How to Dropship on eBay: A Complete Guide for Beginners
If you are looking for a one-stop destination to kick-start your dropshipping journey with minimal upfront costs, eBay might be the perfect option.
With around 185 million active users worldwide, eBay is the marketplace of choice to start and grow successful dropshipping businesses.
In this blog, we'll cover the ins and outs of eBay dropshipping, things to consider before jumping into eBay dropshipping and a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to start dropshipping on eBay.
What is Dropshipping on eBay?
Gaining popularity as a low-risk route to enter the eCommerce industry, dropshipping lets you sell products online without managing inventory or handling deliveries.
Learn more: Is Dropshipping Worth It?
When it comes to dropshipping, there is a wide array of marketplaces available for you to choose from, with eBay among the most popular choices.
Founded as one of the pioneers in eCommerce, eBay is now ranked among the world’s most successful online marketplaces and makes for a great dropshipping platform.
As one of the world’s largest eCommerce marketplace, eBay is a great platform for dropshipping.
By dropshipping on eBay, you – as an eBay seller – can list products for sale on the site without holding any physical inventory of those products. When a buyer purchases from your eBay store, the order will be forwarded to your third-party supplier who then ships the product directly to the customer.
It is eBay’s wide product selection, high traffic, and massive ready-made audience that make eBay dropshipping the golden goose of eCommerce entrepreneurs.
What to Consider When Dropshipping on eBay?
Before starting as an eBay dropshippers, there are several things you should keep in mind to ensure a rewarding and trouble-free dropshipping journey.
eBay’s Dropshipping Policy
The first question commonly asked by dropshippers is, “Is dropshipping allowed on eBay?”.
Yes, eBay does allow dropshipping, but it is restricted under strict policies. Violating eBay dropshipping regulations can lead to penalties or account suspension; therefore, it is essential to carefully review and comply with eBay's following rules to avoid any negative consequences.
1. You Must Fulfill Orders Directly from a Wholesale Supplier, Not Another Retailer.
eBay's dropshipping policy strictly prohibits the practice of reselling products from another retailer or marketplace. This means you cannot list products on eBay, purchase them from another retail website like Amazon or Walmart and have them shipped directly to your eBay customer.
2. You Must Meet Shipping and Delivery Standards.
As an eBay dropshipper, you are essentially an eBay seller and, therefore, accountable for complying with all eBay's procedures and requirements.
- delivering the items to the customer in a safe and timely manner (within 30 days);
- ensuring the customer’s complete satisfaction with their purchase.
3. You Must Ensure Product Quality as Advertised in Your Listing.
Whether you are a dropshipper or a seller on eBay, you must be sure that the product shipped to and received by the customer is exactly the same as what is listed on your store, including its appearance and functionality. Therefore, working with a trustworthy supplier is essential to avoid this issue.
Important notes: Besides policies set out by eBay, you must also follow dropshipping rules stated by the manufacturer or wholesale suppliers you work with.
Dropshipping Fees on eBay
The cost of eBay dropshipping is also a matter of concern to dropshippers struggling with the question, “Is dropshipping on eBay worth it?”
Although registering an eBay seller account is free, you still incur several costs when doing eBay dropshipping, some of which are mandatory, while others are only applied to additional services and features.
1. Listing Fees (or Insertion Fees)
This is the cost to list your item on eBay, regardless of whether it sells or not.
Every month, you get up to 250 free listings or more if you are an eBay store subscriber. Using up all your free listings, you will be charged a US$0.35 insertion fee per additional listing or lower depending on your subscription plan.
2. Final Value Fees
This cost will only be charged when you sell an item.
It is calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale, plus a fixed charge of US$0.30 per order.
- The percentage charged is generally 10-15% of the total sale amount but can be lower or higher depending on the product category.
- The total sale amount comprises the item price, handling charges, shipping service chosen by the buyer, sales tax, and any other applicable fees.
3. Store Subscription Fees
Registering a business account on eBay will incur certain subscription fees.
There are five Store subscription plans to choose from, each of which comes with different prices and benefits.
eBay offers five Store subscription options to fit each business’s needs, including Starter, Basic, Premium, Anchor, and Enterprise.
Whether you choose a monthly or yearly renewal, the subscription fee will be billed monthly until you cancel your plan.
Important notes: The eBay store option that best fits your needs largely depends on the number of items you plan to list per month and the type and size of your dropshipping business. Therefore, make sure to figure these out before settling down on a subscription plan.
4. Promotional Fees
To give your product listing an edge, consider adding certain features to get your products to the right people and boost sales. eBay offers you two options:
- Promoted Listings Standard: Make your products more visible across the eBay marketplace with an ad product. You are charged an ad fee only when you sell.
- Optional Listing Upgrades: Enhance your listings by adding extra features such as larger photos, subtitles, bold font, or setting an auction reserve price. You are charged an additional fee whether your item sells or not.
Restrictions of Dropshipping on eBay
Promising as it may seem, eBay dropshipping is not the right fit for every business.
It is recommended to be aware of the downsides of dropshipping on eBay before deciding whether to take on this trip.
1. Fierce Competition
Dropshipping on eBay is a profitable and appealing business venture, leading to increased competition across the eBay network.
There is a high chance that your product listings are the same as those of other sellers, which forces you to spend more time and effort conducting adequate product research to stand out from the competition.
2. Low Profit Margins
With such intense competition comes lower profit margins, as you might need to lower your prices to remain attractive to customers.
Additionally, eBay dropshipping involves various fees and expenses, such as listing fees, final value fees, and promotional fees, which can add up quickly and affect your overall profitability.
3. Less Customization
Unlike Shopify, eBay allows for little to no customization for your eBay store, making it challenging to build a memorable and long-lasting brand identity that sets you apart from others.
4. Strict Dropshipping Policies
As mentioned earlier, the only approved way to dropship on eBay is to source and sell products directly from a reliable wholesale supplier. This can be tough sometimes since many suppliers are unwilling to provide dropshipping services unless you have a proven sales record on the platform.
Additionally, you hold accountable for the safe and timely shipping of the products, although it is your supplier who takes over product availability, quality, and delivery. When an issue arises, you also take full responsibility and consequences, whether the problem comes from you or your suppliers.
How to Dropship on eBay?
Step 1: Register an eBay Seller Account
First, sign up for an eBay seller account to start making money via eBay dropshipping. If you already have one, skip this step.
Head to eBay.com and click Register. Or go to the eBay Registration page.
Here you can register as an individual or a business seller; pick the option that fits your needs.
- If you are selling on eBay casually as a hobby, not for professional reasons, a personal account is good to go. Enter your name and email address, and your account is ready. You can also sign up using your existing Google, Facebook or Apple account.
Important notes: You can register with a personal account and easily upgrade to a business account later. However, once you change your personal account to a business one, there is no way to revert.
- If you intend to build a long-lasting, professional brand identity that sells a large quantity of goods with high volume sales, opt for a business account.
- Click the Business account option.
- Provide your business name, email, and location and press on Create account.
- Enter your username.
Important notes: Do not choose a random username for your business. Your username should represent your brand, relate to what you sell, and is easy to remember.
- Next, fill in basic information about your dropshipping business, including business type, identity, bank account, and any beneficial owners, officers, directors or account managers.
- Then, subscribe to a compatible eBay store option: Starter, Basic, Premium, Anchor, or Enterprise.
- Link your checking account to receive payments for sales you make.
- Provide additional details such as store name, shipping policies, payment methods, etcetera.
Congratulations! Your eBay business account is all set up now!
Important notes: With a business account, you may be subject to applicable sales taxes if you're a US-based seller with inventory outside the US.
Step 2: Look for Profitable Products to Sell
If you don't have an inventory plan in mind yet, it is time to research and hunt for profitable items to sell on your eBay store. Thorough product research lets you understand the market demand, trends, competition, and profit margins for each product category to identify the perfect products for your eBay dropshipping business.
Pro tip: The easiest and quickest way to start your product research is by visiting eBay’s bestsellers page, which provides valuable insights on best-selling products by categories on the platform.
eBay’s bestsellers page provides you with a list of best-selling items in each product category.
The best products to dropship on eBay should at least have some of the following features:
- Trending and high-demand
- Lightweight and easy to deliver
- High quality
- Low return rate
- Low competition
- Decent profit margins
Learn more: 150+ Best Dropshipping Products to Sell in 2023
Step 3: Find a Reliable Dropshipping Supplier
Once you’ve had a clear-cut idea about the types of products to dropship on your eBay store, look for a dropshipping supplier to kick-start your adventure.
Although dropshipping suppliers for eBay are all certified and legitimate, you need to sort out and select the best supplier who can ensure timely and efficient delivery of high-quality products while offering you a good deal on bulk purchases.
When shortlisting the best dropshipping suppliers for your business, consider the following factors:
- Domestic warehouses in your target market
- Wide range of high-quality products at affordable prices
- Fast and reliable delivery
- Clear return, shipping, and payment policies
- Positive reviews
- Responsive customer service
CJdropshipping is one of the most prominent names in the dropshipping industry, with low-price products, excellent dropshipping service and warehouses in major countries.
Tip: Working with multiple suppliers requires extra effort, but it will be a smart move in the long term. Contact 4 to 5 suppliers in advance and request to receive product samples to test their delivery time and product quality before making decisions.
Learn more: 10 Best Dropshipping Suppliers in the USA (2023)
Step 4: Price Your Products
Pricing is a determining factor in the profitability of your business, meaning that no matter how lucrative the dropshipping game is, you only earn if you price your products right.
The proper pricing strategy for your business is the one that balances between profit and competitiveness: your product price needs to be low enough to gain you a competitive advantage over other competitors but also high enough to make significant profits.
Learn more: Dropshipping Pricing Strategy: A Complete Guide for Beginners
Factor in the following parameters when determining the price points for your products:
- Product costs (the cost you purchase from your suppliers)
- Business expenses (eBay fees, shipping fees, marketing costs, taxes, etcetera)
- Competitor pricing (the price at which your competitors are selling such products)
- Your expected profit margin
Pro Tip: Pricing involves testing and refining rather than relying on a fixed profit formula. You only find the optimal approach for your brand by continuously experimenting with different pricing strategies and consistently tracking and gathering data throughout the process.
Step 5: List Your Products on eBay
Next up, create a listing for each item of your eBay dropshipping store.
- Press on the Listings tab on the eBay Seller Hub, and click the Create listing button (or you can go to the eBay export page and click Create Your Listing in the top right corner.)
- From the dropdown menu, choose the Single listing option.
Important notes: Creating quality and optimized product listings on your eBay store is crucial to enhance your product’s visibility across the platform and attract more customers. Include the following in your product listings to ensure a high rank on eBay’s search engine and stand out from the crowd:
- A clear, concise and compelling product title that includes keywords
- Well-written and detailed product description that highlights product features
- High-quality product images and videos
- Customer reviews and ratings
- Relevant product tags and categories
- Clearly stated pricing and shipping information
- Return and refund policies
Meowingtons is a popular Shopify dropshipping store among cat lovers due to its unique website content and impressive product listings.
Pro tip: If you already have a Shopify store, consider dropshipping from eBay to Shopify to optimize the process of creating and managing your product listings. Connecting your eBay account to Shopify using an external app like DSers or LitCommerce gives you real-time control over your business in one single dashboard.
Learn more: 11 Top Shopify Dropshipping Stores That You Can Learn From in 2023
Step 6: Pass Order Details to Your Supplier
Your products are now visible to all eBay customers. With careful preparation and the right marketing strategies, it is just a matter of time before you receive the first order.
Once you make a sale, contact your supplier and forward the order details to them, who will pick, pack, and ship the item to your customers.
Important notes: Be active when communicating with your suppliers to ensure that your customer will receive the order within 30 days; otherwise, your business will suffer punishments from eBay.
Pro Tip: The whole process of contacting and monitoring can be daunting if you have a high sales volume. Consider using dropshipping apps like DSers or AutoDS, which automate the transmission of order details to your supplier, provide real-time updates on the order fulfillment process, and relay shipping tracking numbers to your customers.
Learn more: 10+ Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps in 2023
Step 7: Keep Your Brand On Track
After your business is rolled out and earning money, it is vital to manage and grow your brand to stay competitive.
Maintaining a reliable dropshipping brand on eBay involves several key steps, including but not limited to:
- regularly checking your product quality
- establishing active and regular communications with suppliers
- promptly fulfilling orders
- providing excellent customer service
- periodically updating and optimizing your product listings
- keeping an eye on your competitors
- consistently promote your brand through effective marketing strategies
Learn more: Dropshipping Tips: 15+ Proven Strategies to Skyrocket Your Sales
Kick-start Your Adventure with eBay Dropshipping Today!
With low startup costs, limited risk, and a vast customer base, eBay is a winning choice for dropshippers seeking to make extra money on the side. Researching your product niche, choosing a reliable supplier, optimizing your listings, and providing excellent customer service is a great starting point for making your dropshipping business a success.
However, to gain a substantial competitive advantage in this dropshipping field, take your dropshipping game up a notch with the assistance of Shopify.
Get started by integrating your eBay account with your Shopify store and then building a high-converting, fully functional, and professional-looking Shopify storefront with GemPages page builder for endless customization and granular control of the development of your online business.