eBay dropshipping has become a popular way for entrepreneurs to get their feet wet in ecommerce.
But how does eBay dropshipping work? And what's the best way to get started?
That and more is what we will find out in this guide!
Before diving in, it's essential to understand what eBay dropshipping exactly is, so let's go through that first!
What is eBay dropshipping?
eBay dropshipping refers to selling your products on the eBay marketplace, then purchasing products from third-party suppliers after the sale has come in and shipping them directly to customers.
This way, you don't have to handle any of the product inventory yourself and can focus on product research and selling.
eBay dropshipping is becoming increasingly popular. And that's no surprise considering eBay has over 159 million active buyers, making 1.7 billion visits each month.
That's a lot of potential buyers to attract to your dropshipping business!
What is the difference between eBay dropshipping and normal dropshipping?
The main difference between eBay dropshipping and normal dropshipping is the platform you are selling on.
eBay dropshipping is done through the eBay platform. In contrast, normal dropshipping is usually done through your own online store.
When dropshipping with eBay, you don't have to create your own website or set up payment processing.
While many of the same principles apply to both types of dropshipping, these are the main differences.
With both models, it's possible to pre-purchase products and hold inventory, but it's more common in the eBay dropshipping model.
Due to the fact that slow shipping times hurt your eBay seller score, which directly affects your sales; this is why many eBay sellers hold inventory for fast shipping.
Furthermore, eBay dropshipping is much less known than the basic dropshipping model.
Google Trends proves this:
Since eBay dropshipping is a sort of niche within dropshipping, this is not so surprising.
The pros and cons of eBay dropshipping
Now that you know what eBay dropshipping is and how it differs from regular dropshipping, let's take a look at the pros and cons of it.
These will include some of the features of the platform and the risks involved in using it.
There are also some policy requirements you should be aware of, and we'll go through them after the pros and cons.
Let's start with the pros!
1. Low-risk business model
With almost no upfront costs, eBay dropshipping is a low-risk way to get started in ecommerce.
If you find a reliable supplier that can ship your products out fast, you can get started with a minimal investment. This makes it one of the most affordable ways to enter ecommerce.
However, this doesn't mean you can aimlessly sell products and not take any responsibility for customer service, shipping, and product quality.
This is what eBay states about buyer satisfaction:
If you use dropshipping, 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.eBay team
If your customers are not satisfied, it will have a direct impact on your eBay seller rating, which will have a huge impact on your chances to succeed.
2. Minimal seller fees
While there are minimal upfront costs associated with the products, eBay does have different seller fees that you should be aware of before getting started.
- Insertion fees. You will have up to 250 free listings each month for your products, and if the amount goes above that, you will get an insertion fee to pay, which is $0.35 per listing for most categories.
- Final value fees. When you get your item sold, eBay charges you a final value fee, which includes a $0.30 charge plus another fee that is calculated from the total amount of the sale.
- Store fees. Upon opening your eBay seller account, you have to select a store package. The store fee is relatively minimal, ranging from $4.95 a month to $349.95 a month, depending on the number of products you sell per month.
3. Platform with established buyers
As we mentioned before, eBay is full of buyers; to be correct, 159 million active buyers each month.
This can be a huge benefit over the basic dropshipping model, where you have to create the online store yourself and find the buyers by advertising.
However, this doesn't mean that all buyers will see your listings, not even close. To get as many eyeballs as possible for your dropshipping product listings, you'll have to learn how to rank in eBay search results.
It usually takes time and patience, so you should not go into eBay dropshipping expecting to succeed on the first day.
4. Large selection of products to sell
As eBay dropshipping works similarly to the basic dropshipping model, you can source products from places like AliExpress, which gives you literally millions of products to choose from.
This is great because not every product is going to be successful, so you can easily discover new options if your previous products don't work.
While eBay dropshipping has pros, such as low risk, it also has its cons, which you should be aware of.
Let's go through them.
1. More competition than ever
Google Trends proves the popularity of eBay dropshipping:
As you can see, it's more popular than ever. However, this doesn't mean that you can't be successful with it. You just need to find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
High competition can also mean that more and more people are making money with it, meaning it can be a perfect time to start it.
2. No room for customization
With eBay dropshipping, the only things you can customize are your product listings.
This is not much when compared to the basic dropshipping model, where everything from your online store to the advertisements is customizable.
However, this can also be an advantage if you have no experience creating an online store and want to focus only on making your product listings great.
3. Stricter policies than with normal dropshipping
Although eBay has made dropshipping easier than ever before, it also has stricter policies than normal dropshipping.
For example, you must ensure that all of your products are accurately described and that they meet certain standards.
These rules and regulations can be difficult to manage, so you should make sure you are familiar with them before starting
eBay dropshipping policies and requirements
Before starting to sell just anything, you should be aware of some of eBay's restrictions.
As we mentioned previously, eBay restricts dropshipping a bit.
In order to dropship on eBay, you must not purchase the products from a supplier and let them ship to your customer directly.
Dropshipping with eBay requires you to buy stock from your supplier and have them ship the products to a separate fulfillment warehouse.
This is a bit of a downside compared to normal dropshipping, as you'll have to invest in a stock.
Now that we have covered the selling restrictions, how about the product restrictions?
eBay doesn't allow the sale of certain products. They have created a prohibited and restricted item list on their website, which is worth looking into if you are unsure about anything.
Some restricted items included in the list are firearms, offensive material, and items encouraging illegal activity. It's always good to check if your product is allowed to sell on eBay, but common sense will get you far here.
For some of the categories, there are also restrictions in place, which you can find on the same page. As an example, you can't sell some electronic devices, including FM modulators.
If you wish to prevent having any problems with your dropshipping journey on eBay, you should avoid selling these products.
Popular eBay dropshipping categories
Next, let's go through some of the most popular eBay dropshipping categories! This will help to give you a better idea of what other people are selling on eBay.
For each category, we will show some example products that other eBay dropshipping sellers have had success with.
The idea is not to copy these products, but rather to give you an idea of what you can sell.
Fashion is one of the most popular categories for eBay dropshipping. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are all great items to sell in this category.
While these are popular, it can be hard to stand out in the most competitive category.
If you decide to go with this section, you definitely have to do your research to find a standout product that will set you apart from other sellers.
Example eBay dropshipping products under the Fashion category:
Pro tip: To make your fashion store stand out, you can use the OnModel Shopify app to turn your existing product photos into unique images using AI!
2. Health & Beauty
Another popular category is health and beauty. This includes items like cosmetics, skincare products, supplements, and medical devices.
Some items in this area might require a policy check before selling, such as supplements, but you should be able to find items that are eligible for dropshipping.
Example eBay dropshipping product under the Health & Beauty category:
Disclaimer: There are some products in the health niche that we would not recommend to dropship, such as any consumables or serums. You can read more about the danger of the health niche here.
3. Sporting goods
Sporting goods is another great category for eBay dropshipping.
Items like fitness equipment, sporting apparel and shoes, and camping gear are all popular in this category.
Much like fashion, it can be hard to stand out in this category as well. You'll need to do your research and find unique items that will appeal to your target audience.
Example eBay dropshipping products under the Sporting Goods category:
4. Pet Supplies
Many sellers are successful in the pet supplies category. This includes pet niche items like pet toys, beds and carriers, and grooming products.
Example eBay dropshipping products under the Pet Supplies category:
5. Electronics & accessories
Electronics & accessories are popular categories for eBay dropshipping, but particularly for electronics, you have to be careful about the quality.
Items like phone accessories, speakers and headphones, cameras, and drones are all included in these categories.
Example eBay dropshipping products under the Electronics category:
Warning: Before trying to sell these “electronic” products, make sure to verify that they are good quality products to avoid refunds and chargebacks! You can learn more here.
6. Home & garden
Home & garden categories include items like kitchen tools, bedding and furniture, and gardening supplies.
It is one of the safest categories to try out on eBay since there is a lot of demand for these products.
Example eBay dropshipping products under the Home & Garden category:
Features of a winning eBay dropshipping product
Now that you know about some of the most popular eBay dropshipping categories, let's look at what a winning product on eBay usually includes:
- High-quality product. This is a must; your product has to be high quality if you want to do continuous business on eBay. High return rates and bad reviews can lead to bad seller ratings, which will definitely destroy your chances of succeeding with eBay dropshipping.
- Low competition and high demand. You should look for products that are not sold by many on eBay and have high demand.
- Maintainable profit margins. After all the expenses, including shipping costs, eBay fees, and product costs, you should have enough money left to profit from each sale.
- Great supplier. In order to ensure fast shipping times, you need to have a reliable supplier. We even recommend going with a private supplier instead of fulfilling products through large platforms like AliExpress, known for slow shipping times.
How do you get started with eBay dropshipping?
Now that you know what to sell on eBay, the next step would be to get started with eBay dropshipping!
Getting started with eBay dropshipping includes five necessary steps, and to make it as easy as possible, we will go through the steps here.
1. Set up your eBay seller account
The first step is to create an account and set up your eBay store.
An eBay seller account is a must if you want to do dropshipping via eBay.
To create your eBay seller account, head to the registration page:
During your registration, you'll have to fill in your personal and business info and select from one of the store subscription plans.
You'll also get to choose your eBay store name.
After your eBay seller account is set up, you are technically ready to sell!
2. Find a proper supplier
The second and one of the most important steps is to find a proper supplier. This is even before finding items to sell because, without a right supplier, eBay dropshipping is ineffective.
Instead of filling your products through AliExpress, we recommend using suppliers that are known for fast shipping times.
Some great suppliers for eBay dropshipping include:
eBay requires brands to deliver items within 30 days of a customer's order being placed, and all of the above suppliers can do that.
They are known for having fast shipping times, good quality control, and great customer support, which is what you need for eBay dropshipping.
3. Find items to sell
After you have found a proper supplier to use, you can start looking for items to sell!
If you choose a platform like CJdropshipping, you can start sourcing the website for products.
The selection is not as big as AliExpress has, but it's still hundreds of thousands of products, which is definitely enough.
We already discussed what a winning product should include, but in short, look for products with healthy margins, high quality, and problem-solving capabilities!
4. Price your products
To make sales with eBay dropshipping, you have to price your products correctly.
Some important things to consider when pricing a product:
- Cost of the product and shipping
- Pricing of your competitors
- All the other expenses, such as eBay fees
- Possible profit margins after all costs
Different suppliers can offer lower prices than others, so it's beneficial to compare multiple ones when starting with eBay dropshipping.
By doing so, you will have more profit potential.
5. Create an eBay listing for your products
The last step is to create your eBay listing!
Some things to consider when creating your eBay listing:
- Your product title and description should be accurate
- Have multiple high-quality photos of the product
- If you have customer reviews, add them
- Return policies (you have to check these with your supplier)
You should also focus on targeting the right keyword for your products, so your customers can find your listing.
FAQs of eBay dropshipping
Before we close off this article, let’s quickly go over a few key questions that people have when they start with eBay dropshipping.
Who knows, maybe this will answer one of the questions you had as well!
What are the benefits of eBay dropshipping over basic dropshipping?
There are three major benefits of eBay dropshipping over basic dropshipping, which are that eBay provides you with a platform to sell on and a trusted customer base. You may also have higher profit margins because you don't have to spend money on advertising.
Is eBay dropshipping free?
eBay dropshipping is not free, as eBay does charge fees for selling on its platform. However, the fees are relatively low, and you don't have to pay for advertising costs.
What should I not sell when doing eBay dropshipping?
eBay has a list of restricted items, which are prohibited from being sold on the platform. These include things like firearms, alcohol and tobacco products, live animals, and more.
Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is great (definitely if it's free!), but do you know what's even better?
So, to help you with taking action with what you have learned in this article, take a look at the bullet points:
- If you liked the business model of eBay dropshipping, take the next step and start setting up your eBay seller account (we went through the process before).
- Start researching for products you want to sell in the categories you decided on. You have to find a reliable supplier for your product who you can build a long-term relationship with.
- Get a good understanding of the policies for eBay and the platform itself. You have to understand what products you are allowed to sell, how seller ratings work, and what eBay fees you have to pay.
- List your products in your eBay store,
If you're still on the edge of eBay dropshipping being the right solution for you, we recommend checking the basic dropshipping model and seeing which one fits you better.
We hope that this article has given you a good understanding of what eBay dropshipping is and how you can get started in 2023.
eBay dropshipping is a great way to make money online, but it's essential that you know the ins and outs of this business model before you get started.
Take some time to research and understand the components of eBay dropshipping, create a realistic business plan, and design a system for success.
And if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below, and we will help you!
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