How to Sell on eBay for Beginners: An Easy Guide

Founded in 1995, eBay is an e-commerce company, with 182 million active users from over 190 different world markets, generating $10.9 billion in annual revenue. It's no wonder you want your piece of that pie. A weekend seller can earn reasonable profits, while a particularly ambitious, knowledgeable seller could earn a full-time income.  


Here is your guide to becoming a seller on eBay.

Before You Sell

Before you decide to become an eBay seller, there are a few things you should keep in mind. There is a fee structure to understand and the rules surrounding it. You certainly don't want to list a prohibited item or get the payment plan wrong. So, here are a few things you should know before you embark upon your new adventure.


Related: The Best Online Selling Sites for Your Apparel Company

What Are the Rules

It's vital that you know and follow the eBay rules for selling. This will ensure that you are received as a trustworthy and reliable seller. 

Prohibited Items

Among the items that you may not sell on eBay are:

  • Firearms or other weapons
  • Offensive material (pornography or racially/ethnically derogatory materials)
  • Chance listings (Giveaways, draws, raffles, etc.)
  • Illegal services

Profanity

Sellers shouldn't use profanity in their listings, posts, HTML and JavaScript functions, or on any external web pages linked to eBay. 

Selling Fees

The fees are unavoidable. How much you are charged depends on whether you are a private or business seller, how much your items cost, and how many items you list per month.   

shopping through a cellphone

Private and Business Accounts

The two basic accounts you can have on eBay are private and business. If you aren't a registered business account holder, you are automatically private. 


There are clear distinctions between the two accounts. So do a little research before you register for your account. 

 Selling Formats

When eBay first began, the selling format was a peer-to-peer marketplace based on auctions. It was later that they added the 'buy it now' feature. 

Auctions

The auction-style sales are what made eBay famous. Each auction runs for a specified number of days with would-be buyers biding up from the opening price. The highest bidder at the end of the process wins.  

Fixed Price

The fixed priced format, also known as 'Buy It Now,' allows sellers to declare the price. Buyers may purchase the item immediately - no bidding and no waiting. This method is convenient and hassle-free. 


Related:  eCommerce Marketing Strategies You Need to Know 

Set up an eBay Account

So now that you have the basic information on eBay and you still want to become a seller, here's your next step. You need to set up an eBay account. There is no charge for an eBay account that allows you to buy and sell on the platform. 


You'll need to have a bank account or credit card to open your eBay account. This is where you'll receive your payments. The site is secure, so your banking information will be protected. 


It's possible to have two eBay accounts (personal and business) but read the rules about this. You may not bid on your own item to drive the price up. This is called shill bidding, and it is illegal on the eBay platform. 

Set up a PayPal Account

You'll also need a PayPal account. This is eBay's preferred payment method for buyers and sellers. There is no charge for a PayPal account, and it links directly to your bank account or credit card.  

Your First Listing

You're ready to list your first item. This is exciting. Here are a few guidelines as you begin. 

Market Research

Do some market research when choosing that first item. Three categories of items that do exceptionally well on eBay are:

  • Used items
  • Autoparts
  • Closeouts

Decide whether you want to settle on niche items, or will you follow the trends. If you follow the trends, you may research what's selling well by checking on eBay or use Google Trends. You could find out what's selling and when the best time is to list specific items. 


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high quality picture of a pair of Nike shoes

High-Quality Pictures

Take the time to take high-quality photos against plain white backgrounds. This will help your item to be seen clearly and for its features to stand out. Ensure your lighting is adequate to show all of the item's details. Take photos from varying angles and varying distances. Try not to use props in the images that will distract or confuse shoppers. 

Developing Product Descriptions

After you ensure that your item is listed in the appropriate category and has a title that people would search for, you need to develop a good product description. Begin by telling the item's condition - new, new with tags, mint condition, refurbished, etc. Be as detailed as possible; this will reflect honesty and reliability. Then add the brand name, the make and model (if applicable), color, size, etc. Again, the more detail, the better. A thorough description is essential because if a customer complains that the item is not as described, you will have to refund their money. 

Set Your Price

To set the price of your item, you may refer to comparable items already selling on eBay. If you're using the auction format, set the beginning price at the minimum you would be willing to take. In addition to looking at competitors' prices to set your own, you can also use an appraisal tool to determine your item's value.

Managing Your Listings

You will have to learn to organize and keep track of your listings. Spreadsheets are a wise choice to keep track of a few items. But if you have hundreds or even thousands of items, a spreadsheet might drive you mad. A feed management platform can make things more manageable. This platform, used along with an e-commerce platform, will take your eBay business to another level. 


Related: The Best Online Payment Methods for Your eCommerce Store 


man shipping items in a box

Shipping Options

The speed and cost of delivery are significant concerns for eBay buyers. Today buyers expect to receive their orders quickly and with free shipping. Low shipping costs or free shipping will make your item more attractive to buyers. 

Dealing with Issues

If you become an eBay seller, you will inevitably have to deal with customer issues. 

What if they don't pay

Never ship an item you haven't been paid for. If the highest bidder does not respond to your invoices after a few days, you can raise a dispute with eBay. After eBay has tried to resolve it and the buyer still doesn't pay, you may notify the other bidders and accept the next highest bid. 

What if they want a refund

Ensure that you have accurately described the item and that it is well-packaged so that it arrives undamaged to the buyer. If you've done all of that and the customer has just changed their mind, you may refund them via the eBay platform. You can also ask that they return the item to get a refund. 

Unfair feedback

Feedback is critical on eBay, so if you receive unfair feedback, you have recourse. As long as the item was delivered as described, and you are faultless, malicious, and unfounded feedback can be removed. 


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Selling on eBay is an exciting opportunity. There are millions of buyers on the platform, and it's easy to set up an account. If you're prepared to do some research, you can become a successful seller.