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The Definitive Guide To Making Money On eBay

The Definitive Guide To Making Money On eBay
Norm Tedford Oct 31, 2019
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

If you want to make money at home with little to no investment, consider eBay.

It’s been so successful at helping buyers to sell, many of them forgo e-commerce websites and just use the platform.

If you’re running a dropshipping business, eBay practically ensures your success.

eBay has over 171 million active users and is the number three online retailer after Amazon and Walmart. Sellers love to use the platform because it’s so incredibly easy to use.

It doesn’t cost much to set up an account, and it only takes a few minutes to set up an auction.

But you’ll have to go beyond the basics and give your customers an exceptional experience. To do this, hone your eBay knowledge to a razor-sharp point.

This way, they’ll always be back for more. So, mind-meld with the invaluable information in this article, and soon, you’ll be reeling in the cash!

Start Small

You’re going to have to have a sterling reputation on the platform if you want to make serious money. That’s why it’s essential to establish your legitimacy as a buyer first.

This is also the best way to get your feet wet in the eBay world.

Learn from listings that grab your attention. Study their pricing structure, photo placement, and how their headlines draw readers in.

After you’ve bought a bunch of things and have good feedback, you can move on to selling. Start out small and build your business slowly. This makes your success more sustainable.

This is the time to perfect the fine art of putting together offers and develop a system of listing, packaging, and shipping that works.

Finding Stuff to Sell

Scour your house for stuff to sell.  Start by cleaning out your closets.

You can also check out garage sales, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace for freebies or cheap items that people want to sell quickly. Eventually, you’ll run out of salable items at home, and you’ll need to find new inventory sources.

Look for woefully underpriced merchandise at swap meets and thrifts stores.

Target a Niche

After you’ve made a few sales, you’ll be able to decide if you want to have a full-time business. If this is something you want to do, you can start by targeting a niche to sell to. This allows you to concentrate all your marketing expertise on a specific customer base.

The more targeted your niche, the easier it is to sell, and the more you can charge.

 Other Ways to Find Stuff

You can also sell stuff you find locally for cheap, but command top dollar on the platform. For example, stores like TJ Maxx are often goldmines for merchandise you can later resell for big bucks.

You could also resell brand name items that are being discontinued and therefore, you’re able to purchase at rock-bottom prices. Lastly, look for items already listed on eBay that you think have potential but aren’t selling.

This could be because the seller isn’t using the right marketing strategies. If you buy his stuff and resell it, his loss is your gain!

Dropshippers and Wholesalers

You can also use wholesalers or dropshippers to supply you with a steady stream of hot products. Dropshipping companies handle the orders and the shipping, whereas wholesalers sell items to you in bulk for a discount which you then ship yourself.

Tips for Running A Business

If you plan on making a regular, steady income from eBay, you need to set up officially as a business. This includes getting a license, naming your business, and developing a business plan.

Because you’re a business now, it’s more important than ever to make sure you package your items professionally, have impeccable shipping practices, stay on top of your inventory, and track your finances.

Excellent customer support is essential to any business, so make sure yours is top-notch.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations of making zillions on your very first day. It’s going to take time to build a booming business.

Once you start making some serious cash, consider opening an eBay store. There are lots of advantages, like more free listings, lower final value fees, and marketing tools.

Use PayPal

PayPal protects both buyers and sellers.

Many buyers won’t buy from a seller who doesn’t have PayPal and filter their searches for only those sellers who have a PayPal account.

PayPal is faster and safer than accepting checks. Since eBay owns PayPal, they’re integrated so you can send a PayPal invoice through eBay to your buyer.

Using Market Research

Many eBay sellers concentrate on a specific type of product. Others follow trends, which requires extensive market research.

Whichever you choose, focus on products you’ve developed insight and knowledge about.

To make money selling products on eBay, you’ll have to choose something that has a high demand, but not a lot of competition. And, you have to know if your product will actually sell.

To obtain market information like this, use SaleHoo Marketing Research Lab for your product search. With this invaluable tool, you’ll be able to see if you’ll be able to make money before you invest so much as a dollar in inventory.

This is a tool that shows how many people are selling a particular item, how well it sold over time, and how much money you stand to make with it.  It’ll  also show you hot new niches, stats for your competition, and sales trends.

Then, you’ll base your business decisions on cold, hard data, so you don’t have to guess.


Price your wares competitively because many buyers filter their search results from the lowest price to the highest.

As with all other kinds of search results, search terms that come up first will get the most attention. Do a little competitive intelligence by researching what others are charging on the platform itself.

Factor in all your costs when you’re pricing your items so you have competitive prices without being too low. Make sure the product is worth the effort it’s going to take to sell it even after the fees, postage, and packaging costs.

If you choose an auction format, keep in mind you’re obligated to give the winner their product. So, keep this in mind when setting starting bids.

Reserve pricing is always a bad idea. If you’ve never heard of the term, it’s a minimum price a seller can set for a particular product. If the lowest bid doesn’t meet the reserve, you don’t have to sell the item.

By using reserve pricing, you risk not selling your product. So, by getting unduly attached to it, it could end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust for untold eons.

Offer Free Shipping

Buyers adore freebies, and one of the most powerful of all freebies of all is free shipping. As many as 90% of buyers will complete a purchase if they don’t have to pay for it.

Many customers are so adamant that every product should have it, they search only for products that offer it. If the product doesn’t have it, they won’t buy it.

Bundle the estimated shipping cost into the price of the item. This way, you give your customer exactly what he wants, and you won’t lose money.

Choose Reliable Suppliers

By choosing suppliers you can count on, you’ll save yourself loads of time, money, and aggravation.  You can winnow out the unreliable ones by doing thorough background checks and obtaining references from current or former clients.

Make sure your suppliers are reliable professionals who are top-notch at product fulfillment (packaging and shipping). They also have to able to handle the number of shipments you’ll need.

This will increase customer satisfaction and help reduce the number of returns and reshipments.

An excellent supplier also ships products on time, notifies you of inventory changes, and is responsive if there’s a problem with a shipment. If your supplier drops the ball, this is going to be devastating for your business.

Check Out the Supplier’s Business

Try to work with local wholesalers, so you can visit their workplace.

This way, you’ll be able to meet with them face-to-face if you need to. If you’re able to use local suppliers and their workplace is disorganized and messy, this is a huge red flag. Avoid a business like this at all costs!

If it’s not possible to use local people, get a list of vetted suppliers.

A Test Order

The best way to check your supplier’s performance is to place a test order. When doing this, check for shipping speed, the accuracy of tracking details, and the condition of the item when it arrives.

Test the quality of their customer service by seeing how they handle returns. This is important because once you get your business up and running, excellent customer service will be crucial to your success.

If the potential supplier does well with the test, consider hiring them.

Once You’ve Chosen A Supplier

Once you’ve chosen a supplier, make sure you can easily track shipments, sales, and inventory. Then, if a customer has a problem with an order, you can solve it for them.

Make sure your supplier gives you proof of postage for every sale you make. This prevents would-be scammers from claiming they never received the item and can save your reputation if there’s a dispute.

Lastly, have multiple suppliers, so if one supplier runs out of an item, you won’t lose your customer.

Use High-Quality Photos

To be truly competitive, you need to take jaw-dropping, heart-achingly beautiful photographs.

So, brush up on your photographic and photo-editing skills or pay a professional to do it for you. Photos that catch the eye of your customers really put the sizzle in what you’re selling.

Your photographs should be stunningly beautiful in a way that dramatically highlights your product in all its glory. They should also show, in no uncertain terms, exactly what he’s getting. This way, he’s less likely to return it.

Photograph your product on a white surface and background with some excellent lighting.

Have an Attention-Grabbing Title

Craft an attention-grabbing title for your product. Make sure that your prospect can easily search for it, too. Type your product into the search box and see what comes up so you can model your own titles on what other sellers are doing.

This will also show you how buyers search for things. Make sure there are no typos because this makes it more difficult for buyers to find you.

You’re also going to need a killer product description. To write one, use powerful emotion to sell your product. Focus on how the product will make your customer feel by emphasizing benefits, not features. 99% of the time, buying a product is an emotional decision.

So, make sure your product description gets your prospect incredibly excited to use your product. You need to sell your customer on why the product is perfect for him. Ask yourself what pain your product takes away for your prospect, and what pleasure it delivers to them.

It’s okay to use facts but tell your customers why the facts matter. If you give them a technical detail, immediately translate how that directly benefits your customer.

Use targeted keywords in your item title and description. The more closely the keywords you use match those of your customer when he searches for a product, the more likely it is he’ll find you.

If you’re selling a trendy brand, put the name of it in your title and description, because this most definitely will be a keyword prospects will use. Check out Google AdWords to see what keywords related to your product are hot.

 Keep Your Feedback Score High

eBay customer feedback scores can make or break a business. A low one can cause a customer to never buy anything from you ever again. Plus, if your rating isn’t high enough, eBay will charge you a 4% fee.

This is on top of the Final Value Fee (FVF). A Final Value Fee is the amount eBay charges a seller when a buyer purchases an item.

Always ask for feedback from your buyers. And if your buyer is prompt with his payment, make sure you give him positive feedback ASAP.

To keep your score high, be responsive by answering customer questions within a few hours, and do your best to resolve any difficulties encountered by your customers.

Stay professional even with angry customers. Remember that all feedback is public, so don’t respond in a way that’ll be embarrassing for you.

Becoming Top Rated

If you become a Top Rated Seller, you’ll get 10% off Final Value Fees (FVF).

You’ll also get a Top Rated Plus seal. Having this status helps you to stand out from the competition. To be a Top Rated Seller in the US, you must meet the following criteria:

  • at least 1,000 transactions and $1,000 in sales
  • at least 95% of transactions with valid shipping tracking upload within the handling time you promised your customers
  • fewer than 0.3% of disputes closed without being resolved
  • less than 3% of transactions were shipped late

eBay gives preference to sellers who are top-rated by listing these sellers higher in search results.

Tap the Exponential Power of Social Media

To market your product, unleash the incredible power of social media. But remember, with social media, reciprocity is the key.

To get likes, you must give likes.

With all of your social media campaigns, keep a detailed record of what worked and what didn’t.  For example, which images got the most likes, and which hashtags were most popular.

Over time, this will give you an indication of where to invest more time and energy and where to invest less.


Post your most recent listings on your personal Facebook account. But do so judiciously, so you don’t bombard your friends with marketing messages.

If you’re really serious about selling, start a Facebook business page. Then, you can start using your page to promote your eBay store.

You’ll also need to have clearly defined goals. Do you want to drive traffic to your eBay store, build your email list, or do you want to get 10,000 likes?

Once you know what your objectives are, you’ll see what you need to do to achieve them.

You can also try targeted ads. Paid promotion via Facebook is a powerful marketing tool!

Facebook knows people’s ages, marital statuses, where they like to go on vacation, and all kinds of other demographic information. Try to have an experienced freelancer run an ad for you, as it takes considerable experience and knowledge to get it right.


Pinterest has gorgeous visuals, so it’s perfect for eBay marketing. Create dedicated Pinterest boards for things you sell on eBay and include a direct link on Pinterest to your eBay store.

To make it super simple for a customer to find your eBay store after he sees something he likes, make sure your Pinterest profile name is identical to your eBay seller ID.


If you haven’t already, you should open an Instagram business account. Then, you’ll be able to use Instagram Insights.

This will give you information on such things as follows, reach, and impressions.

If you have an exciting new product to introduce, make a video.

You can make a stories ad that powerfully dramatizes one of your business goals. An ad only costs a few dollars a day, and disappears after 24 hours so they it won’t clutter your feed. Also, try running other forms of promotion like having a contest or featuring a customer who’s given you positive feedback.

To keep your feed uncluttered, only follow accounts or people relevant to your business. These include customers, competitors, and related companies, and not random strangers.

Also, keep in mind If you make every post just about selling, people will get tired of all that and will just move on. So, mostly have valuable informational content in your feed with occasional sales pitches.

Make sure all images on your page have similar colors, lighting, fonts, and photographic angles. This maintains a consistent aesthetic that accentuates the attractiveness of your page.

Keep photo captions short and to the point. They should be what you’re selling, the price, and where your buyer needs to go to get it.

Final Words

eBay’s not going anywhere. For the last two decades, savvy sellers have used the platform to build lucrative businesses. You could be the next success story!

All you have to do is to find a hot product or two, a reliable source for this product, and deliver impeccable customer service.

When you do these three things, the sky’s the limit!

Norm Tedford

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