Online Retailers

Should You Sell On eBay: Benefits, Fees & Tools

By Danielle Allen
Should You Sell On Ebay

Should you be selling on eBay in 2023? eBay has been around longer than many other marketplaces, launching in a similar timeframe to Amazon. This has made eBay one of the most prominent and well-recognised auction sites. 


What sets eBay apart from other marketplace competitors is eBay's auction function. Whilst you can still instantly sell products through the buy it now function, the auction function allows users to bid on certain items to help sellers get the highest price out of their products.  


We’ll cover the following topics regarding selling on eBay:


  • What is eBay?
  • Should you sell on eBay?
  • How to sell on eBay
  • 5 tips for selling on eBay
  • How much does it cost to sell on eBay?
  • How to integrate your business operations with eBay 


What is eBay?


eBay began its journey under the name AuctionWeb, which was described as a site to connect buyers and sellers to an honest and open marketplace. Now eBay is one of the biggest online marketplaces, selling a range of products from various sellers. These sellers include both businesses and individuals, unlike other marketplaces


What does eBay sell?


The majority of items sold on eBay in the early days were collectables, such as beanie babies. Ebay would later expand into selling motors, electronics and other products. Today on eBay, you can buy just about anything. Its main product categories include:


  • Home 
  • Garden and DIY 
  • Electronics 
  • Fashion 
  • Motors 
  • Collectables 
  • Sport and Leisure 
  • Health and Beauty 


eBay does have a comprehensive list of items that are either prohibited or restricted items that cannot be sold on eBay or will require extra processes to do so. These include: 


  • Alcohol 
  • Artefacts and antiques
  • Food 
  • Event tickets


View eBay's list of prohibited, restricted, and potentially infringing items

Should you sell on eBay?


Selling on eBay is another platform to add to your toolbox and can be used to showcase your brand to new buyers that aren’t shopping on other marketplaces. eBays auction functionality will be more useful to some businesses than others, but is a beneficial selling option. The buy it now function and the make an offer button bring an added versatility not offered by other sites such as Amazon. You might find our blog on the 5 best places to sell online for e-commerce businesses beneficial if you’re still exploring which marketplaces you should sell on. 


If you’re expanding your e-commerce business to multiple sites, you may find it challenging to manage multiple listings for the same product on all the marketplaces. You can save time and keep listings consistent by using Mintsofts multichannel listing software


eBay will suit most businesses and can be used as an additional revenue stream. But the platform, its functionality and its customers will suit some businesses more than others. eBay has some downsides, such as limited templates to create listings and limited free insertions. Here’s a full list of the pros and cons of selling on eBay: 


Pros of selling on eBay


  • Auction function
  • Make an offer feature
  • Can sell second-hand items
  • Fixed rates fees
  • List 1,000 products for free every month
  • Better brand visibility than other marketplaces

Cons of selling on eBay


  • Limited by eBay templates 
  • Many similar sellers
  • Higher fees after going over your free amount
  • Competitive landscape if selling popular items 


How to sell on eBay


1. Picking a business or personal account


Before you can even begin the signup process, you’ll have to choose between a business or a personal account for your eBay. 


If you’re a business that plans to sell regularly on the platform, then the business account will be the right choice for you. This option offers ways to personalise your eBay store and access analytics and other helpful features that a business needs. If you're an individual who aims to sell less than 15 items a month, then stick to the personal account.  


To continue setting up your eBay account, you'll need to provide information about your business, such as your name and address. Once you’ve entered the correct details for your business, you’ll have access to an eBay account, but now you need to set up a seller account.


To do this, click on the My eBay button on the top right of your screen and select the selling button. You’ll need to add more information about your business to create a seller account. Once your seller account is ready, you’ll have access to help full tools and data to assist in selling on eBay. 


2. Setting up payment options


Your final steps to getting orders out the door with eBay is to set up a way of getting paid and creating business policies. 


Previously eBay’s primary form of payment processing was done through PayPal; however, in 2020, eBay decided to split ways with the payment processing platform and take this in-house.


For businesses, a few things have changed. Rather than payments landing in your PayPal account, they’ll now be transferred into your business bank account. 


This means the payment processing fees for eBay have changed, but the impact on businesses is marginal. 


Previously eBay charged a flat fee of 10% of the sales price, including the postage cost. Paypal would then take a 2.9% cut of the final amount, including postage plus 30p for every transaction. Now, eBay charges 12.8%, including postage as well as 30p per order. Essentially, this means businesses will be charged fractionally fewer fees. 


3. Create your first eBay listing


You can read eBays full step-by-step guide to create a listing, but we’ll sum up the key takeaways. 


3.1 Set up your eBay listing


Click the create a listing button in your seller hub listings tab; you’ll then need to tell eBay what you plan to sell. This can be done by searching for your product and selecting an option eBay suggests. You can select specific products for which eBay already holds details and can fill in automatically. 


3.2 Create a title and upload your photos


Write a title that accurately describes the item. When taking and uploading photos, ensure they are clear and show the product in detail. 


You’ll want to include any item specifics and the multiple variations of the product, such as size, colour etc, in the product description. 


3.3 Select your Sale type 


We’ve already mentioned two main ways to sell on eBay: auction listings and buy-it-now listings. Buy-it-now listings work the same as other marketplaces like Amazon. You set a fixed price, and the customer purchases the item at that price. 


eBay does also offer the make-an-offer function. This allows potential buyers to make an offer on your product which you can choose to refuse or accept.


Auctions work differently; you set a starting bid, the auction duration, and a reserve price. 


On eBay, you can also add a buy it now option to auctions to allow people to instantly purchase your product at a set price. 


3.4 Shipping details


The final step is setting up your shipping details. First, you must let your customers know if you ship domestically or internationally. After this, you can select your flat rate shipping cost. Flat rate shipping is where all buyers pay the same price for shipping. 


You can also indicate to your customers if you offer local pickup of items, how much this will cost and where they can pick their items up from. 


4. Promote your listing


Let's be clear, you don't need to prompt your listing to achieve sales on eBay. But if you have the budget, promoting your eBay listing can make it visible to potential buyers interested in your products. 


Another benefit to promoting your listing on eBay is that eBay only charges you if the promotion has helped your items sell. You’re charged for your promotion when a buyer has licked on your promoted ad and purchases any promoted items within the next 30 days. 


eBays promotion fees vary depending on the sale amount and are based on the ad rate that is chosen by the seller. 

5 tips for selling on eBay


You’ve set up your account and are ready to start shipping your amazing products to customers. To help your business thrive on eBay, follow these 5 tips. 


1. Create a detailed eBay listing 


You know you've got a fantastic product. You’ve seen, used, or even made it yourself. It’s difficult to portray your product online and let potential buyers get a feel for your product. 


To showcase your product to buyers, use high-quality, clear images. Using multiple pictures from different angles to help provide as much detail of the product as possible.


It’s also essential to have images that showcase your product in action. For example, if you're selling clothes, taking photos of these clothes on models can help understand how the clothes might look on themselves. 


Now you’ve got the right photos, you need a title that quickly explains what the product is and describes it well. 


Your title should include: 


  • Brand or product line name
  • Features
  • Category


Read on how to photograph your product as well as how to add videos to your eBay listing


2. Buy it now vs auction; which is best?


In this guide, we’ve discussed the buy-it-now and auction features. But how do you know which one is right for your business? Follow this rule of thumb:


If you have a large quantity of the same items, or your item is in high supply, use the buy it now function. 


If your items are in high demand but in low supply, use the auction function to ensure your item sells as high as possible. 


A quick tip: When selling through auctions, ensure they end in busy periods, such as Sunday afternoons. 


3. Ensure you understand eBay rules and policies 


Like all marketplaces, eBay has some standard rules and policies you must abide by. But some rules are unique to eBay and that you need to be aware of, such as: 


  • It is forbidden to bid on your own items
  • You can’t offer to sell outside of eBay to avoid selling fees
  • eBay doesn't allow dropshipping on their site
  • You can’t inflate shipping costs to reduce eBay’s selling fees
  • eBay cannot be used to increase sales outside of eBay and on other platforms


Follow these rules alongside eBays other rules and policies to ensure your store doesn't receive any strikes. 


4. Pick competitive prices and delivery costs 


Your pricing alongside its delivery cost could be what tips the buyer to choose an alternative seller. You need to ensure your eBay listing price is competitive with other sellers. 


It’s first essential to make sure you’re making enough of a profit margin after the cost of your product, and eBay’s selling fees have been added up. 


Picking the right shipping price is also essential; the buyer might trust your store and decide to buy from you, but if they see the shipping is too expensive, they might seek an alternative seller. 


One strategy you can implement to avoid this is to build a portion of the shipping cost into the price of the item so that the buyer feels like they're getting a cheaper delivery. 


Finally, it's essential to use a tracked postage service. It’s possible that dodgy buyers on eBay might claim they never received their item and request a refund. Having tracked delivery that proves the item was delivered is an effective way to reduce the number of refunds you have to make. 


5. Customer feedback and reviews are important 


Customer reviews, and feedback is a core part of eBay. Anyone who has made a purchase from your store can leave feedback which affects your seller rating. 


This rating is key to indicating that your store is trustworthy to new customers. A store with poor feedback isn't likely to make many sales as new customers will be weary of purchasing from them. 


To ensure your rating stays positive, it's essential to describe your products accurately, keep customers updated, have quick delivery times and resolve any problems with your customers. 


How much does it cost to sell on eBay?


eBay has multiple fees that you need to be aware of and account for the final cost of your products. We'll break down the two main fees: insertion and final value fees. 


Insertion Fees: These are the fees for creating a listing on eBay. You get 1,000 free insertion fees monthly; after using all these, the cost will be 35p for every listing you create on eBay. 


Final Value Fees: These fees are standard and are calculated as 12.8% + 30p per order of your item's final sale price, including postage and taxes. 


Dispute fees: If you are deemed responsible for a dispute, eBay charges a standard £16.80 no matter the cost of the item. 


This means that even if your item doesn't sell, you'll still be charged for the listing if you’ve listed it over 1,000 times on eBay that month. One benefit of eBay's selling fees is that there isn't a monthly subscription cost like Amazon's professional plan. 


How to integrate your business operations with eBay


Quick delivery times ensure that minimise the number of disputes you have against you and help improve your eBay sellers rating. Reducing delivery costs is important to ensure you make enough profit after sellers' fees. Mintsoft’s software can help solve these problems. 


Courier integrations with Mintsoft


Reducing delivery costs is important to ensure you make enough profit after sellers' fees. Mintsofts courier integration software takes your product information, such as weight, dimensions etc and chooses the cheapest courier available. 


Moreover, this software can reduce delivery times by automating several delivery processes, such as label printing and providing all the required invoice data. 


Multichannel Listing Software


Mintsoft’s multichannel listing software makes it simple to edit, update and manage your listings across multiple marketplaces. Ensuring your listings are visible and consistent across all platforms. 


Additionally, you can use our automated price syncing software by updating the price of individual products across all the marketplaces you use. 

Danielle Allen
By Danielle Allen Digital Content Manager

Danielle is a content writer at Access Mintsoft with an abundance of experience in the new and emerging technologies sector. Dedicated to providing ecommerce retailers and 3PL’s informative and easy-to-understand content that engages and empowers readers to learn about all things ‘order fulfillment’.