Listing on eBay [Step By Step Beginners Guide]

Whether you’ve been selling online and want to try your hands on eBay selling or are a complete novice seller, chances are you’ve heard of eBay before. Initially, eBay was known for buying second-hand and unique second-hand items. But over the years, the online selling platform has evolved – and grown (tremendously, at that!).

If you’d like to build a reliable secondary income source by setting up eBay stores, you’ve come to the right place. This complete guide on selling on eBay provides the most crucial information you must know to become a successful eBay seller.


Article Overview:
Introduction to eBay
eBay Account Setup
Understanding eBay’s Fee Structure
Technical Aspects of Creating a Product Listing
Crafting a Compelling Product Description
Selecting a Listing Format
Pricing Your Item
Shipping and Handling
Promoting Your Listing
After Sales Process and Problem Resolution
Understanding and Gathering Feedback
Final Thoughts on eBay Listing

Introduction to eBay

There are many options for online marketplace and e-commerce platforms, and one of the biggest names is eBay. The website launched in 1995 and was known as an auction site. Online sellers would set up an account on eBay where they would list second-hand and antique items for auction. When it launched, the website was known as AuctionWeb, indicating its identity as an auction site. It was renamed to eBay in 1997.

The first item sold on eBay was a laser pointer, which the owner listed to test if anyone would be interested in buying an item for auction. To his surprise, the item sold for $14.83! That’s when eBay continued to evolve as an e-commerce platform, allowing sellers to list items and goods for sale to make a profit.

As eBay grew, it streamlined the selling process to include person-to-person trading and online sales. Indeed, some eBay sellers still offer local pickup and delivery, but most of the potential buyers are located globally. It allowed sellers to list an item on eBay and showcase that product to millions of users worldwide.

EBay’s first official global expansion occurred in 1999 when it started operations in Australia, UK, and Germany. Throughout the years, eBay would introduce new features and functionalities to help sellers and buyers from other countries use the services.

And while eBay initially started as an auction site, the e-commerce platform evolved to offer brand new products and dropshipping. Users (especially sellers) were able to capitalize on the eBay offerings to build an online store and start selling with the minimum capital required. The website has even created a reputation for offering lower price than other retail stores on the web, which translated to more sales opportunities for sellers.


eBay Account Setup

If you want to start selling products on eBay, setting up an eBay account is the first thing you must know. The eBay registration is streamlined and takes only a few steps. It is crucial to go through the sign-up process to become eligible to sell via the platform and set up your eBay business.

But why set up an eBay account? Here is a quick overview of the perks of selling on eBay:

  • You can set up an eBay account from anywhere in the world.
  • You can get free listings – and you’re only charged a percentage of the sold items.
  • You can get 250 free monthly eBay listings for the most basic account.


Step 1: Create an eBay account.

First, you have two options when creating an eBay account: Personal or Business. If you use your eBay account to browse and buy items online, choose the Personal account. But if you want to set up an eBay store or start selling online on eBay, choose the Business account type.

Once you have created your eBay account, you can choose the store subscription for your eBay store. Your choice will depend on your budget and the stage in your online selling journey. The store subscription level varies if you are a startup or a large enterprise dealing with high-volume orders. The fee structure varies; you will learn more about that in the succeeding sections.

After filling out the required information to set up your account on eBay, you will be prompted to set up your account preferences. It includes adding your contact address and telephone number. You can choose to sign up or skip the promotional emails from eBay.

After this step, you can start selling or buying on the ecommerce platform.

Step 2: Add a Payment Option

Once you’ve set up your eBay account, the next step is to link your bank account or add your preferred payment method. It is important to link your bank account to your eBay account to receive payment for the sold items on your listings easily. You can find out more about setting up your payment methods using the eBay Managed Payments guide here.

To edit your payment method, go to your account, choose Payment Information and click Payments, where you must click the Add Payment option. You can link a debit or credit card to your account.

You will go through an account verification process, and once that is completed, you are good to go!

Understanding eBay’s Fee Structure

Since eBay is a huge online marketplace, keeping the service running costs much money. It is important to educate yourself about the selling fees on eBay to ensure your profitability and to determine your budget to set up an eBay business.

Understanding eBay’s fee structure can be daunting, especially for beginners. To start, there are a lot of eBay fees! But first, let’s break them down into two categories: the optional eBay fees and the mandatory eBay fees.

The mandatory eBay fees are those that you must pay regardless of your account type and your store subscription level. The first mandatory fee on eBay is the insertion fee, or the amount you pay eBay to list products via the online marketplace. The insertion fees are paid whether or not you sell the item listed. The fee applies for all active listings, which means the more product listings you create, the higher your insertion fees.

You can bypass the insertion fee when you opt for a store subscription, but the amount of listing you can create per month varies according to your subscription level. It would make more sense to pay for the store subscription if you plan on creating multiple listings, especially since insertion fees are charged per listing and per category. Even if you’re selling just one item, you are potentially paying two insertion fees if that item is listed in two categories. If you opt out of the store subscription, the standard insertion fee is $0.35 per listing. However, some categories charge higher insertion fees.

The next mandatory fee on eBay is the final value fee. The final value fees could vary between 12% to 15%. You must pay the biggest fee for listing and selling an item on eBay. The final value fee is the amount you pay eBay for every sale made on the platform.

The total amount of sales and the product category are two factors that influence the final cost of the final value fee. It is a percentage-based fee plus $0.30 per order. For example, women’s handbags have the highest final value fees at 15% (especially if the items are valued at over $2,000). Jewelries and watches also have a final value fee of 15%. Most other product categories range from 8 to 12%. You can check eBay’s full breakdown of the final value fees per category here.

Next to the mandatory fees, there are optional fees when selling on eBay. The first is the store subscription fee, which starts at $4.95 per month for the Starter Store and can go up to $2,999 monthly for the Enterprise store. Each subscription level varies in the number of eBay listings you can create and the features or tools you can access. The higher your subscription, the cheaper your insertion fees per listing (if it exceeds the number of listings allowed for your subscription level).

You can also pay for listing upgrades. The average cost is from $0.50 to $6 per item. The promoted listings are ideal for sellers who want more sales by showcasing their products in front of a larger audience. Since there are more sellers on eBay, you can pay for your listing to ensure it reaches your target audience. In addition, various listing upgrades are available, such as bolding your titles in eBay search results to make them stand out visually or letting eBay users see a larger version of the featured product image on your listing to entice potential buyers.

You can also pay for promoted listings, an ad that increases visibility for your listing on eBay. The cost for each promotion varies, but the ad rate starts at 2% of the value of the item being promoted. Obviously, the higher ad rates mean you can expand the listing’s reach.

Consider these fees when calculating your profit margin to ensure you can get more sales on eBay.


Technical Aspects of Creating a Product Listing

After setting up your eBay account and understanding the various eBay fees, it’s time to start listing your items for sale. Selling products on eBay is not easy, as many other sellers might offer the same item. You must follow the best practices for listing a product on eBay, such as writing compelling product descriptions and item specifics and choosing the right category.

Here are the tips about the eBay listing process to increase visibility when selling products.


1. Know Your Product

You must fully understand your selling product before listing it on eBay. You have to know the key features and uses of the product so you can highlight the item specifics and item details that your customers would want to know. Research how other sellers list the product so you can optimize it better. Don’t limit yourself to doing product research within the eBay platform, and expand your research to other websites.


2. Use High Quality Images

Aside from providing additional details about the product, it is important to have high quality images to go with the listing description. The photos enable your buyers to visualize the product before they buy it.

But why emphasize the quality of the images? First, it reflects on your professionalism as a seller. The more professional-looking your photos are, the more you can attract potential buyers.

Using high quality photos is also important so that your buyers can clearly assess the item before they buy it. Ideally, use a clear or white background to help the product stand out. Adding a video to the listing is recommended as it is more interactive.

If you are selling second-hand or antique items, include a photo if there are any imperfections, such as dents or scratches on the item.


3. Good Item Specifics

The Item Specifics section is important to optimize when listing and selling products on eBay. If possible, fill out all the required sections to provide as many additional details as possible. The idea is to help answers get all the information they must know about a product to help decide if it is worth buying (or not).


4. Item Description

The item description must be clearly filled out with a short paragraph introducing the product and its features and benefits. Aside from the short item description, you must include the payment, shipping, and returns policies on the listing page.

When writing the item description, you can write it in paragraph form or bullet points. Use proper font settings to make it easy to read and visible. If you are selling products within the same niche, you can create a custom template, so it will be easier to edit the description for the rest of the items.

Crafting a Compelling Product Description

The product description is a crucial component of your eBay product listing. You must ensure that you can write a captivating description that engages the potential buyers and optimizes the eBay SEO for your store. An effective product description on eBay makes your product listings stand – out and converts your target audience.

The first step to writing a compelling product description is to use keywords. Conduct keyword research before creating a listing on eBay so you know which keywords to target and optimize for your online store and products. When selling on eBay, you are competing with millions of other sellers who might be selling the same thing, so you should improve your eBay SEO strategy to get your products in front of as many people as possible (particularly in eBay search results).

The next step to writing a compelling product description is to highlight the benefits of your product by adding the item details and its unique features (if any). Your product description on the listing must include any features and benefits that convince consumers to buy the item. It is also best to provide additional details that make the product stand out from others your competitors are selling.

Finally, your product listing must describe the item’s condition if it’s not brand new. Listing second-hand items on eBay requires you to be honest with potential buyers about the product’s condition. Make sure to indicate that to help your audience maintain a realistic expectation of the product quality before they purchase from your eBay business.

These are the best practices to remember when writing an eBay description to make your products stand out and increase visibility on the platform.


Selecting a Listing Format

When listing an item on eBay, you have another important decision: the listing format. You have two options with eBay that make it unique from other e-commerce platforms: auction style listing or fixed price listing. Let’s delve into each type of listing to find out the ideal choice for your eBay store.


Auction Style Listing on eBay

Why consider auction style listing? This listing style is ideal if you have a high-demand item worth more than its retail value. You can garner a higher profit margin if you put the item up for auction than using the fixed price listing style. For example, you have a collectible or rare item that avid collectors would be willing to pay money for. Take advantage of the item’s rarity and limited supply to boost your profits.

An auction style listing is available on the website for a 3- to 10-day period. You can set the auction duration, but timing is crucial to maximize the item’s value and attract enough buyers willing to pay for the item. Adequate research and planning are required to succeed in eBay’s auction-style listing format.

If you have other items that (for whatever reason) are not moving as quickly as you’d like to, you can try putting them up for auction. This listing approach not only helps you to gain profit from that item, but it also helps build awareness for your eBay business. The sense of urgency inspired by hosting an auction can generate buyer interest.

Are there potential downsides to the auction style listing format? The most obvious possibility is that the winning bidder backs out on the purchase. Adding a ‘Buy it Now’ option allows the interested (and sure) buyer to purchase the item immediately instead of waiting for someone to place the highest bid only to back out at the last minute. You should also consider the listing fee charged per auction listing and ensure you have an adequate profit margin.


Fixed Price Listing on eBay

A fixed price listing is another method to consider when creating your product listings on eBay. Compared to auction listings, fixed price listings have a lower insertion fee ($0.02 per item). Unlike auctions, interested buyers can purchase the item they want immediately.

But is it a better option than auction listings? The main advantage of fixed price listings is knowing how much profit you earn per item. There are no surprises when it comes to how much you could potentially earn from your online store. Also, when you sell an item, you are guaranteed payment for that item.

Once you upload the product listing, you have up to 30 days to list the item on your eBay store. There is also an option to list the item as “Good Til Cancelled,” which allows you to renew the listing every 30 days until you sell that item. It is a suitable option if you own several pieces of the item you sell on eBay.

Using the fixed price listing is recommended for online sellers who want to slowly but gradually grow their business. It favors long-term profitability over quick sales. However, you can still employ promotional tactics to get your customers to purchase the items.


Pricing Your Item

Setting a competitive pricing strategy is a secret to a successful eBay business. When pricing, you must consider two factors: the profitability of your products and the market price.

The first thing you must do is conduct market and product research. Gather information about other sellers’ pricing strategies for the same item on eBay. It will give you a rough idea of what prices the customers are willing to pay for an item.

You can also use eBay’s pricing recommendations to figure out a sweet spot in pricing that is competitive but offers you a good profit margin. The pricing recommendation from eBay is computer-generated using data analytics, so it isn’t 100% reliable. You must still do your own market and product research to get a clearer picture of the best pricing strategy on eBay.

And finally, take advantage of pricing psychology when listing your items on eBay. Have you noticed why eBay sellers list items for $19.99 instead of $20? There is a psychology behind this because $19.99 seems cheaper than $20. Thus, you can entice more potential buyers and get more sales with this pricing strategy.


Shipping and Handling

Shipping and handling are other aspects of listing an item on eBay that you must consider. eBay sellers can choose from three shipping options on this online selling platform, and they vary in shipping costs.

  • Self-Service eBay Shipping – The first of three shipping options on eBay allows you to choose your preferred courier service. As a seller, it is your responsibility to compute the shipping cost for each provider to maximize your profit margin and reduce the shipping costs your buyers have to shoulder. You need a shipping calculator based on the item’s size and weight to help you accurately calculate the shipping costs.
  • eBay Dropshipping – The eBay dropshipping program is another option wherein you will work with a supplier to fulfill your orders. They will also be the ones to handle the shipping of the items so you can earn money from eBay without doing any work.
  • Third-Party Logistics Providers – Using a third-party logistics provider is another one of several shipping options available to eBay. This option provides unique benefits, such as better packaging and faster shipping. It is the best option for eBay business owners who sell the same items in large quantities.

When listing your items on eBay, it’s important to include your shipping policy so that your customers know the shipping times and methods available. You must also offer eBay shipment tracking for your customers so they know when they can expect their orders to arrive. Providing a tracking number to your customers also builds trust and boosts your credibility.

If you want to attract more sales, you can also offer your customers free shipping. It is a marketing tactic that would help them buy from you, but consider the shipping costs involved.

You can check out this comprehensive guide to shipping on eBay to find out more.

Promoting Your Listing

Promoted listings are one of the tools available to sellers on the eBay platform to expand the visibility of their listings and rank higher on eBay search results. While it is possible to increase visibility with the promoted listings tool, it’s important to prioritize the user experience by applying the best practices for listing on eBay.

So, who is eligible to promote their eBay listing? Anyone with an eBay store or a Top Rated status on eBay.

Your promoted listings will be labeled “Sponsored” when they appear on the eBay search results. It won’t guarantee that your listings will appear number one, but they will be more visible than if you rely on organic optimization. The ranking of the promoted listing will also depend on its relevance to the search.

The cost of promoted listings varies based on the final sale price. It can be 1% or up to 20% depending on the value of sold items. The good thing is that eBay won’t take their percentage until the item sells.

Aside from using the built-in advertising tool on eBay and optimizing for search results, you can also promote your listings by sharing on social media. Social media promotion is an organic way of expanding the reach of your eBay online business, provided that you target the products to suit your followers on social media. Targeted social media promotion for your eBay listing can boost your conversions and increase engagement for your business at no cost.


After Sales Process and Problem Resolution

Once your products are sold, your work is not done yet. You must develop a solid after-sales strategy to ensure a positive customer experience.

The most common issue sellers will face on eBay is handling return requests. It happens if a customer is unsatisfied with the quality of the product or it is defective. Like your shipping policy, you must be transparent about your returns policy and include that in the listing description.

Some sellers don’t accept returns, while others do. Create a policy that you think would best fit online store goals. Meanwhile, some sellers who allow returns give customers up to 14 days to request a return. Your returns policy should clearly state the instructions on initiating product returns to clarify for all parties, especially those paying for the return postage or if the buyer pays for it. In addition, some sellers request that the item be kept in the original box upon returning it. Some sellers can provide refunds for defective items upon the buyer’s request.

Aside from returns, dealing with disputes is another issue that many sellers on eBay must deal with. If a buyer opens a payment dispute, you can accept or challenge the dispute. When you accept the dispute, the amount will be automatically taken from your account and refunded to the buyer. But when you challenge the dispute, your buyer will be prompted to show evidence that the product is defective.

Communicating with buyers after the completion of the sale is critical. Ensure you have a plan for handling returns and dealing with disputes to maintain a positive seller rating on the platform. Your responsibility in building your store brand does not end after selling on eBay.


Understanding and Gathering Feedback

You must be wary of how you handle the after-sales process because the reviews and feedback from buyers can significantly impact your seller performance.

The seller rating is a system that eBay has implemented to determine the best and most reputable sellers on the platform. Buyers will review the seller’s rating and feedback score when deciding whether to buy from you. The higher the seller rating and feedback score, the more buyers will trust and do business with you.

Buyers have the option to rate each seller after each transaction. You can see the feedback score and seller rating under the seller’s username, displayed as a percentage (95%). A higher feedback score means buyers had a generally positive experience with a particular eBay seller. Meanwhile, buyers can see or leave detailed seller ratings according to Item Description, Communication, Shipping Time, and Shipping and Handling Charges.

So, why is it important to care about getting positive reviews on eBay? It is significant because it says a lot about you as a seller and the experience that buyers have had with you. It helps you confidently sell and informs buyers before they finalize a purchase with your store.


Final Thoughts on eBay Listing

eBay selling is not an easy journey. There are many challenges and obstacles that you must deal with on top of the intense level of competition. However, understanding the best practices for profitable selling and creating a successful listing is the first step toward making more sales on the platform.

Optimizing your listing is the main goal, but you must do it accurately so buyers feel good about their purchase. Ultimately, knowing how to list an item on eBay and showcasing its features and benefits could impact your overall feedback score. Unless you do that, you can bring more people into your listing but won’t create a successful conversion.

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