eBay is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world. It stands next to Amazon and Walmart, and it started out as a place where you can buy pre-loved goods. People loved it because eBay gave them a way to dispose off of some goods that they no longer use.
Today, more than 171 million people use the platform, including those who sell through what is called the dropshipping business model. If you are a dropshipper, then would must know that you need to take advantage of big online marketplaces like eBay so you can show your products to the millions of visitors per month and make money with ebay.
But how? We will take a look at the proper way to dropship on eBay, and give you a step by step guide to make it happen and help you increase your conversion rate on this sales channel.
Why Should You Dropship On eBay?
eBay is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world. Before you start, you must know that eBay has different websites per country.
While you can use the same account or log-in credentials on every eBay website, the product you are selling will only be shown on the country website where you uploaded it, or the country where you can ship.
eBay is an auction site, which means you can actually get more money than what you originally wanted. The good thing about it is that you can set the number of days for the auction to end.
If you want the item to sell fast, you can add a Buy Now button, and a Buy Now price that is different from the minimum auction amount.
eBay has about 31% of the US audience share. What this means is that for all online shoppers, 31% of that goes to eBay to look for products. 31% is no small thing. For every one million people shopping online, 300,000 are on eBay, and this is a big enough number of people you can sell too.
The Best Types of eBay Sellers
It is important that you know this, so you have an idea who you are competing with. As a big marketplace, there are all sorts of sellers who can get a customer away from you.
These are those who are posting products for the first time. This can be you, too. First-time sellers do not post a lot of products, as they are testing yet if eBay is going to be a great place for their business. The sellers who fall under this category can be professional businessmen or those who simply what to sell pre-loved items.
These sellers have been around for a while, but they are not on eBay to make money online. They only use the site to dispose of some items they do not want. Many of the items they sell are second-hand goods, but some will also sell brand new items that they do not like. Most of the time, these are gifts that they have no use of.
These are people like you. These people are serious in making sales, and they want to use eBay because they know that there are millions of potential buyers here. These dropshippers have stores, and they are willing to spend money to advertise, and they will keep on renewing their listings, knowing that they do not have to put up a lot of capital.
If you would like to start your own dropshipping store this tutorial will help.
These are big companies that have a brick-and-mortar store. These can also be manufacturers, and these are the people you should be looking up to. In fact, you should look for these sellers for ideas. They have been around on eBay for a while, and they may even have dedicated and full-time employees who manage their eBay stores.
How To Make Money On eBay
Before you start selling, there are a few things you need to know, so you do not make the same mistakes that most dropshippers do on the platform.
Here are some tips to help you get started dropshipping on eBay:
Find the Right Products to Sell
Every now and then, people sell something because they like the item. While it is true that you will succeed if you do what you love, you must also know if there is a market for your products or not.
Some will insist on selling trends, and it can work for you. However, you must have a niche. You cannot just sell anything that is hot.
Quality is the highest priority here. You cannot afford to sell bad products to an eBay consumer. There is a feedback system in the eBay platform, and you cannot file a dispute to remove this. A bad feedback will stay there forever, with only a few exceptions.
When looking for products to sell, the first thing you have to do is to compare your product ideas to what is on the eBay market.
If you are selling aquarium items, find things that are unique and items that actually solve aquarium problems. In any kind of business, the right product to sell is the one that solves a problem.
People do not go to eBay to shop without a purpose. They go to the site to search for specific products that they can use, and the product must be available at an affordable price.
Work with the Right Suppliers
As a dropshipper, you do not keep your inventory. In this business model, you find a supplier or a manufacturer who will ship the item directly to your customer. You are acting as a salesman only, and the difference between the manufacturer’s price and yours is your profit.
When looking for suppliers, you definitely have to get a sample of the product. This way, you can check the quality and the speed of shipping, plus the actual cost of shipping. You can take a step back and then ask yourself how your customers would feel if they had the same experience.
The second most important thing is the backend software. It will be a burden to go to a supplier’s website, copy and paste the photos and descriptions on eBay, and then check if the product is still available every now and then.
What happens if someone won the bid on your eBay store, and then you find out that the supplier is out of stock?
Look for a supplier that has automated software that will give you access to your dashboard. This way, you know if the product you are dropshipping is still available.
You will get alerts for low stocks, and you can adjust your eBay listing accordingly. There are also suppliers whose platforms can be integrated to eBay, so this is a must before you start dropshipping in the platform.
Know the eBay Environment
eBay is an auction site and also a platform where you can build a store. It has a feedback system, listing fees, auction fees, and so much more. It has buyer Protection, Seller Protection, and other rules that make it a great marketplace.
Do not violate these rules, and understand how the fees work. Just because you have a lot of product photos does not mean you can post all of them on one listing.
eBay has a limitation for that. Adding more pictures costs money. There are also features where you can highlight your product listing as it is shown to the potential customer along with other search results. This also has a cost.
How To Start Dropshipping On eBay Step By Step
Now that you know how to prepare, the next thing to do is to sell on eBay and wait for sales to come in. You must follow these steps carefully, so you do not waste time going back to some steps that you missed.
Step 1: Create a PayPal Account
This is not a requirement, but it is highly recommended. PayPal is eBay’s preferred payment method. If you accept PayPal, you will qualify for seller protection. It is also much easier to issue refunds to customers this way, and PayPal will not charge you any fee for refunded money.
Buyers are also covered by both PayPal and eBay protection policies, and this is why many people on eBay use this payment method. Many eBay buyers filter their product searches to show only products from sellers who accept PayPal.
If they do this and you do not accept PayPal on eBay, your listing will not show, and you just lost a customer. There are alternatives to PayPal but they wont work on eBay.
Step 2: Market Your Products the Right Way
This is probably the most difficult step to follow in succeeding on eBay. Marketing covers a lot of areas, and you need to do them all right. Marketing has little to do with pricing, but more with the way you present your goods.
Here are some marketing tips to get you started:
In today’s world, photos are the king of marketing when selling online. Videos take a lot of work and are expensive to create, so photos are the way to go. When taking photos, make sure that you take them under a bright white light. Proper lighting makes photos more appealing.
You do not have to be a good photographer to get this done. All you need is a good-quality smartphone, some white-light LEDs, and a bright room.
If you do not know how to make a small photo studio, follow these steps:
- Place a white or plain-colored blanket on your kitchen table.
- Put a background behind the product; buy posters of use white cardboard
- Hang LED lights on top of the product
- Take photos
Make sure that the photos are clear. If you have shaking hands, invest in a small tripod. Take different angles of your product. Take photos of the whole product, the front, side, back, and close-up shots.
Customers on eBay hate stock photos. They always want to see the product as it is. If you use stock photos and the product you sent is not the same, expect to get bad feedback. Find a supplier and work out a solution for this, so you do not have to order all items you need to dropship.
Bad product descriptions are those that only provide the features and specifications. Sure, customers want to know this. It is their RIGHT to know this. If you tell a customer that an electronic gadget is 220 volts, it does not mean a thing. He just knows it works on that power outlet, but it will not make him buy.
The right product description is one that appeals to a customer’s emotion. Salespeople know this, and this is why there is a thing called sales talk. You need to create a need, make the customer think that he needs what you are selling, and then he will buy.
For example, you can say that your electronic gadget, like a charger, can fully charge a phone in 30 minutes, which gives back to the customer some precious time lost instead of waiting for devices to get charged before leaving the house or office. That is better than saying that it has 5 amperes of power.
If you name your product with a simple title of Phone Charger, no one will find that. Your listing will get buried in the pile of all phone chargers for sale on eBay.
SEO means search engine optimization. It simply means using the right words so any search engine can find your product.
It works in the following areas:
- product title
- meta tags
- product content
If a person is searching for a product on eBay, chances are he will type “iPhone charger”.
Since your product name does not have the word iPhone, eBay is not going to show it. But if you name your product as “Fast Charger for iPhone S, iPhone X, iPad,” anyone who types any of these words will see your product in the search results.
In your product listing, you have to add important information that matters to a customer. If a customer knows what he is getting into, then he will feel that you are not ripping him off.
Here are some examples:
- Shipping cost
- Shipping time
- Country of manufacture
- Country where it is shipped from
- Handling fees
- Other payment methods
Customers get annoyed after winning an auction only to find out that they have to go through all these hoops before they can get the product. They usually end up cancelling, or they continue with the purchase, but they will leave a bad feedback.
Step 3: Compete with the Right Price and Shipping Fees
Before you even sell, type the keywords on eBay for the same product that you are selling, take a look at the first four pages of all the products that are similar to yours. List down their prices, their shipping fees, and other important information.
Once you have all of these, find out how you can compete. While people love free shipping, you may not be able to do this if you are dropshipping, especially if your products are sourced from another country.
What you can do is to make a better offer, like buy 1-take 1 promos, or discounted shipping if several items were bought from your store. This is important that you should not miss because you are not the only person selling the same product. For all you know, there can be hundreds of you, so you need to offer something to customers that they cannot resist.
Step 4: Be a Customer's Champion
What does this mean? Customers love it when you take care of them when you respond to their inquiries with accuracy and in a timely manner. They hate it when they ask a question, and you misunderstood them.
If a customer asked you a question, you should also learn to anticipate what they will ask next. This is time-consuming, but your customer will be happy.
As a dropshipper, you have the advantage of not putting up a lot of capital for your business. But remember, there are many like you on eBay, and it is customer experience or customer service that is going to set you apart from others.
Usually, big companies employ a dedicated person to be the Customer Champion. Since you are dropshipping, it is likely that it is only you or you and your friends operating the business. Nevertheless, one of you has to be a customer champion.
Step 5: Take Care of Your Feedback
On eBay, feedback matters. What many sellers forget is that they should be the one to leave feedback first for their buyer, not the other way around. As a seller, you must immediately leave positive feedback to buyers who completed their purchase in a timely manner.
They will not see this feedback unless they leave feedback for you.
Here are some tips to make this work:
You must respond to the feedback of your buyers. You cannot just read feedback and leave them like that. Thank them, encourage them to buy more, express your happiness for having them as your customer, and so much more.
- Be responsive
- Make sure you also listen to bad feedback
- It takes only one negative feedback out of ten to turn your rating into 90%, which is a low rating
If someone said the packaging is bad, apologize and act on it. Change your packaging so no customer will ever leave bad feedback for the same reason.
Dropshipping Mistakes on eBay To Avoid
Now, you have the right preparation techniques, and you also now know how to sell properly on eBay. The last thing you should know is the top mistakes that you need to avoid.
Mistake 1: Running out of stock
If a customer spends time and energy to bid, he expects to win, and if he does, he expects that the item is available. Nothing annoys a customer more than a product he is willing to pay that you cannot provide.
How do you feel if you:
- Go to a restaurant, and the item on the menu is not available
- You like a pair of shoes in the mall, but you have no size available
- You go to a website, and the browser said Error 404: Not Found
Your customer feels the same way. To prevent this, make sure you use a software that can give you a full report of what is available or not from your dropshipping products. There is even software that you can integrate with eBay for dropshipping.
Here are the things that a supplier must have:
- Integration software
- Downloadable CSV file so you can import products to your eBay store
- Dashboard and reports
- Low stock alerts
If you can find a dropshipping supplier that has all these, then you are in good hands.
Mistake 2: Too many things to pay for
If possible, the customer must pay for only one thing: the price of the item. If your description says the customer has to pay for a lot of things, he is not likely to bid or buy. Why? Nobody wants to spend so much on anything that is not reasonable.
Here are some things that eBay sellers usually charge that do not make sense:
- Handling fee
- Packaging fees like boxes and bubble wraps
- Shipping insurance
Nobody wants to pay for these items. If they bid on an auction or use the Buy It Now button, they expect no other fees except the shipping fee and the tax. Charging too many things from your customer makes them feel they were scammed, that they thought the price was too low, only to find out they need to pay for more things.
Mistake 3: Bad photography and product description
Selling is an art. If you dropship, do not just copy and paste the product description of your supplier. Your supplier is selling to businessmen like you. What this means is that they are in what is called a business-to-business operation or B2B.
In B2B, there is no need to convince a person to buy out of need or out of emotion. This is why the items that they list has nothing more than photos and product specifications, like size and color. But since you are in the retail business, you cannot just leave the product description like that.
Here are some tips to create a great photo and product description on eBay:
- Use photos that are bright
- Take all angles of the product
- Create a problem and explain that problem carefully
- Explain why your product fixes this problem
- Explain why your product is the better choice among your competitors
Never use stock photos, like photos of boxed products. Ask your supplier to send you photos of the real deal, and you will get better feedback from your buyers.
Mistake 4: Poor Customer Support
Customers sometimes do not want to read long product descriptions. The product is just online anyway, so they would rather ask you questions.
Some customers have had bad experiences with previous sellers who ripped them off so you cannot blame them if they ask for too many things. Be patient, as these kinds of customers are likely the ones who will become loyal to you.
Here are some tips to make your customer happy:
- Understand the questions and provide a direct but polite answer
- Try to think if they have questions that they did not mention; provide this information, and they will be happy
- Ask them what they want, or if they have special needs like extra bubble wraps
- Keep your commitment
Customers are your bloodline. If you think it is alright to make one customer unhappy because there are millions of people on the internet anyway, you are making a mistake. Happy customers are the ones who will come back to your store and buy more.
And if they are unhappy, they will leave bad feedback about you on eBay for all others to see.
Make Money With eBay Final Thoughts
Dropshipping on eBay is a little harder than the usual way of doing it, which is building a website. If you have your own website, people have no way of leaving you bad feedback if you do not make that possible on your site.
On eBay, the feedback is not a choice; it is always going to happen. The buyers here are made of a global community of people who can destroy you if you do not give them what they deserve.
You can be punished by eBay if you have too many bad feedback, and there are many fees also that you need to think about.
In conclusion, here are some final tips to help you become successful on eBay as a dropshipper:
- Do not rush it, study your business carefully before launching it
- Make sure you have high-quality standards in photography, product description, customer service, and the product itself
- Treat your customers right, and serve them the way you want to be served
If you do these simple things, eBay can be the internet goldmine that you have been looking for. Want to know more about making money on eBay with dropshipping? Check out our free dropshipping course!