How To Create an eBay Store: A Guide For Small Businesses

eBay is one of the oldest and the most renown eCommerce platforms in the world.  It has retained its position in the market, despite the advent of many ecommerce platforms. What does that mean for you – a small business owner?

eCommerce is the future of commerce and for small businesses opening an eBay store can be an excellent idea. Yet, the reality is:  Not everyone has an eBay success story to share. 

It’s not that you can’t taste success on the platform. But, before you jump onto the platform, it is crucial to understand the platform and its ecosystem. 

Selling on eBay is not a cakewalk. Apart from grit, determination, and hard work, a detailed knowledge of the eBay ecosystem is a must.  

In case you are wondering about the secret success formula, there is no secret as such. Just a few steps to be kept in mind to create an eBay store while selling on eBay and you will be able to crack the ‘Great eBay Code’.  

Why eBay?

Are you still reluctant to join eBay? Yes? Then read this. 

  • eBay has more than  182 million registered buyers. 
  • As per Statista, In the second quarter of 2021, eBay has about  159 million active buyers globally, which is second only to Amazon.  
  • eBay’s Gross Merchandising Volume aka GMV crossed $100 billion in 2020. 
  • Almost every 5th consumer in the US uses eBay to buy.  

The statistics reveal the reasons why every merchant wants to be a success story on eBay. 

Benefits of eBay Store

There are numerous benefits of selling in eBay store, here are three prominent reasons why every seller wants to be on this eCommerce. 

More exposure

With the eBay store subscription, your products get more exposure. More exposure means increased customers According to a report published by eBay, sellers saw up to a 25% rise in their sales in three months after switching to eBay. 

Using their promotion manager feature, get access to Promotions Manager sellers can  create promotions to attract new buyers and boost traffic.

Access to the global markets 

With eBay you can easily tap into global markets . There are two ways eBay helps merchants tap into global markets. 

Merchants can either sell their items directly on eBay’s international sites or they can attract global buyers by listing their products on eBay.com. The growth program by eBay helps businesses to expand their footprints into global markets in a single move. With constant mentoring and support small business can realize their global dream easily.  For example, with eBay’s Global XPansion Program for Indian sellers businesses have an access global markets.

Easy to start

Starting on eBay is simple, easy, and hassle-free.  Setting up an account takes merely 15 minutes, and then it is products listing and you begin selling. Overnight success is a myth and you need to constantly work toward it by putting efforts wherever necessary. But, yes, taking the first few steps is easy.  

eBay Small Business Central

eBay’s Small Business Central is a hub for sellers where they can learn how to succeed on the eBay marketplace. The program helps small business owner understand the nuances of how a business is conducted on eBay.  

Merchants and Sellers on eBay

Without a doubt eBay offers unlimited opportunities for merchants. There are millions of sellers who sell their products on the eBay marketplace. Among them most sellers are hobbyists. However, there are thousands of people in the virtual marketplace who solely depend on eBay for earning. These are the people who have cracked the code of eBay. They’re Top Rated Sellers ( aka Power Sellers in India). To compete with them, you need to devote time to understand the eBay marketplace environment, its rules and regulations and many other aspects required to make a transition from a hobbyist to a PowerSeller. 

  • Who are Top Rated Sellers?

. You must aim to become a Top Rtaed Seller for the simple reason that most buyers prefer transacting with them as it can help grow your business really fast as they are displayed prominently in the search result.  

  • Criteria To Become Top Rated Seller 

     To qualify as a Top Rated Seller :

  • You must be active on the eBay site for at least 90 days. 
  • You must have a minimum of $ 1,000 worth of transaction over the past 12 months. 
  • Meet other standard requirements related to transaction defect rate, late shipment rate and cases closed without resolution. 
  • You must comply with eBay listing policies and other regulations. 
  • You must uphold the eBay community ethics, values including timeliness, honesty, and ethical behavior. 

And of course, eBay rewards your good behaviour. Top Rated Sellers have to pay less fee and their profiles receive a boost in eBay search result visibility. 

  • Follow eBay Rules 

Once you list an item on eBay, you automatically enter into a binding contract. And this is the first step in selling on eBay, and once you do, it’s easy for a buyer to claim that you have not sold the item as described in your listing. If this happens, eBay will consider you a “Non-Selling Seller” for that transaction and report your failure to the buyer and other relevant parties.

To know more about eBay rules, click here

How to Create an eBay Store and Business in 7 Steps

Starting an eBay business is a free and straightforward process. You just need to create an eBay Store, and an account, list your offerings, and start selling – all in a day. 

What Do You Need To Know About Starting on eBay

Selling on eBay is a simple process. The seller lists the item, the customer interested in the item pays for it and the transaction is complete. It is possible to start selling on eBay without any significant upfront investment. Start with used products that you want to sell and then move on to bigger things. eBay has more than 1.5 billion listings consisting of collectibles, vintage and antique items, sporting goods, crafts, pet supplies, tablets, webcams, 3D printers, used items as well as brand new items. 

eBay offers a free seller account for beginners. However, it charges a small fee from sellers using its online platform to list and sell items. As the business grows, sellers can create their own eBay store, a paid monthly subscription model that comes equipped with features to boost traffic and sales. 

  • Decide What To Sell

It is possible to sell almost anything under the sun provided the item does not fall under prohibited and restricted categories. It’s better to narrow down the niche with your forte in mind. In case doubts, it is advisable to take the help of eBay Explore to know more about trending and popular products. 

Additionally, you can use various eBay tools like Terapeak to get relevant data regarding product details, their average selling price, number of sellers, and total sales amid other things. 

  • Set Up Your eBay Store Account

eBay offers two types of account – personal and business accounts

  • Personal account if you are going to sell on eBay as an individual. If your business is not registered, eBay recommends that you create a Personal account. 
  • A business account is for registered businesses and can be created by visiting Create an Account page, where you will be required to provide your legal business name, email, and phone number, and then create a password.

Make Your eBay Business Official

However, as you start selling successfully on eBay, authorities like IRS will classify you as a business and like any other business, you will need to comply with their laws. Even if you’re not making regular sales, it’s advisable to make your eBay business official by registering it. In most cases, it doesn’t cost much and will help you to stay on the right side of law. 

This includes:

  • Registering your eBay’s business name
  • Obtaining a Tax ID number from relevant tax authority
  • Obtaining federal and state license if it is required by law
  • Deciding a proper legal structure for your business 

You need to follow rules and compliances even if you’re running an online business. Like a ‘normal’ physical store business, you need to comply strictly with all rules and regulations. Therefore, as you’re close to launching your eBay store, it’s better to check legal requirements in advance.  

  • Price Your Items Properly

A good pricing strategy is imperative to maximize your profit. First do not indulge in lowball pricing just to undercut the competition. It may make look your product inferior and lower your profit margin. Also, do not just think about making a profit on the product. 

You need to include the cost of packaging, time spent, and the cost of delivering it to the customer as well. Additionally, during the initial stages spend some time testing different pricing options; experts recommend the ‘best offer’ option at this stage.

  • Improve Your Seller Profile 

As mentioned above, there are more than 1.5 billion listings on eBay. To stand out, you need to improve your seller profile. 

  • First, list your product in the relevant category. 
  • Include high-res photos of your products from every angle to make the product more appealing to prospective buyers. 
  • Choose a relevant title for your product. Include your product’s key features and benefits and be honest about the condition of your product. 

All this will help improve your positive reviews and ratings.  You will attract new customers and will be able to retain older ones. 

  • Promptly Deal With Customer Issues, Such As Return Or Refund

Your buyer may not be satisfied with your product or feel that the product is no longer required. It is strongly recommended that you have a prompt and professional refund and return policy in place for utmost customer satisfaction.

It is also advisable to offer a discount for minor issues than exchanging a product. It’s a better option than a refund or product exchange as many customers will happily accept the product at a discount. Even offering a deep discount will help minimize the losses.  

  • Factor In Shipping And Storage

As you plan to sell on eBay, do consider the shipping and storage costs. What you need to understand is: sending an apparel item is easier than shipping a billiards table. In case you’re selling fragile items, which can be damaged during shipping, it is advisable to consider the extra packaging costs and your potential for breakage. 

Additionally, when setting a shipping and storage cost, you can consider building the shipping price into the item’s price, so you can offer free shipping. 

Note: When a seller offers free delivery, they might be eligible for a free delivery message

You can make your listings more attractive to buyers by providing shipping discounts or combined shipping. Combined shipping is when a buyer orders multiple items from a seller, sellers can save their time and money by sending everything in one package. 

  • Be Aware Of Restrictions

Though, pretty much anything can be sold on eBay, there are certain items that cannot be sold. If you are not sure whether the product you want to sell you can check the eBay prohibited and restricted items policies. eBay has detailed policies on items like adult things, air rifles, BB guns, and alcohol. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sell on eBay without a store? 

Yes, this is possible. Later, if you feel the need to ramp up to 250 listings per month; you can think of taking a store subscription plan to save on listing fees. 

Do I need a tax ID to sell on eBay?

No, if a seller owns an eBay store and making a small profit by selling their items, social security number is enough. Income earned from eBay sales may still count as taxable income. Only those who are looking to turn their eBay shop into a business should obtain a tax ID.

However, eBay has its own policies and IRS’s policies keep changing, it is always better to familiarize yourself with it.  

How many things can you sell on eBay for free?

As of now, a seller can list up to 250 items per month for free on eBay. You’ll pay a small fee for each listing beyond that allotment. This is known as an insertion fee. These fees are charged per listing, per category. For most categories, the fee is $0.35 per listing. 

How much is an eBay store per month?

The basic subscription fee starts from $19.95 a month for an annual subscription. eBay charges two types of fee: 

  • Insertion -fee at the time of adding a product listing. It is non-refundable even if your items don’t sell. eBay charges per listing and category which means if you list a single item for two categories, you’ll have to pay the listing fee twice.  
  • Final Value Fee when you sell an item on the platform. eBay ensures sellers don’t have to worry about payments processing as this is taken care by eBay. The final value fee is calculated as a certain percentage of the total amount of the sold items through the marketplace, along with $0.30 per order. To know more, click here.  

How eBay Store Is Different 

How different it is from other eCommerce, especially Amazon, is what we will read here.

Selling on eBay is more manageable compared to Amazon. Reason: implementing a more straightforward structure for calculating the fees for products sold. Over the years, eBay has made it easier for sellers with this implementation.

The significant difference between eBay and other eCommerce sites, especially Amazon, is that while sites like Amazon are retailer sites, eBay is mostly an auction site.

Another significant difference is eBay is more seller oriented whereas Amazon is buyer oriented. On eBay price listings are affected mostly by the number of bids and how aggressively buyers bid for a certain product.

In short: while both are eCommerce there is a huge difference in their business models and therein lies the difference in their modus operandi as well. 

Manage Listing, order management and inventory carefully 

As an eCommerce seller, it is essential to manage your listings, order management, and inventory. From the moment you list your product to the time it is shipped to the customers; you need to track real-time data.   

While there are inventory management tools that eBay offers,  the problem is they are not useful anymore as they only cover a single channel. However, the reality is many sellers have multiple eBay accounts. As a result, you need to check inventory, orders and shipping manually in each channel. That’s where the role of a multichannel ecommerce software comes into picture. It unifies every data from multiple channels in a single dashboard. Thus,  you can manage their listing, inventory management, and shipping all at a single platform. 

Understand the Fee Structure 

Creating an eBay store is not difficult, there are certain fees to be paid. The fee structure depends on your business model. eBay seller fees are the prices that a seller pays to the eCommerce for setting up their store. And the amount depends on various factors like the type of account chosen, number of items you want to sell, and how much they cost.

eBay has different fee structure for different accounts and shops but the most common types include –

  • Account fees: while the individual accounts are free, there are other various accounts which have different fee structures. 
  • Listing insertion fees: This is the initial amount a seller pays to eBay for listing their products. 
  • Optional listing upgrade fees: This is a fee that sellers pay to upgrade their listings to provide extra features to boost sales. 
  • Final Value Fees: This is the fee a seller pays when a product is finally sold. This fee takes into account the third party payment processing so a seller doesn’t have to pay additional fees.
  • Payment processing fee: This type of fees is added into commission fees so there is no additional payment processing fee. 

 Other than these there are other additional fees that you may consider and they are :

  • Promoted listing fee
  • Classified listing fee
  • Shipping costs 
  • International fees

Each of these fees are calculated separately and added onto the seller fees. 

Start With What You Know 

If you’re unsure what to sell, starting with the product you love and already know a lot about is advisable. Later, as you understand the eBay ecosystem better, you can add multiple products. Before taking a call,  asking the following questions will be helpful: 

  • Do you have enough idea about the product you want to sell? 
  • Does this product have enough demand? 

It’s important to know that certain items, including electronics and athletic shoes, consistently appear in the most popular categories on eBay. It’s, however, advisable to stay away from selling electronic items when you start selling on eBay.

Summary

eBay is an eCommerce that is seller oriented and offers numerous opportunities for genuine sellers to connect with the real buyers. Once a seller has opened an eBay store, selling is easy and one can sell almost everything under the sun, except the few restricted items including alcohol and some guns. 

Understand this: there are many eCommerce sites out there in the market, but eBay business model is different and more seller oriented. In short, eBay is seller-friendly auction site, whereas other sites like Amazon are more a retailer site functioning like a retailer site as compared to eBay site.

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