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by Mike Vestil 

eBay Dropshipping: Is It Worth It?

Dropshipping has been a popular way to start an online store for years. But, is it worth your time and energy? 

The idea of starting an eBay dropship business can be very appealing, especially if you’re just starting in the world of selling online. You don’t have to buy inventory upfront or worry about storage space, shipping costs, etc. In fact, it might seem like a dream come true.


Image Credit: http://webmoneygeek.com

However, there are some downsides that you should consider before jumping into this type of business model. If you want to learn more about what’s required for success with eBay dropshipping then read on. 

In this article, we’ll discuss whether it’s worth it to get started with your own eBay store and what it takes to make your store successful. Let’s get started.

What Is Dropshipping?

Let’s start this step-by-step guide by defining dropshipping. Dropshipping is a very simple business model that involves partnering with suppliers who will ship the items directly to your customers. 

Touted as being one of the best self-employed jobs around, having a dropshipping business allows you the peace of mind of not having inventory or even shipping products. This means that it’s a great way to run an online store without having much experience.


Image Credit: http://feedough.com

When you sell using this eBay dropship system, you are essentially acting as a middleman between your wholesale supplier and your customer. 

It all starts when your customer places an order on your store. Then you place an order with your supplier who sends out the product to your customer. This means there are no storage fees, no handling fees, no upfront costs of purchasing inventory, and no risk involved in running a physical store.

eBay dropshipping can be perfect if you’re just getting started online, and it also has the potential to be very profitable.

How Much Does eBay Dropshipping Cost?

The prices for this type of business model can vary depending on your supplier and other factors, but in general, it is more affordable than opening a traditional brick-and-mortar store. 

You should also factor in how much time you’ll spend managing inventory. 

This may not seem like it takes up many hours, but over time, you can become overwhelmed with managing orders that come through your eBay shop. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make this job a little easier.

The first thing that will help you understand the costs involved relates to figuring out where you will purchase your inventory from. You can either buy products directly from the supplier or through retail arbitrage. 

If you choose the latter option, it can be more expensive but also makes it easier for you to find multiple items that sell well and then keep them in stock at all times.

You should start by looking into some of your favorite stores online and see if they offer a drop shipping service. This way, instead of having to purchase inventory upfront, they’ll send it directly from their warehouse when a customer orders it.

To find out what your profit margin will be, you’ll have to figure out how much money you’ll need for supplies, shipping costs and other fees. Determining all of this ahead of time will help you understand both the costs and the profits involved.

Just remember that if you want to succeed with eBay dropshipping, it’s going to take some upfront work to get everything up and running.

Pros and Cons of Dropshipping on eBay

When you sell on eBay, you can attract a wide variety of customers from all over the world. This means that if your supplies are varied enough and you have a big enough budget, you’ll be able to cater well to your customer’s needs. 

In addition, one of the biggest benefits is that there aren’t any upfront costs involved when using this system to run a business. You don’t have to worry about purchasing products or setting up a website, either. However, it’s also going to take more time for you to search for items in bulk so that you can keep your stock replenished at all times. 

In addition, there is no physical storefront, which means no walk-in traffic. As someone dropshipping on eBay, you’ll need to take advantage of the right marketing channels to get exposure for your products.

Another great benefit of this type of online business is that you don’t have to worry about shipping products once they’ve been purchased. As we mentioned, your supplier takes care of all of this for you — which can take a lot of stress off your shoulders.


Image Credit: http://rudolph-log-dubai.com

The main downside is that before becoming a successful eBay business, it may be difficult to get people to buy your products without any reviews or ratings on them. 

Also, since no physical items are being sold, customers will only see pictures and then need to rely on your descriptions and pictures to find out how great your stuff is.

This model will also require more time spent researching since you’ll need to find the right dropshipping supplier who offers competitive rates — without charging extra fees for every shipment he or she sends out. It’s not impossible, but eBay dropshippers should be prepared to put in the time when it comes to research.

Another potential downside to consider when it comes to having your own dropshipping business is that you’ll need to factor in eBay fees when determining your profit margin. 

This can be expensive if the majority of your items are selling for cheap.  It also means that you should consider dropshipping for high-ticket items once you understand how the business model works.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are several eBay dropshipping policies that you should look out for, though you’ll be OK if you abide by their rules.

Finding the Right Products to Sell as an eBay Seller

One thing eBay sellers have to keep in mind is that doing the right research is imperative. You’ll need to know your products inside and out so that you can list them accurately on eBay without lying about their condition or the supplier’s return policy.

When you’re looking for items to sell, it will be helpful to take a look at things like Amazon, as well as other online stores that allow people to upload reviews of the products they’ve purchased. This way, when selling products, you can get an idea of what types of items are selling well or not — depending on how much positive feedback they’ve received.


Image Credit: http://webinterpret.com

Let’s now have a look at some categories of products that do well when having your dropshipping store.


These do well because they come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Since people always need to replace their wardrobes, this is usually an easy category to build an inventory for.


These are great because kids grow out of them pretty quickly. Kids’ items can be either bought new or used, which also allows you to adjust your prices accordingly.

Jewelry & Watches

There’s not much that can go wrong with jewelry and watches, since so many people love wearing accessories like these on special occasions. 

Image Credit: http://boccia.com

If you find unique pieces, it often helps if you post pictures of them styled in different ways so that customers can see how versatile they are.

Electronics & Technology

This category makes up the majority of eBay listings, so if you’re willing to sell such gadgets, there’s a lot of money to be made.

Books & DVDs

People are always looking for new books and movies to read or watch, so this category should be on your list if you want an easy way to create an inventory.

Choosing the Right Manufacturer for Your eBay Customers

As with any successful dropshipping business, it will take some effort to find the perfect manufacturers and suppliers who offer competitive rates — without charging inflated fees for delivery.

As an eBay dropshipper, one of the first things you should ask potential suppliers involves shipping times to different countries. This will allow you to compare different suppliers and see which ones make the most sense to be used (speed of delivery vs. costs involved) for your store. 

Put yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

Also, keep in mind that when you are dropshipping, you are essentially finding suppliers and customers and matching them together. This means that putting yourself in the shoes of eBay customers is an important skill to hone.

One of the first ways to boost your eBay business is by making sure that you are offering images that best represent your product. 

Another important part of creating listings is choosing accurate descriptions that explain exactly what you’re selling. 


Image Credit: http://xsellco.com

People want to know all the details about items before they buy them, so being very descriptive will help you generate more sales.

Creating titles for each item can also be an extremely useful tool for driving traffic towards your listings, since most people only read a few words before deciding whether or not something interests them. You’ll need to figure out what words are most relevant to your product to make your listings pop.

Also, think about finding a reliable supplier (or multiple ones) that can get your products to your customers fast. People’s patience can run out pretty quickly so ensuring that your supplier can deliver on time is crucial.

Ultimately, remember that customers just want to find exactly what they’re looking for, at a price that makes them happy.  This means that sometimes, simply listing an item as “boots” might not be enough for customers — instead, they just want “black work boots” or “cowboy ankle boots.” Matching up specific keywords with items will help you create more accurate listings, which can hopefully boost your sales.

Tips for Making Your Dropshipping Business Successful on eBay

If you want to make money with eBay dropshipping, here are the key factors that will play a big role in determining your success rate.

Make sure that all your listings include as many high-quality pictures as possible. 

This isn’t just about showing off the product, it’s also about making it easier for potential customers to read the description. There’s no point in having someone buy something from you if they can’t figure out what it is or how it works just by looking at a few photos. 

As mentioned earlier, your product descriptions should also be on point and relevant to the situation. This means that these descriptions should use language that paints a picture in your potential customer’s mind and gets them to pull the trigger and make the purchase.

Don’t be afraid to spend a few days trying new things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. 

You might need to make some mistakes before you find something that takes off, but it’s definitely worth the time since this will help you develop your own unique eBay dropshipping business plan.

The most important tip of all is to never give up. 

This business provides a low barrier for entry so there are plenty of people who will try it. It also means that you might not see success right away. However, it can be a very worthwhile business once it takes off. 

If eBay dropshipping sounds like something you’re interested in then there’s no reason not to at least spend some time learning about it, setting up your store and giving it a go.

Advertising Your eBay Store to Get More Customers

Advertising is the way to go if you want to increase your exposure and make more sales. Facebook ads are a great place to start dropshipping since they allow you to target specific groups of people based on their age, location and interests.

This will help ensure that only those who fit within specific parameters see your advert, which is much better than paying for exposure without any way to control who sees it. 


Image Credit: http://bigcommerce.com

There are also other advertising sources that you can use, including Google ads and Bing ads. These cost money every time someone clicks and don’t give you as many options for targeting customers, but with the right research, they could end up being more profitable. 

Another good alternative is Reddit advertising. This social media site has a massive user base so there’s almost no limit as far as how much exposure your business can get from this source. It depends on the type of product you’re selling, but it’s worth trying.

Alternatively, you could post on both forums and social media sites that allow you to advertise your listings. These sites aren’t just limited to your friends so if you can find groups or pages that are related to what you’re selling, then this is a good way to get the word out. 

Another idea you might try out is using software tools to build your own landing page online. This could be a simple website that introduces people to your product before sending them over to eBay. 

By doing this you can build a bigger following, collect email addresses (this allows you to contact potential customers at a later stage) and increase your brand name. You’ll also be able to sell more items because you’re working with a more specific audience that you know has an interest in your products.

Other Factors to Consider

When it comes to dropshipping products, finding items that are trending helps sell more products to your customer base. In fact, when it comes to product sourcing in an eCommerce store, new in-demand products are sometimes easier to sell than those that have been listed for a long time. 

As a business owner, understanding items that are low risk (i.e. have a high chance of selling) is a key strength.

Speaking of such strengths, a successful eBay store is one where product research is done before product listings are created. This ensures that the potential of this eCommerce business is tested before further time and money are invested in this venture.


Image Credit: http://repricerexpress.com

Such a step-by-step approach is also important when it comes to the time frame set for success. Trial and error has to happen before finding what works best. Testing stuff out while taking stock of what works and removing what doesn’t, is crucial.

In fact, testing can also be done on different price points. Some people start out with a fixed price that stays like that forever; however having different prices, at different times of the year, can work in your favor. 

Also eBay gives you the options to use the ‘buy it now’ button or even start your own auctions. These are all valid tests to run to see what your audience best responds to. 

Finally, keep in mind that sometimes, listing fees will eat up a portion of your profits, so don’t forget about those. 

eBay Alternatives to Consider

eBay is a good way to make money but it is not the only way to achieve your goals. When deciding whether or not this business model is right for you, there are several alternatives that you might want to consider.

One such model is creating a Shopify store. With this platform, it will be easier to build your website (using their platform), so you won’t have to worry about complex and technical processes to set up your store. The platform can also take care of billing and order tracking, so it’s much easier than having every process done by hand.

You could also try using Oberlo, which is often used in partnership with Shopify but can be used as a standalone option if you don’t want to get both of them. This has the same benefits as Shopify but also comes with more features specifically made for dropshipping.

You may also try using WooCommerce, which is free and easy to use. It doesn’t have the specific dropshipping options that Oberlo does, but it’s still a great system that will let you automate most tasks related to your online store.

Another option might be to use Amazon Seller, which is considered the largest online store in the world. If you’re able to find good products that are highly rated, then this is worth looking into, but it also comes with a lot of competition, so you’ll need to work hard if you want to build up your reputation there.

The bottom line is that eBay isn’t the only platform in town, so don’t feel like you have to stick with it just because most people use it for eCommerce. If it’s not working out for you or if you can’t seem to do well on eBay (despite having the right products and marketing efforts), consider trying out other options instead of giving up entirely.

eBay Dropshipping: Is It Worth It? – FAQ

Is dropshipping on eBay worth it?

Yes! If you want a business model that doesn’t involve you handling inventory and renting a warehouse, yet has the same benefits of other eCommerce models, then dropshipping is definitely worth it.

What is eBay dropshipping and how does it work?

At its simplest, eBay dropshipping is selling items through the eBay platform without holding any inventory.

The supplier handles all manufacturing and shipping, which essentially means the seller only needs to find people that buy products. In return, the wholesaler offers a much lower price on their products because they don’t have to take the extra steps to market their products. 

How can you dropship on ebay successfully and make money?

Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s hard to give one specific answer.

Many factors contribute to your bottom line, but the biggest ones are what you sell, where you choose to dropship from, and which products you decide to promote.

Where can I get wholesale suppliers for the best products?

eBay dropshipping suppliers for awesome products can be found all over the internet — from China to Europe, and everywhere in between.

The best way to find a supplier is just by looking on AliExpress.com, but if you’re not sure what you want yet, feel free to try out sites like Alibaba (have a look at Alibaba shipping costs), SaleHoo and Worldwide Brands.

These websites should give you a good starting point, but I still recommend thinking outside the box when it comes to finding the right suppliers for the products you want to sell. For example, if a local store in your area sells a product at retail price, you can ask them if they would be interested in wholesale pricing.

Eventually, you could even consider becoming a reseller with your own products, since the profit margins might be higher.

How do I know which products to sell?

Ideally, the best products to dropship are those with high demand and low competition. While many intrepid eBay entrepreneurs try to find “the next big thing,”  this business model works best for someone who is both creative and willing to dig deep into what’s already out there.

To give you an example, here are some niches that work well on eBay:

  • Grooming products
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Gadgets
  • Exercise Equipment

Most of these niches are pretty competitive, but if you pick your niche correctly, the chances of success increase exponentially. I recommend doing lots of keyword research when looking for potential product ideas.

What’s the best way to track success?

When it comes to eBay, the best way to track your success is by looking at how many sales you make per month.

Even though there are tools that integrate with eBay to help you track where your traffic is coming from and how many viewers you are receiving, the true metric to consider is your conversion rate.

Where should I advertise my online store?

The best place to advertise your product is on social media.

Facebook ads are the most effective, in my opinion. You can also run ads with Twitter and Instagram to help drive traffic to your product page.

If you’re low on cash, remember that word of mouth is still the best form of free advertising there is. Talk about your product in online forums and social media (while providing value by describing what problem your product will solve). Most people love a good brand story, so don’t be afraid to tell it.

How do I deliver my product?

When dropshipping on eBay, you never have the product in your possession at any point during the sales process — which means you won’t need a warehouse or shipping supplies, either.

Instead, it’s up to your suppliers to ship out all of the products for you. This means that you only pay a supplier once a customer has made a purchase.

How quickly can I start making money?

Now that you have a better understanding of how dropshipping on eBay works, you probably want to know how quickly it will be before you can start making money dropshipping.

The answer is…it depends.

Since every business is different, the amount of time it takes for online sellers to see success also varies from individual to individual. For instance, some people are selling within the first few minutes after listing their first product, while others may take a few weeks or even months to make eBay dropshipping profitable.

Signing up for an eBay account and getting started in this fast-moving marketplace is exciting — but remember that this business model requires you to put in the time and effort first.

Wrap Up

In the end, your decision to start a business based around eBay dropshipping will come down to how much time and money you have as well as where your interests lie.

While an eBay dropshipping business is definiteily worth it, there are various factors to consider before going all-in on this type of business model. Learning how to dropship on eBay does come with its own learning curve so factor this in before getting started.

If you enjoy researching products and finding great deals for items that sell well, then the model may be a great idea for you. So, sign up for your eBay seller account and give this model a try. 

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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