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Learn How To Dropship on eBay (2023)

Searching for a profitable, low-cost business idea you can run on just a few hours a week? Look no further than eBay dropshipping.

eBay is the preferred marketplace for online sellers—and for good reason. With 159 million active buyers making 1.7 billion monthly visits to the site each month, dropshipping on eBay allows business owners to tap into that ready-made customer base and sell products—even if they don’t have physical inventory to sell.

Want in? This guide shares everything you need to know about eBay dropshipping, from sourcing the right products to maintaining high profit margins.

The complete guide to eBay dropshipping 🛍

What is eBay dropshipping?

eBay Dropshipping is a fulfillment business method 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. In essence, dropshipping is the fulfillment model used in this process.

It’s a popular way to start a business with no money, since dropshipping has a low barrier to entry. There’s no need for you to physically touch the items you’re selling, or to store inventory in your own warehouse. Order details pass straight through to your dropshipping supplier, and it’s their job to pick, pack, and ship the order to your eBay customer.

John Frigo, ecommerce manager at Best Price Nutrition uses dropshipping to offer customers more of what they want, “Dropshipping allows us to carry a lot of brands and products we otherwise wouldn’t be able to carry, as either we don’t have the space in our warehouse or we don’t have the funds to buy all of the stock.”

That said, eBay dropshipping does have its downsides—namely low profit margins and high competition. The items you choose and the way you source them plays a large role in how to sell on eBay.

What to dropship on eBay

EBay’s online marketplace sells almost anything you can think of. When finding a product to dropship, consider items in the most popular categories:

  • Disposable face masks
  • Cellphones
  • Men’s fragrances
  • Video games
  • Headphones
Chart showing leading items sold on eBay from February 2021
Leading items sold per listing per week on eBay in the United States in February 2021. Statista

Before choosing your dropshipping products, reference them against eBay’s list of restricted or prohibited products. Items like alcohol, cosmetics, fertilizer/pesticides, jewelry, and vehicle parts are under strict regulations. It’s best to avoid those if this is your first time dropshipping through eBay.

Things to know before dropshipping on eBay

EBay’s marketplace only allows dropshippers to source products from a genuine trade-only or wholesale supplier—not another retailer. Violating these rules could result in account suspension.

According to eBay dropshipping policy, “If you use drop shipping, you’re still responsible for the safe delivery of the item within the time frame you stated in your listing and for the buyer’s overall satisfaction with their purchase.”

You’ll also need to pay eBay fees when dropshipping through the marketplace, including:

  • Insertion fees: Get 200 free listings per month. After that, it’s 35¢ per listing.
  • Final value fees: If an item is sold, eBay takes 12.9% of the sale price up to $7,500, plus 30¢ per order. (This can vary depending on the product category.)
  • Store fees: $4.95/month for 250 free listings. Plans for dropshippers with more than 1,000 monthly listings start at $21.95/month.

How to dropship on eBay

Ready to start making money through eBay dropshipping? Here’s a step-by-step guide to opening a successful dropshipping store.

1. Create an eBay seller account

You’ll need a seller account to start selling through your own eBay store.

Head to the registration page and enter basic information about your dropshipping business. Next, subscribe to the eBay store option that best suits your needs, and link your checking account to get paid for sales you make.

Chart comparing pricing models for eBay accounts

After you choose an eBay store name, consider if you want to sync eBay to Shopify using an app like DSers. You’ll be able to see inventory levels all in one place, manage business policies, and communicate with buyers—all through one dashboard.

Further reading: From eBay to Shopify: This Tech Reseller Achieves 6-Figure Monthly Sales

2. Find profitable products

Next, do product research to discover which items will sell best on eBay. Head to eBay’s bestsellers page and investigate whether you can source similar products at a lower-than-RRP through dropshipping sites like Alibaba or AliExpress. Kristin Stump, marketing manager at MyEnamelPins, has this advice about choosing your products, “Products that are small and lightweight are generally the easiest to ship, and products with a low return rate are less likely to cause issues with your customers.”

The best dropshipping products are:

  • Hobbyist or business products
  • Items people purchase repeatedly
  • Popular products often bought through eBay

3. Vet your dropshipping suppliers

Once you’ve found a product to dropship on eBay, look for a supplier that can provide you with the item at a lower-than-retail price. Dropshipping websites exist to connect eBay store owners with wholesalers, such as:

The supplier you choose is arguably one of the most important factors when dropshipping on eBay. The marketplace requires brands to deliver items within 30 days of a customers’ order being placed.

Vet yours by checking each dropshipping suppliers’ seller rating, previous customer reviews, delivery times and fees.

4. Price your product

eBay dropshipping can be a lucrative business model—but only if you’re leaving enough room between the product’s purchase and resale price. For example, it’ll be hard to make substantial revenue if each item has just a $1 profit margin.

To determine the price of your dropshipping products, consider:

  • Product costs
  • Competitor pricing
  • Other business expenses, such as eBay listing fees and shipping costs
  • How much profit you want to make

Pricing is more of an art than an exact science. Start collecting data and monitoring what comparable products are selling for through the platform. Tweak your product pricing until you find a profitable middle ground between competitive prices and a customers’ willingness to spend.

5. Create your eBay listing

Create a listing for each of the items you’re dropshipping on eBay.

Pay close attention to the following areas, including keywords that your target customer is searching for. It’ll influence how likely the algorithm is to show your product listing to potential buyers:

  • Product title
  • Product descriptions
  • High-quality images
  • Customer reviews
  • Returns policies (check whether your dropshipping supplier will handle these)

6. Forward order information to suppliers

The responsibility of picking, packing, and shipping items sold on eBay is with your supplier.

Use dropshipping software like DSers or AutoDS to automate this communication. Both apps automatically feed order details through to your supplier, show its stage in the order fulfillment process, and relay shipping tracking numbers to customers.

Tips for success with eBay dropshipping

EBay dropshipping isn’t an overly complicated process. However, there are some things that will set your new business up for success when using this fulfillment model on the marketplace.

  • Use an inventory management system. Shopify dropshipping apps like DSers merge inventory data from all sales channels—including your online store and eBay storefront—so you can view sales and customer information in one place.
  • Prioritize customer support. EBay customers likely won’t know that you’re working with dropshipping suppliers. If a supplier fails to meet guaranteed delivery times or ships products different from what a customer ordered, take full responsibility. Respond to support requests in a timely manner to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Build strong relationships with suppliers. According to John Frigo, “It’s important to have a relationship and communication with your seller so if a product is discontinued, out of stock, or the price changes, you can be informed of that so you’re not selling items you can’t fulfill and later have to cancel.”
  • Invest in promoted listings. Depending on profit margins, you can attract more customers through eBay promoted listings. These in-marketplace advertisements boost the chances of target customers seeing your dropshipped products.
  • Add a multi-buy offer. Increase average order value using multi-buy offers, such as one product for $5 or three for $12. This can increase the profitability of your dropshipping business since there’s no need to pay shipping or import fees several times.

Further reading: ​​Amazon Dropshipping Guide: How To Dropship on Amazon

Start your eBay dropshipping business

With so many customers using eBay to discover new products, the dropshipping business model is a way for you to capitalize on their spend.

Use the tips in this guide to source bestselling products, price each item, and find the right supplier. Cover all bases and it’s possible to build a lucrative business through eBay dropshipping.

eBay dropshipping FAQ

Is eBay dropshipping profitable?

Dropshipping on eBay is low-risk and profitable. The secret to making a living through this business, though, is sourcing low-cost items and selling them via the marketplace for a higher markup.

How much does it cost to dropship on eBay?

Alongside the cost of each product, eBay dropshippers do pay extra fees to sell through the marketplace. That includes listing fees (35¢ per listing after the 250 free allowance per month), final value fees (up to 12.9% of a product’s sale price), and store subscriptions (starting at $4.95 per month).

Is dropshipping on eBay worth it?

Dropshipping on eBay is a profitable business model. It’s worth considering if you’re a new entrepreneur looking for a low-cost, small business idea.

How much does it cost to dropship on eBay?

Alongside the cost of each product, eBay dropshippers do pay extra fees to sell through the marketplace. That includes listing fees (35¢ per listing after the 250 free allowance per month), final value fees (up to 12.9% of a product’s sale price), and store subscriptions (starting at $4.95 per month).

What are the best eBay dropshipping suppliers?

Reliable suppliers are the key to eBay dropshipping success. Find suppliers on sites like AliExpress and Alibaba. Check each individual supplier’s seller rating, customer reviews, and estimated delivery times.

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