How To Sell on eBay for Beginners in 2023

how to sell on ebay

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.

“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 business that sells bikes, camping, and overlanding gear. “EBay allows us to do that.”

Now let’s explore what eBay has to offer for online entrepreneurs.

How to sell on eBay: A step-by-step guide

1. Create an eBay account

If you’re a registered business (sole proprietor, LLC, etc.), you can open a business account on the registration page. You’ll need to provide additional information, like your business name, type of business, and address to sign up.

  1. Go to the registration page.
  2. Enter your business name and email address.
  3. Choose a password.
  4. Input your business location.
  5. Select Create account.

EBay business account registration interface.

After you create an eBay account, you can open your store. Start with the optional step of entering a user name—you can also change this later.

EBay business username interface.

Next, you’ll be taken through a few forms to fill out your business information. Answer the questions to the best of your ability.

EBay business account setup interface.

Add your business and owner/stakeholder information, link your bank account, then take a moment to review and confirm everything. After clicking Continue, you’ll land on eBay’s homepage.

2. Set up your eBay Store 

Opening an eBay Store is a good way to expand your brand presence, especially if you establish a look and feel consistent between your store and your individual product listings. Subscribing to an eBay Store gives you discounted fees and more free listings per month, plus additional tools to promote your business on the platform.

EBay Store subscribers can access a number of useful tools to help distinguish their products. Personalizing your eBay profile and seller ID are small, easy ways to elevate your brand professionally. EBay Store subscribers enjoy:

  • Lower eBay selling fees
  • Increased visibility in search results
  • Discounts on eBay-branded shipping supplies
  • Control over their own branded or unbranded store pages

You’ll need to link a checking account for payouts to subscribe. You’ll also want to understand which eBay Store features you’ll need to be able to compare packages and select the best one for you.

EBay Store advantages.

Once you subscribe, you can name your store and start listing. Ideally, your eBay Store name should match your brand. If you still need a brand name, find ideas with Shopify’s business name generator. Choose a name that reflects the products you’re going to start selling and isn’t in use by another company.

Interface of Shopify business name generator tool.

3. List items for sale

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 to go, 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
  • Pricing

You’ll also have the chance to add product photos and videos.

When you’re ready, click save your changes and push it live.

4. Optimize your listings 

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.

Including relevant keywords and product identifiers ensures your listings will appear whenever shoppers search for products you sell on eBay.

product listing

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 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”)

product listing 2

Add additional information about your products to your listing descriptions. Anticipate things shoppers need to know:

  • 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. 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 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.

5. 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:

  1. The online auction. Auctions last from one to 10 days and can sometimes result in a higher price for your product. It 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 sell at.
  2. Buy It Now. Also known as fixed-price listings. This 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 people buy on impulse or where there is 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:

  • Check
  • Escrow
  • Money order
  • Online payment services (such as Allpay.net, CertaPay, Fiserv, Nochex.com, XOOM, etc.)
  • Wire or bank transfer

6. Set up your shipping options and speed

Today’s buyers expect stores to offer free shipping. To appeal to more buyers, consider incorporating this 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 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 put your products in front of 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.

7. 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.

8. Use Promoted Listings and Seller Hub Promotions

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.

promotions manager

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).

Interface of eBay bestselling items.

At time of writing, eBay’s best product categories are:

  • Automotive: things 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.
  • Clothing, shoes, and accessories: including both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as women’s bags and handbags.
  • 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.
  • Collectibles: top subcategories include modern and historical military equipment and items; rocks, fossils and minerals; and collectible knives, swords, and blades.
  • 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.
  • Jewelry and watches: watches and watch accessories, parts, tools, and guides; vintage and antique jewelry; and loose diamonds and gemstones.
  • Health and beauty: fragrances; vitamins, minerals, and lifestyle supplements; and sexual wellness and other health care items.
  • Computers/tablets and networking: laptop replacement parts; printer ink, toner, and paper; and graphics/video cards.

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.

The costs of selling on eBay: eBay fees

Seller fees on eBay are straightforward. You pay two platform fees:

ebay 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, the product category you’re selling in, and whether you have an eBay Store subscription.

ebay fees

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.

Your eBay Store subscription will also come with a fee, which breaks down as follows:

EBay Store subscription fees.

EBay and Shopify integration

There are a few Shopify apps to help you link your eBay store to your ecommerce website. Check out the following:

  • CedCommerce eBay Integration: This app allows you to import eBay orders to Shopify; do bulk listings; list, edit, and manage products; and track inventory and orders. There’s a free plan for up to 50 products and 10 orders per month, or you can upgrade to Bronze, with 500 products and 100 orders, for $29 per month; Silver, with 2,000 products and 500 orders, for $49 per month; or Gold, with 5,000 products and 1,000 orders; for $79/month.
  • Codisto Amazon, eBay & Walmart: Integrate your Shopify site with eBay as well as other sales channels for real-time order and inventory syncing. Pricing starts at $29 per month for 50 orders, $59 per month for 250 orders, $99 per month for 500 orders, and $249 per month for 1,500 orders.
  • Professional Importer For eBay: This app is great if you want to import your eBay products and pricing to your Shopify website. It’s free to install—pricing depends on how many products you import.

Illustration by Pete Ryan

How to sell on eBay FAQ

How do beginners sell on eBay?

  1. Decide if you should sell on eBay.
  2. Create an eBay seller account.
  3. Connect eBay to your Shopify store.
  4. List your inventory as products on eBay.
  5. Make sales.

How much does it cost to sell something on eBay?

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 12.55% to eBay, plus 30¢ per order.

Is selling on eBay worth it?

Advantages include: 

  • 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.