Interested in opening a dropshipping business but want to keep startup costs low? eBay dropshipping may be the ideal choice.
Dropshipping on eBay removes the need to create a custom storefront, as you can use your eBay store to start selling products online. You also get access to a ready-made audience, allowing you to save money you’d otherwise be spending on marketing.
Fascinated? This post covers everything you need to know about eBay dropshipping, from finding the right suppliers to maintaining healthy profit margins.
What is eBay?
eBay is an online auction website where you can sell your products.
Like other ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and AliExpress, eBay’s user base has steadily increased for years. In Q1 of 2021, the platform reached 187 million users.
The high volume of users on the platform has attracted online sellers looking to find customers for their products.
How does eBay work?
You can find, bid on, and buy almost anything on eBay—from cars to jewelry.
On eBay, sellers post their products with a starting bid. The lower the starting bid, the more likely customers will bid on the product. Customers bid on the product for the specified number of days set by the seller until the highest bid finally lands the sale.
However, sellers can instead add a Buy It Now option on their product page to control the price and allow customers to purchase, without bidding, at a fixed price.
What is eBay dropshipping?
eBay dropshipping is a profitable, low-cost business model where a merchant buys products from wholesalers, marks up the price, and resells them through the platform.
It’s preferred by many entrepreneurs because there’s no need to physically touch any item or rent a warehouse to store inventory. Any orders you get go straight to your dropshipping vendor, and it’s their job to sort, pack, and ship the product to your customer.
Benefits of eBay dropshipping
There are numerous benefits to dropshipping via eBay:
- Low risk: eBay dropshippers only purchase goods as customers purchase them. There are no minimum order quantities. So if a customer only buys one necklace from your eBay store, you only need to pay for that one specific necklace. It’s a great business model for new entrepreneurs looking to experiment or experienced entrepreneurs looking to try a new niche.
- Highly automated: Using dropshipping suppliers like DSers, you’ll be able to automate most of your dropshipping efforts. It only takes a few minutes to list the product you want to sell on your eBay store. Once a sale rolls in, it only takes one click to process the order. This gives you more time to focus on what matters: marketing and customer service.
- Lower costs: Since you’re selling a manufacturer’s product instead of designing your own, you’ll pay wholesale pricing. Depending on where you’re dropshipping from, you might even benefit from having low shipping rates (sometimes even free) that keep costs low for yourself and your customers.
- Saves time: You only need to focus on a couple of administrative tasks, marketing, and customer service. The manufacturer tends to carry the weight of the most time-consuming (packaging and shipping) and expensive (carrying inventory) tasks.
- Millions of products to sell: You can choose from millions of products from a wide-range of dropshipping niches. Simply look through product marketplaces like AliExpress and add any product to your store in only one click. You can sell proven products rather than trying to create your own.
Is dropshipping on eBay allowed?
Even though dropshipping is completely legal, whether eBay allows dropshipping is another topic altogether. So, let’s next take a look at eBay’s dropshipping policies.
eBay dropshipping policies
Is dropshipping banned on eBay? Not exactly. But it is restricted. Dropshipping is technically allowed on eBay, provided you “fulfill orders directly from a wholesale supplier.” So, what does that really mean? It means that if you purchase bulk quantities from a wholesale supplier, you can promote those products on eBay.
What can’t you sell on eBay? Well, if you’re re-selling products from another retail website or marketplace—think Amazon or AliExpress—you can’t dropship on eBay. eBay states, “Purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed on eBay.” So, dropshipping from Amazon to eBay isn’t allowed: You can’t list something on eBay, buy it from Amazon, and then ship it to your eBay customer.
And eBay is strict about this policy, stating that it will remove or lower your listings in its search results. If you’re a long-time seller, it may even lower your rating or status on the platform. Ouch!
How to dropship on eBay
Ready to become an eBay dropshipper? Here’s a step-by-step guide to launching your own successful eBay dropshipping store.
1. Create an eBay seller account
A seller account is necessary to sell products via an eBay store. To create one:
- Go to the registration page and provide basic information about your online business.
- Subscribe to the eBay store option that best suits your needs.
- Link your checking account to receive payments.
Once you’ve completed these steps, connect the new store to Shopify using the eBay app. Doing this will enable you to see inventory levels, communicate with buyers, and manage returns—all through one dashboard.
2. Find profitable items
Next, investigate which products sell best on eBay. Check eBay’s bestsellers page for insights and check whether you can source similar products at lower-than-MRP through dropshipping sites like Doba or AliExpress.
The popular item categories are:
- Clothing, shoes & accessories
- Consumer electronics
- Home & garden
- Pet supplies
- Toys & hobbies
Products that are lightweight and sell are generally the easiest to dropship, so consider finding such items in the listed categories. You’ll also want to check the return rate of each item—products with a low return rate are less likely to cause problems with your customers.
3. Choose your dropshipping suppliers
Once you’ve found a profitable item to sell on eBay, look for dropshipping suppliers that can offer you a good deal on bulk purchases. If you own a Shopify store, you can use apps like DSers to connect with different wholesalers.
Vet suppliers by checking their seller rating, customer reviews, shipping times, and fees. Pay special attention to the delivery time, since eBay requires brands to deliver items within 30 days of an order being placed.
4. Create your eBay listing
Create a listing for each of the products you’re dropshipping on eBay. Include keywords that your target customers may use when searching for those items. And pay special attention to the following things—they all influence how likely the eBay algorithm is to show your products to potential customers:
- Product title and description
- Product images
- Customer reviews
- Return policy (check whether your dropshipping supplier handles product returns)
5. Price your product
eBay dropshipping becomes lucrative when you leave enough room between an item’s purchase and resale price. Determine the price of your dropshipping products by factoring in:
- Product costs
- Business expenses (listing costs, shipping fees, etc.)
- How much profit you want to make
You’ll also want to monitor and collect data on what comparable products are selling for through the marketplace. Tweak your product pricing accordingly until you find a middle ground between competitive prices and shoppers’ willingness to buy.
Dropshipping from Amazon to eBay
Previously, Amazon sellers have used Amazon-to-eBay dropshipping software like Easync and PriceYak to sell their Amazon products on eBay. This way, eBay sellers could resell Amazon products at a higher price.
However, with new policies in place, some store owners have suffered the consequences.
In a 25-page thread on eBay, customers were frustrated having ordered a product on eBay, only to receive an Amazon package in the mail with a gift receipt inside. Knowing they were paying a premium for purchasing on eBay naturally led to angry customers hurting the eBay brand. So policies were changed to stop sellers from dropshipping from Amazon to eBay.
Tips for success with eBay dropshipping
Although eBay dropshipping isn’t overly complicated, there are some things you can do to set your new business up for success.
- Create a multi-buy offer. Multi-buy offers basically are eBay’s version of bundled offers, where you sell one product for $5, two for $8, and so on. They’re a great way to increase your profit margins since you won’t need to pay import or shipping fees several times.
- Unify your inventory. Dropshipping tools like DSers merge inventory data from all sales channels (including your eBay storefront and online store), so you can view customer and sales information in one place.
- Prioritize customer support. Even though the products you sell come through dropshipping suppliers, it’s your job to ensure customers are satisfied. Answer support requests in a timely manner, and take full responsibility when there’s an issue with shipping or product quality.
Start your eBay dropshipping business
With so many people using eBay to discover and buy products, opening a dropshipping store on the platform seems like a no-brainer.
Use the tips from our guide to source profitable items, create a seller account, and make a profit. By putting in some work, it’s possible to create a lucrative income stream through eBay dropshipping.
eBay dropshipping FAQ
Is eBay dropshipping profitable?
Dropshipping on eBay is profitable and low-risk. The key to success with an eBay dropshipping business is sourcing products at a low cost and selling them on the marketplace for a higher markup.
How much does it cost to dropship on eBay?
eBay dropshipping fees include listing fees (35¢ for each listing beyond the 250 free insertions per month), final value fees (12.9% of the sale price or lower, depending on the product category), and store fees (starting at $4.95 per month).
What are the best eBay dropshipping suppliers?
Reliable suppliers are critical to dropshipping business success. You can find suppliers on platforms like Alibaba, AliExpress, and Doba. Be sure to check the seller rating, customer reviews, and estimated delivery time of each individual supplier.
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