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by Mike Vestil 

Selling On eBay – Important Considerations Before Getting Started

If you want to start an eBay business, there are several essential things to consider before you start listing items on this eCommerce platform.

With the enormous amount of competition that selling on eBay brings with it, it can be hard to get your items noticed among the millions of listed items every day. Understanding what you're getting into is the best way to ensure you have the right expectation and ultimately get the results that you want.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most important things to consider before getting started selling on eBay and how these can positively influence your results. Let’s get right into this topic.

What Are You selling On eBay?

Selling on eBay requires that you list the right items in the first place, so understanding the demand and quality of what you're selling is perhaps the most essential part of this process. If you have great quality products which don't have much competition, then there's no reason why they won't be popular with buyers.


Image Credit: http://feedough.com

On the other hand, if you are having difficulty getting rid of stock or it isn't moving quickly, then it could be the case that your items aren't in much demand.

If you discover that there isn’t a market for your products as you’re doing your research, you may be better off spending your efforts finding other things that do sell before getting started with this business model. Look for trends and significant events which can affect results and do not try to reinvent the wheel.

The trends and news stories affecting the economy will impact the number of people choosing to buy or sell on eBay during any given period. Understanding these so-called 'market conditions’ is essential because they will ultimately determine the success or failure of your sales. 

If you're able to determine when these trends are taking place ahead of time, your listings will already be there when people on eBay start looking around for products that match those that you sell. This means that your chances of being successful increase dramatically.

It's best to get into this research habit as quickly as possible since the best ideas might come to you when you least expect them. Keep the following questions in mind

  • What trends have been happening recently?
  • Was anything particularly good or bad in the news?
  • How did this affect other areas including retail spending?
  • Has there been a lot of news lately which might affect demand?
  • Are there any special holidays or events coming up?

If you can answer these questions, then your chances of finding products that sell go up dramatically. You don’t have to actively look for trending events (though it would help). You can just keep an eye on the news and take note when something happens.

Top 11 Things To Consider Before Selling On eBay

With the previous section out of the way, let’s look at the top things to consider before getting started selling on eBay.

1. eBay Rules And Policies

eBay has stringent laws in place that must be adhered to. When starting to read up on all of eBay's relevant rules and policies that are applicable to you, it is best practice to dive deep into the section that matter. This ultimately depends on the products you aim to sell.

For online sales specifically, look through eBay’s list of prohibited items, which can change from time to time. If it is decided that what you are trying to sell may break any laws or regulations, selling such items could lead to eBay banning your account.

2. Find Your Niche And Create The Right Description

When you're getting started with eBay, it is essential to consider the products you want to sell and how they can be best described. The more targeted those descriptions are, the better, as buyers will only see listings that match what they searched for.


Image Credit: http://tamebay.com

This also means less competition might be involved, which can be a big help when trying to get started - especially as you are trying to build up momentum with the first few sales.

There are also various third-party software that can provide eBay description templates at an extra cost. Some of these might be worth trying out since they might lead to more sales of your products.

3. Shipping & Packaging

When we think about eBay sellers, you might imagine someone listing items and then sending them off in the post as soon as they are sold. However, it doesn’t work exactly like that. You need to ensure that everything is packaged well and sent out correctly, or else returns will inevitably happen.

You need to package your products well, and depending on where you're shipping them to, it might be necessary for them to have a customs label. For example, if you're sending something outside of the US, this may be required.

There might also be different rules and regulations if you are dealing with international packages as opposed to domestic ones. If problems arise, many buyers (especially international ones) wouldn’t really want to take the time to send items back, which obviously leads to negative feedback.

Remember that eBay will show a star rating for each seller, reflecting the overall quality of their selling practices. This includes feedback - where buyers can leave comments about how your product was received and whether they were satisfied with it or not.

Sellers want to receive positive feedback as it shows them as trustworthy, so if you satisfy every buyer, this will be an easy thing to achieve over time.

4. Consider eBay’s Return Policies

Understanding buyer rights is important when dealing with eBay. For most products, these are the return types that you can set:

  • No returns
  • 30-day buyer-paid returns
  • 30-day free returns
  • 60-day buyer-paid returns
  • 60-day free returns

It’s good to know that even if you decide to not have a return policy to buyers, they can still send an item back if the product description is different from what they received. This is covered under eBay’s money-back guarantee policy.

For some products, in the following categories, a 14-day return policy can be offered:

  • Camera Drones
  • Camera Lenses
  • Collectibles & Art
  • Digital Cameras
  • Jewellery
  • Medical & Mobility

It’s important to know how things work before you start selling so you can set up the correct return policies when the time comes. By doing so, you’ll ensure that everything goes smoothly and you don't end up with any nasty surprises.


Image Credit: http://community.ebay.com

Obviously, the best thing to do is to ensure that everything is done correctly from start to finish including the high quality of the products you’re selling.

5. Selling Price & Profit Margin

You might think that setting your price is a simple process - look at what others are selling something for online or in-store, and then put it on eBay for a similar amount. However, in reality, things are much different. 

There are lots of factors to consider when you are choosing a fixed price for your products. 

Understanding eBay’s final value fee is crucial when pricing your products. Final value fees might vary depending on the product you’re selling so this is definitely an area to consider. Here’s more information about eBay fees to know about.

In addition, some other important points to consider include analyzing demand levels, how highly competitive the market is, whether there are any special offers around right now, or if there's a good reason for someone to choose your product over someone else's (such as if you are offering free shipping).

Also, when it comes to profit margins, make sure that your costs are reasonable which also means that your profit margin makes sense - otherwise, your business will never be financially viable. 

On the flipside, eBay sellers can be tempted to try and make as much profit as possible by setting very high prices. However, this could mean that potential buyers won't even see your fixed price listings because there's too much competition in the market to even get noticed.

6. Choosing The Categories & Subcategories To Work With

Once you've decided on a price and some came up with some great descriptions, then it is time to consider the categories under which your products will go on eBay.


Image credit: eBay.com

For each product you have, you need to figure out what category it falls under so that people searching through the site as they are exploring different options are more likely to find what they’re looking for. 

With the possibility of creating up to 300 categories in an eBay store, there are lots of choices to be made, and the list of subcategories has even expanded over time. Taking the time to figure out which categories make the most sense for your products is important.

7. Using eBay's Listing Designer

eBay provides some tools to make your listings look more appealing, but it is easy to go overboard. Too much stuff on a listing doesn't usually help people buy what you're selling, so keep things simple by only uploading one or two pictures at most. 

Using eBay’s Listing Designer will give add some spice to your listing, ensuring that buyers are able to fully comprehend what they are buying. You want people to be sure of what they’re purchasing - otherwise, buyers will feel more uncertain about whether or not they are making the right purchase.

8. Your eBay Product Images

Anyone can take pictures of their products, but you should have some specific shot types in your listing to get the best results. Depending on the type of product you are selling, think about the best angle to take pictures from.


Image Credit: http://frooition.com

Also, consider any other important information that buyers should see when they are viewing your image.

Using a white background is a good choice if you are selling something online because it makes the main image stand more. However, some things look better on backdrops of different colors, so before adding images to your listing, try out different photos to see what works best.

Keep the focus on the product, and don't clutter things up by adding too much text or space - simplicity is key. If you want to include additional images, that make your listing even better since these images will appear as separate thumbnails. These can be useful if you need to show an item that is particularly long/wide.

9. Your About Me Page

This is an excellent opportunity to add some personality, and it can be very effective in encouraging repeat business or even winning over new customers you haven't had before. 

I would strongly recommend making an about me page if you want to stand out from other sellers. You should include anything that’s relevant that people might want to know about your store, including return policies or even the story of how your story came to be.

There are many things you could include on this type of page, and having a look at what your competitors have done is a good idea to model your page on.

10. Understand eBay’s Payment Methods

Accepting the payment methods offered by eBay is a great way to follow the policies set forth by eBay.

The accepted payment methods include:

Understanding that different people want to buy in a method that’s best for them is key. Even if you don't think that people use such methods, it is worth having a business that caters to customers’ needs. This means that accepting all of the above payment methods as part of your business might be a great idea.

11. Creating A Profile Picture

Your eBay profile picture is the primary way that buyers will identify you when they come across your listings. It doesn't have to be a brand logo or even something related to what type of products you specialize in, but it does need to be recognizable so that people can tell who they are dealing with.


Having a clear, professional-looking picture is important, as this transmits feelings of confidence when people are about to make a purchase.

How To Market Your Products And Sell On eBay

Setting up an eBay account and launching your eBay store is the easy part. But what's the real challenge when it comes to selling on eBay? The answer is getting customers and making sales. 

It can be a daunting prospect if this is your first time selling online.

In this next part of the article, we'll speak about how you can promote your eBay store, sell more products and make more money.

1. Drive Traffic Through Social Media

There are various ways to get more views on your eBay products - one of the primary ones being putting some time into social media marketing. 

Be active on sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, promoting any new listings that you have while also interacting with people who might be interested in what you’re selling. This will get your content to be seen by others, helping improve your online credibility among potential customers.

2. Utilize Analytical Tools

When you're selling on eBay, it's essential that you learn from your past experiences to help improve things in the future. This is where eBay Analytics comes into play - this lets you analyze how well your business is doing by tracking data such as views, sales, estimated revenue, and even landing page performance.

Using tools such as Terapeak, which is eBay’s insights tool, is a great way to understand what’s going well in your business, and what needs to be improved. You’ll also be able to spy on your competitors and see what they’re up to.

Image Credit: http://ebayinc.com

This is a great way to measure online success, get new product ideas, try out different strategies on current products and stay up to date with what’s happening on this eCommerce platform. 

The great news is that Terapeak comes free with an eBay store subscription, a subscription that could be one of their Basic, Premium, Anchor, or Enterprise plans.

3. Make A Selling Calendar

Having an eBay business means that you can trade all around the year, but for those who find it challenging to keep track of what's going on month by month, a selling calendar is a great thing to consider using.

What does this help you accomplish? This is a simple way to help organize your eBay business and make sure that you stay on top of your listings. You can also announce new products to your eBay buyers since you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen and when. 

This helps build up anticipation and ensures that there is a demand for the products you’re planning on selling.

4. Add Value To Your Listings

Offering buyers additional benefits when they buy from you is a great way to market your products and improve customer loyalty, increasing repeat business. 

This can be done by providing perks such as free shipping, discounts on the final price, or anything else that might seem relevant for your product category. It's important to offer things that are easy for you to do but also won't cost you to lose out when selling your products.

You don't always have to go out of your way to add retail value; it could be something as simple as including a simple, free gift with each order as it comes in. This could also be a great way to entice someone to come back and buy something else from you in the near future.

5. Promote Your Products On Forums And Niche Websites

Another great way of promoting your eBay store is through blogging. This can help you reach an even wider audience online, allowing potential customers to connect with you better. 

The key here is not to promote directly within your blog posts but instead put out engaging content that people will want to read about, then mention that you have products for sale on eBay at the end of each post. This has to be done in the most natural way in order for it to work.

By doing this, more and more people will be able to see what you've got for sale and might take an interest in your business.

Additionally, you can also get involved with other forums online where people talk about topics related to your niche or products. You can become a forum member, network with others, and start sharing content while occasionally putting up links to your eBay listings.

This way, you start building a crowd of people who are interested in what you have to say. Some of these people will then take a further interest in what you're doing and will be able to easily surf over to your store to see what's on offer.

6. Get Social Proof

Social proof is something that you should take advantage of as much as possible. Many people who use the eBay marketplace want reassurance that they're making the right choice when it comes to their buying decisions.


Image Credit: http://business.trustpilot.com

One way of achieving this is by having great feedback from previous customers, which helps persuade people who are still on the fence about making a purchase. This can be shown in a variety of ways, including reviews on your eBay listings or even as comments on your website as you describe the products you offer.

Another way of showing social proof can be by placing images and endorsements directly onto your eBay listings. This is an easy way to promote yourself without going out of your way and trying too hard. All you need to do is post some positive comments from happy customers online.

8. Utilize eBay Store Newsletters

eBay store newsletters are another great way to promote your business. Similar to how email marketing works, you’ll be able to get potential eBay customers that are interested in what you're offering but aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger. 

In this case, they can sign up for regular updates about your business. You will then be able to send them newsletters providing the right value and keeping them informed about the products they can buy from your store.

Much like a social media group, an eBay store newsletter can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and build a relationship with them over time - this is the best way to increase conversions and ensure you have a high rate of returning customers over time.

9. Be Patient

When marketing your eBay store, you mustn't get disheartened if your eBay business isn't successful from the very beginning. Remember that this is a long-term project, and some people may not make a purchase right away but instead come back to your store later on - once they've done their research. 

It can take time to see a difference in sales and revenue, so be patient and focus on improving one thing at a time until you start getting results.

This means that while your store might have had no transactions during its first few months of being open, it doesn't mean that sales will never come from it - just keep in mind that sales momentum might take a longer / shorter time for everyone involved.

The Importance Of Communication And Professionalism

Before concluding, I do have to mention the importance of being professional when selling on eBay.

I can't stress this enough, but if you want to sell on eBay at all, you need to make sure that your communication skills are up to scratch. Whether this is with potential customers, the people who work alongside you, or even your staff (if applicable), communication in these key areas will add up and bring you positive or negative results.


Image Credit: http://autods.com

Being professional also means being credible. This is another crucial factor on eBay. Whether you are taking quality product images, delivering products as described, or simply keeping buyers updated about their orders, there are some key things that you will have to do if you want people to keep coming back for more.

eBay's feedback system is designed to help sellers increase customer satisfaction by providing them with the opportunity to give honest reviews which affect other users' search experience. This ensures that customers who buy from sellers will be happy with the service they've received and gives them a platform to let other people know about their experience.

Being open in your communication and professional at all times gives you the best shot at being successful when selling on eBay.


eBay has long been one of the most popular platforms for selling things online. It allows anyone with an account to open up their online store and sell a variety of products through their eBay product page.

As long as you work hard to promote yourself, keep your store well maintained and offer the best service possible - you should be able to find success with eBay. Some of the most successful online businesses ideas have started on eBay as a testing ground before moving on to bigger and better things.

If you are thinking about getting involved in online commerce, then keep the above tips in mind and give eBay selling a shot.

Further reading on MikeVestil.com: Want to learn more about eBay business models? Check out my post on eBay dropshipping to understand if this model is worth it or not. In addition, the topic of eBay SEO is quite a fundamental one to understand. Here’s a post about how to get your listings on page one of eBay and increase the traffic to your listings.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is the author of the Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. He also has a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where he talks about personal development and personal finance.

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