Selling on eBay In 2021

Keren Dinkin

March 19, 2021

Selling on eBay In 2021

How has the pandemic affected you?

If the company you worked for was forced to close down or reduce your working hours, then you need to find an alternative source of income. These days, landing a second job may not be all that easy.

But with the entire populace in quarantine, a new opportunity has opened up.

Online shopping has increased exponentially and people today are shopping more on e-commerce platforms than ever before. 

One of the easiest ways to do it is by becoming an eBay seller. You can start right away. Read on to find out how.

Product Research Made Simple

Start with the white elephants in your home. Scour your garage, open your old boxes of memorabilia, look in every nook and cranny of your attic. If you can find collectibles, trendy items, and branded goods from bygone eras, chances are, there’s an eBay shopper ready and eager to pay for them.

home items
An easy way to start is to scour your garage, open your old boxes of memorabilia, look in every nook and cranny of your attic

When you’ve run out of used stuff to sell, you will have gotten your feet wet on the hows and whys of eBay, ready for the big guns of new and branded products.

Start Small, Progress to Medium, Graduate to Large

Selling what you already have means zero investment in products and 100% profits. You can now use your earnings to purchase items and expand your business.

Here are the different ways you can do that on eBay:

Continue Offering Used Goods

If you find that you are good at unearthing priceless antiques, why not make it a permanent thing? Many top eBay sellers began as hobbyists until they found it lucrative enough to be an additional income stream or even a main source of livelihood.

Reach out to your family, friends, and neighbors. Offer to buy their collectibles at garage sale prices, or volunteer to search for the items in exchange for getting them for free.

When you’ve exhausted your nearby sources, it’s time to visit thrift stores. Look for designer clothing, toys, board games, video games, media players, TV remotes, and books. These have a captured market on eBay. Just make sure they are all in good and working condition.

Shop Wholesale, Resell at Retail

Clearance sale products, particularly toys and electronics, have a high resale value on eBay. Visit Walmart, Target, bargain basements, or similar depots that focus on low prices.

Shop at low price stores
Visit Walmart, Target, bargain basements, or similar depots that focus on low prices

While at the store, scan the barcodes of your selected items using the eBay phone app to check their sale potential. Then, calculate your estimated profits using the Salecalc app. You don’t need to add shipping costs as you may charge your customers an additional fee for it.

You can then purchase the products in bulk and list them on eBay. This process is called Retail Arbitrage.

Private Labeling

Thanks to technology, you can now source products overseas that are offered at much lower prices. Online marketplaces, such as Alibaba and IndiaMart, cater to wholesale buyers.

The best part is, you can brand these goods your way. While this may be a longer process than other options, your ROI will be worth the effort in the long run. Also, you can build your brand on the side while selling your store-bought items.

What does private labeling involve? Coming up with a brand name, designing a logo and packaging, sourcing and selecting products, and shipping from the source country to your doorstep. All these are done online and may be outsourced.

Ensure Profitability

Adding your overhead expenses to your mark-up would not be enough to grow your business. You must also top up with the seller fees charged by eBay.

While signing up as an eBay seller is free, the platform needs to make money (of course), and it does so through insertion fees. This is what you pay each time you list an item, even in duplicate listings, and even if your item is not sold. An eBay seller is granted up to 200 free listings per month. Beyond this, you must pay 35 cents per listing. This fee applies to most products, with a few exceptions.

In addition, eBay charges a referral fee of up to 12.35% of the total price of your product, including shipping. The percentage depends on the category and can go as low as 4.35% for some categories.

Factor in Demand and Pricing

How can you determine the sales potential of your private-labeled products when you have no barcodes to scan and upload to the eBay app?

You guessed it. There’s also an eBay app for that! It’s called Terapeak, a tool that tells you the supply, demand, and pricing trends on the platform. It’s free with a Basic, Premium, Anchor, or Enterprise eBay Store subscription.

Down to Brass Tacks: How to Become an eBay Seller

Now that you know your business model options and the various ways you could find products to sell on eBay, let’s go through the process of how you can officially become a seller on this marketplace.

Create Your Account

The first step is signing up for a free subscription. You can upgrade later on to an eBay Store paid plan if you wish to do this full-time.

Just like with any membership, you will be asked to fill out your personal information, the most important of which is your choice of payment method(s). This is your bank account (checking, credit card, or debit card) where you will receive payments from customers and from which you will send seller fee payments to eBay.

With the platform’s Managed Payments tool, your customers’ payments are forwarded directly to your bank account. You may also opt for automatic deduction of seller fees from each transaction (recommended) instead of manually doing it monthly.

Craft Your Listings

Now you’re ready to list your products. This may be done in minutes, literally, on a computer or smartphone, but it is advisable to take your time. Give your products a competitive edge by making your listings stand out from your competition and by taking advantage of all the elements available.

eBay allows sellers to upload up to 12 images per product. Make sure to take very clear high-resolution photos under excellent lighting and from every possible angle, including the packaging and labels. Next, compose a well-written product description highlighting features and focusing on their benefits. 

Then, fill out the product specs carefully. Double-check if the dimensions, weight, colors, and other attributes are correct. Pay attention to your returns, replacements, and money-back guarantees.

And finally, choose your pricing. Buy It Now locks in an item’s price, while Auction opens it up for bidding. Also, make it clear if shipping is included in the sales price or added on checkout.

Take Care of Fulfillment and Shipping

Unlike Amazon, eBay does not provide fulfillment and shipping. But don’t worry, you won’t be left out in the cold. You can purchase shipping labels on the platform, enter the weight and dimensions of your product, provide the ship-to address of your customers, and then print them out.

If you wish, you may pack your items in advance so that when a sale comes in, all you need to do is purchase, print, and stick the label. You’ll be ready to take the package to or request pickup from FedEx, UPS, or USPS in minutes.

Once done, do not forget to mark the order as shipped so your customer will know when to expect the delivery.

eBay also offers its sellers the option to ship internationally. You can find this option in the Delivery section of your account. The Global Shipping Program accepts parcels in their domestic shipping center, where they are processed through customs and shipped to their respective destination countries.

Mind Your Customer Service

Going through your product preparation meticulously before shipping is preferable over handling complaints – or worse, negative feedback – post-delivery. Here are some steps you can take to avoid the latter:

  • Create accurate listings, from the images and product description to the specs and shipping costs add-on
  • Pack your products tightly with protective wrapping and ensure they go out in durable packaging
  • Ship out orders the same day you receive them, or the next day at the latest
  • Offer a 30-day return policy, or even 60 days if possible
  • Respond to customers’ messages asap or within 24 hours

Promote Your Products

If you are an Above Standard or Top Rated seller with recent sales activity, then you can advertise your eBay listings on the platform. Simply tick the Sell It Faster option at the bottom of the summary page, and set your ad rate based on the percentage of the final sale price that you’re willing to pay to eBay. They will match your rate with the corresponding promotion, including placing your listing on top of the search results.

The great thing about advertising on the eBay platform is that charges apply only on sold items, and not on the frequency of your ad placement.


When the economy is unstable, it’s always wise to have a Plan B that you can fall back on to cover your daily expenses. Being an eBay seller is an attractive alternative you must explore. It doesn’t require a starting capital, and you can get up and running in a day.

And if you put in the work, it may even turn out to be your Plan A.

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