you. They have their own products, which most of the time outperform the products sold by independent sellers. And it’s logical, people ultimately trust Amazon. On the other hand, eBay doesn’t compete with you and also lets you sell literally anything, whether it’s your private label, collectibles or used items.
Is it Worth Selling Your Stuff on eBay?
Overall, I would say selling your stuff on eBay is an option to definitely consider. After all, the platform allows you to put your items in front of over 182 million members worldwide.
By now, you already have all the information you need to make a decision whether to sell on eBay or not. So just take a look at the pros and cons of selling on eBay once again and decide whether pros outweigh the cons or vice versa for you.