Reaching and connecting with a global audience through your business is the ultimate mark of success. And while you can reach tons of buyers through your online Shopify store, it’s also important to take an omnichannel approach, using other sales channels—like eBay—to help you capitalize on opportunities.
To sell on eBay, you’ll first need to establish your account and then add, optimize, and promote product listings. You’ll also set up shipping and have a chance to connect eBay to your Shopify store.
In this eBay selling guide, find out how to sell on the marketplace—and what it has to offer for online entrepreneurs.
How to sell on eBay for beginners in 7 steps
- Sign up for an eBay account
- Set up your seller account
- Create a listing
- Optimize your listing
- Select shipping and delivery
- Connect eBay to your Shopify store
- Promote your listing (optional)
1. Sign up for an eBay account
If you’re a registered business (sole proprietor, LLC, etc.) owner, you can open a seller account on the registration page. You’ll need to provide additional information, like your business name, type of business, and address, to sign up.
- Go to the registration page.
- Enter your business name and email address.
- Choose a password.
- Input your business location.
- Select Create account.
There’s an optional step of entering a username—you can change this later.
2. Set up your seller account
After you create your account, eBay will send an email so you can verify your account.
Next, you’ll be taken through a few questions about your business information—including whether you’re a sole prop, registered business, or nonprofit—and other key info, like business address, contacts and stakeholders, and bank information.
Take a moment to review and confirm everything, and then you’ll land on eBay’s homepage.
3. Create a listing
To list products on eBay, you’ll need inventory. If you’re an active and established seller, you’re good to go. If you’re new, add products to your store.
Once you have products ready for listing, select Create listing in the Seller Hub Listings dropdown menu.
Configure the following settings for your eBay listing:
- Product name or identifier
- Product description
- Category and details
- Quantity, price, weight, and other options
- Package settings and shipping details
- Item specs and variations
- Condition of the product
When you’re ready, click “Save your changes” and push it live.
4. Optimize your listing
Shoppers search for products on eBay using keywords. eBay assists buyers in finding merchandise that meets their search criteria so they can quickly decide which products they want to purchase.
Write effective product descriptions
Effective product descriptions are important for driving sales on eBay. Focus on benefits rather than features, like a water bottle that keeps liquids cold as opposed to describing the material used to make the water bottle, and include bullet points to break up dense information. Including relevant keywords and product identifiers ensures that your listings will appear whenever shoppers search for products you sell on eBay.
You can edit the title and description for each of your eBay listings and product pages. Do this carefully—searches on eBay commonly look something like this:
- “men’s nike air yeezy solar red shoes”
- “32gb apple iphone 7s unlocked”
- “red taekwondo rebreakable practice board for kids”
- “large brown macrame flower pot hangers”
To ensure that your listings appear in relevant shopper searches, include the following types of keywords in your listing titles, then set them as eBay identifiers:
- Brand (“Nike,” “Apple”)
- Model (“Air Yeezy,” “iPhone”)
- Product description (“shoes,” “rebreakable practice board”)
- Color (“red,” “rainbow,” “holographic”)
- Size (“women’s size 10,” “extra wide,” “35″ inseam”)
Add additional information about your products to your listing descriptions. Anticipate things shoppers need to know, like:
- What are the dimensions or measurements of this product?
- What size should I buy?
- What accessories are included?
- Is it a prestige product?
The more you answer questions like these, the less shoppers will hesitate before making a purchase—you’ll also spend less time answering queries from shoppers. Remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and make your product information easy to digest by providing it in a bulleted list, not in long paragraphs.
Your goal is to ensure that your products appear in search results whenever they’re relevant and that any shoppers clicking on and viewing your listings find enough persuasive product information to purchase from you.
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Include beautiful product photos
Reference any eBay seller guide, and you’ll find mention of product images. Equally important as your product descriptions are the product photos. Ensure that you have high-quality shots on white backgrounds to make it easy for browsers to check out your product. Highlight differentiating features with lifestyle or close-up shots.
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Determine your pricing
eBay’s marketplace is vast, with sellers offering the same product across a range of prices. Buyers make purchasing decisions based on a variety of factors, including selection, shipping cost, and sale terms—but a competitive price is still the most important factor.
You can choose one of two eBay selling options with different pricing strategies:
- The online auction. Auctions last from one to 10 days and can sometimes result in a higher price for your product. This option motivates buyers to compete with each other: you just need to list a starting price to spark interest. Auction-style listings are ideal for items in high demand with limited supply, such as rare sports collectibles. They are also helpful if you don’t know what price to choose for your item.
- Buy It Now. Also known as fixed-price listings, this option lets a buyer pay for something and have it shipped immediately. They don’t have to wait for an auction to end. Buy It Now is ideal for items that people buy on impulse, or for those with more supply than demand.
eBay accepts the following payment method options at checkout:
- Apple Pay
- Credit and debit card
- eBay gift card, eBay voucher, and eBay Bucks
- Google Pay
- Payment upon pickup
- PayPal and PayPal Credit
- Spendable funds
And the following are available in select cases and categories:
- Money order
- Online payment services (such as Allpay.net, CertaPay, Fiserv, Nochex.com, XOOM, etc.)
- Wire or bank transfer
5. Select shipping and delivery
Today’s buyers expect stores to offer free shipping. To appeal to more buyers, consider incorporating an item’s shipping cost into your price tag. Drive even more sales by offering expedited shipping options.
eBay Guaranteed Delivery
eBay Guaranteed Delivery (EGD) is a program offering shoppers guaranteed rapid delivery times without impacting participating sellers.
For listings to qualify for EGD, eBay sellers must offer same-day or one-day handling. eBay calculates the delivery date, then provides a guarantee to shoppers that their purchase will arrive on time. Research shows that shoppers buy first from merchants who deliver their orders in the three days or less, as promised by EGD.
To qualify for EGD, the eBay seller must complete a minimum of 100 transactions per year and have a late-shipment rate of less than 5%. Participating sellers are required to provide accurate handling times and upload on-time tracking information for their buyers.
The boost in visibility and sales offered by EGD easily offsets the additional work and promptness requirements.
Global Shipping Program
eBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP) is an easy way to connect your products with shoppers around the world.
Sellers using GSP don’t have to worry about any of the logistical details involved in international shipping. Instead, when an eligible item is purchased from abroad, sellers ship the parcel to eBay’s global shipping center, located in Kentucky, and eBay professionals do the rest, forwarding your delivery to its international destination and completing all required paperwork.
Shoppers love this option, not only because there are no surprise delivery fees, but also because clear end-to-end tracking details are provided for all shipments, letting them keep an eye on their order throughout its entire journey.
eBay sellers can opt individual listings into the Global Shipping Program or include it in their shipping options and policy by default, ensuring international shoppers receive quick and easy delivery of all listed items.
Create your return and exchange policies
Offering 30-day returns is a standard eBay best practice. Though other options are available, this policy is the most consistent with eBay buyer expectations. Offering free returns can further reassure customers about shopping with you, leading to even more sales.
All of this information is presented prominently to eBay shoppers—there’s no “fine print”—so work hard to align your listings to the platform’s expectations in order to be competitive.
6. Connect eBay to your Shopify store
Shopify Marketplace Connect streamlines your operations by centralizing order and inventory management. With features like bulk editing and attribute mapping, it allows for a tailored product experience on each platform, boosting your sales across multiple channels.
Shopify Marketplace Connect also allows you to connect your Shopify catalog with leading online platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay while ensuring seamless synchronization of your product listings.
“I think the majority of people want to do right by others, and they want to do good and provide a great shopping experience,” says Carl Martens, one of the founders of Aventuron, a Shopify merchant that sells bikes, camping, and overlanding gear. “eBay allows us to do that.”
7. Promote your listing (optional)
Promoted Listings is a simple tool for eBay sellers to get their products noticed by more people. It improves your placement in search to reach more buyers and drive more clicks. Sellers say they’ve seen up to a 36% increase in visibility by using Promoted Listings. All eBay Store subscribers are eligible for this service.
An eBay seller using Promoted Listings pays only for the service when an item sells. Promoted Listings users also enjoy access to additional tracking tools to help them adjust campaigns and maximize sales.
Seller Hub Promotions helps you create even more unique offers that move inventory and encourage purchases. Through Seller Hub Promotions, you can provide:
- Discounts based on order size
- Buy one, get one free offers
- Sale events
- Shipping discounts
- Codeless coupons
What to sell on eBay: Product research
Similar to Amazon, you can sell a variety of items on eBay, from shoes and jewelry to popcorn-scented pillows (yes, it’s a thing).
Some top product categories are:
Automotive: products like body and exterior parts and accessories; interior parts and accessories; motorcycle and scooter parts and accessories; lighting and bulbs; air and fuel delivery; engines and engine parts; starters, alternators, ecus, and wiring; auto electrics; and performance and racing parts.
- Business and industrial: top subcategories include industrial automation and motion controls: PLCs and HMIs; medical, lab, and dental supplies, equipment, devices and instruments; and test, measurement, and inspection equipment.
Clothing, shoes, and accessories: including both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as women’s bags and handbags, beauty, and watches.
- Collectibles: top subcategories include modern and historical military equipment and items; rocks, fossils and minerals; collectible knives, swords, and blades; and action figures.
- Computers/tablets and networking: laptops; netbooks; laptop replacement parts; printer ink, toner, and paper; video and PC gaming; and graphics/video cards.
- Health and beauty: fragrances; vitamins, minerals, and lifestyle supplements; and sexual wellness and other healthcare items.
- Home and garden: top subcategories include fireplaces, stoves, heating, and air conditioning systems; inverters for renewable energy devices and other outdoor power equipment; and small kitchen appliances.
- Jewelry and watches: watches and watch accessories, parts, tools, and guides; vintage and antique jewelry; and loose diamonds and gemstones.
eBay is mainly a platform for resellers. You’ll find a mix of amateur sellers and top-rated sellers, including professionals who spend time managing auctions, purchasing items, packaging products, and shipping goods.
You can also use eBay for dropshipping these kinds of products. This fulfillment method is where sellers list products on eBay without holding inventory. When a sale is made, the seller purchases the product from a third-party supplier who ships it directly to the customer on the seller’s behalf.
The costs of selling on eBay: eBay fees
Seller fees on eBay are straightforward. You pay two platform fees:
- Insertion fee, or listing fee, which you pay when listing a product on eBay. This fee applies only if you list more than 250 products per month. It’s free for casual sellers to list.
- Final value fee, or the portion of sales eBay keeps. If your item sells, you’ll pay 3% to 15% to eBay, depending on the product category, plus 30¢ per order.
The fees you pay depend on the number of listings you have and the product category you’re selling in.
The final value fee is based on the total amount of the sale, including the cost of the item, shipping price, sales tax, and other applicable fees.
Illustration by Pete Ryan
How to sell on eBay FAQ
How do beginners sell on eBay?
- Decide if you should sell on eBay.
- Create an eBay seller account.
- Connect eBay to your Shopify store.
- List your inventory as products on eBay.
- Make sales.
How much does it cost to sell something on eBay?
eBay has two platform fees.
- Insertion fee, or listing fee, which you pay when listing a product on eBay: This fee applies only if you list more than 250 products per month. It’s free for casual sellers to list.
- Final value fee, or the portion of sales eBay keeps: If your item sells, you’ll pay around 3% to 15% to eBay, plus 30¢ per order.
Is selling on eBay worth it?
- Online shoppers trust eBay
- You can auction items versus selling at a fixed price
- EBay can help your products get found on Google
- More 158 million people shop on eBay
- EBay offers shipping assistance
How can I sell on eBay for free?
If you’re a casual seller and list fewer than 250 products per month, you don’t pay a listing fee on eBay. You can pay up to 12.55% of the total sale price once an item is sold, depending on the product category you are selling in.