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How to start selling on eBay

Selling on eBay can be extremely profitable, and fairly straightforward to set up (even if you’re new to eCommerce). We’re sharing how to get your account set up and items listed in just a couple of steps below.

But why you should choose eBay? Aside from the 25 million sellers who already have faith in it, eBay is a well-known eCommerce marketplace that allows you to sell your items at a set price or to create auctions online to sell goods. In 2017, eBay generated $10.7 billion in net revenue, and it’s one of the largest eCommerce marketplaces in the world.

Unlike other popular eCommerce marketplaces, eBay offers a variety of ways to sell, from straightforward listings to virtual auctions, and gives you the option to allow your prospective buyers to choose whether to bid or Buy It Now. This nuance makes eBay an exciting place to sell your goods.

How to start selling on eBay

1. Do some research first

B​efore you can sell on eBay, you need to decide what you’re going to sell and understand who you’re selling those products to. Market research is an important first step to launching your eBay store. Let’s pretend you’re planning to sell soaps. It’s important to understand what price point buyers are comfortable with and most likely to purchase soaps at before you set up your store and start listing items.

Check out eBay’s active listings to determine the final price on items similar to those you intend to sell, look at how many sold to understand their popularity, and review the titles and descriptions of popular items to get a feel for the sales language used by successful buyers.

2. Set up an account

Of course, the first step to selling on eBay is to set up your account – a relatively quick and easy process. To create your eBay account:

  1. Navigate to the eBay site you want to register with (these differ by country; eBay.com for US vs. eBay.ca for Canada, and so on).
  2. Go to the Registration page and determine whether you need a Personal or a Business account. Not sure which is right for you? If you plan to sell casually – just a few things here and there – a personal account is probably your best bet. But, if you have quantities to sell or if you have items you’ve made or bought to resell, a business account is the way to go. The remaining steps apply to Business Account set up.
  3. To register for a Business Account, select Create a Business Account. You’ll be prompted to enter your legal business name and email, create a password, and input a phone number. Once you’ve filled out this information, hit Register.

Once you’ve successfully registered, you’ll need to continue to set up your account with relevant information, including:

  • Linking your PayPal account to your eBay account
  • Setting up to the “to” and “from” email addresses for your eBay messages
  • Setting up the email address where you’d like to receive your eBay invoice
  • Configuring listing and sold emails you’d like to be sent
  • Confirming your address and phone numbers are set up correctly
  • Setting up your primary return shipping address
  • Determining which payment option you prefer for eBay fees
  • Configuring the countries and regions you’ll ship to, how you’ll manage fulfillment, and your shipping rates for each, and setting up rules around combined payments and shipping discounts

3. Know the rules

Like any good eCommerce platform, eBay is “committed to providing a secure and fair marketplace for buyers and sellers.” This means, they’ve got rules and policies in place that govern the expectations of both buyers and sellers, the actions they’ll take to keep all parties safe, and how you’ll be protected if something goes wrong on either side of the transaction.

It’s imperative you familiarize yourself with and follow all of eBay’s policies if you wish to keep your business account in good order. Some rules reflect local legal requirements and other are based on eBay’s own internal logic on protecting its users. By reviewing the policies before you begin selling, you can learn what can and can’t be sold on eBay, access guides to creating and maintaining listings, and details on how your personal details and business can be protected.

You might also want to review the User Agreement, User Privacy Notice, and the Cookie Notice.

Minimize risk

It’s no surprise that the easiest way to minimize your risk to success as an eBay seller is to follow the rules and policies outlined by the company, but that’s not the only risk out there.

1. Consider sourcing options

Knowing where your items are coming from and the quality of those items is critical. Without the proper research, sourcing items (especially if you plan to dropship) could be a recipe for disaster. Always do your homework before you purchase items to sell on your eBay store.

2. Determine fulfillment and storage logistics

If you’re planning to fulfill yourself, you’ll need seamless inventory management and a place to store items. Consider your warehousing or storage needs and select a safe, humidity-controlled storage solution that’s easy to use with your fulfillment tools.

Not set up for reliable storage and fulfillment? Nothing makes for an angry buyer unhappy like slow transport, unreliable shipping, or worse – damaged goods upon arrival. For this reason, it’s imperative you work with a reliable fulfillment partner who can provide fast, safe shipping of all your sales.

3. Offer fast delivery

eBay Fast ‘N Free provides fast and free shipping to buyers, and can help you boost conversions.

Offering eBay Fast ‘N Free can help you boost conversions, increase customer satisfaction, appear higher in search results, and supercharge your eBay listing.

If you can’t achieve it yourself, Deliverr integrates directly into the program and can handle your entire fulfillment process, from order-to-door, with transparent pricing and hassle-free onboarding.

4. Optimize your listings

Problem buyers exist virtually everywhere, but on eBay the risk is heightened thanks to the range of goods and the fact buyers are never 100% sure about what they’re about to receive. Since buyers can leave negative feedback publicly, it’s up to you as the seller to protect yourself by setting expectations on your listing.

The best way to avoid a situation where a buyer is unhappy with the item s/he purchased from your store is to make sure your listings accurately reflect the item in question.

  • Use good photographs to showcase the quality and detail of your item. Pay special attention to any flaws or issues and document them clearly so prospective buyers aren’t surprised.
  • Write a strong description that details every specification of your product clearly – including its condition.
  • Clearly define your return and refund policy and make it readily available on every listing.

5. Provide outstanding customer service

While it seems like a no-brainer, putting your best customer service foot forward on each and every transaction (or interaction) is key to protecting your store’s integrity, reputation, and your bottom line.

Be responsive when prospective buyers reach out by checking your messages frequently. Always deliver on your promises, like fulfilling deliveries quickly, and communicate with your buyer if something goes wrong. Ask for positive feedback when transactions have gone smoothly and, more importantly, leave positive feedback for your fast-paying customers.

With a little effort and attention to detail, you can be selling on eBay in just a few easy steps. But, like many eCommerce endeavours, setting up a successful eBay store isn’t a sprint – it requires diligent, ongoing attention and care to be successful.

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