The Essential Guide to Selling on eBay

Sell on eBay

Your Shopify store is your business, your brand, and a key source of your income, so it’s success is important. That’s why your products needs to be seen by new shoppers who can be turned into new buyers. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Luckily, you have an opportunity to reach a global audience of more than 100 million active buyers on eBay, a global ecommerce marketplace.

Why sell on eBay

Shopify merchants have access to a powerful integration for publishing products on eBay. This integration also helps merchants make and manage eBay sales—all from within their Shopify account.

Adding eBay as a sales channel will allow you to: 

  • Reach more than 179 million* active shoppers
  • Be seen in one of the world’s top product search engines
  • Do all of this without having to leave your Shopify account

If you’re not already an active eBay user, here are a few facts*:

  • There’s no required waiting time to start selling on eBay
  • Businesses of any size can become eBay sellers
  • 90% of items listed on eBay are fixed-price listings, not auction listings
  • 80% of items listed on eBay are brand-new products
  • More than 65% of items sold on eBay are delivered in three days or less
  • EBay reported $95 billion dollars in gross merchandise volume in 2018

* EBay Q4 2018 filing.

What you’ll find in this guide

This guide will show you how to start selling on eBay, quickly and easily. We’ll look at the benefits of eBay’s marketplace, basic selling strategies, how to list your products, and how to optimize your listings. We’ll also examine how to enhance conversion rates and drive buyer loyalty. Finally, we’ll cover some of the things not to do when selling on eBay, and share some resources to help propel your growth.

You can either read the chapters in this guide in order or jump around to find what you need. Good luck!

Understanding the eBay opportunity

Sell on eBay: Chapter 1

Selling on eBay puts your merchandise in front of millions of active buyers all shopping in one place, from one catalog. 

EBay is a knowledgeable selling partner. As an eBay merchant, you’ll be supported in listing your products worldwide and learn about new tools to help buyers find your products easily.

EBay and Shopify have worked hard to make their two sites work well together, but it’s still a good idea to think about whether selling on eBay is right for your business. Consider the time you’ll need to strategize, support customers, and fulfill orders, then decide whether the commitment will be worth the increase in sales you expect to see.

Reach a global shopping audience

In 2017, more than one hundred million active shoppers around the world found the products they were searching for on eBay. Selling on eBay gives you access to a global audience of buyers looking for items like yours. EBay shoppers don’t need to find your unique store to buy your products—they just need to find your listings.

You’ll not only gain visibility in new markets through eBay, you’ll also reach buyers who don’t shop anywhere else online. In 2017, Forrester Research found that half of all online sales occur through just a handful of marketplaces, and that an increasing share of online customers are “one-stop shoppers.” So reaching new buyers on eBay won’t cannibalize your existing Shopify sales.

Sell with confidence

EBay sellers are backed by the company’s professional policies, transaction monitoring, and dedicated seller-protection team. These features are in place to support you, help increase your conversion rates, and reduce your customer service costs. EBay relies on an automated detection system to monitor transactions for you, letting you focus on making sales.

Build credibility for your brand and products

Dozens of top brands use eBay, including Nintendo, Acer, Calvin Klein, and Mattel. Listing your products on eBay makes you a part of a group of established, successful sellers who know how to compete online. Selling through eBay shows customers you’re serious about your business and about providing value, no matter where they reach you online.

Putting it all together

This chapter covered several reasons to start selling on eBay. Here’s a quick review:

  • You’ll reach a global shopping audience
  • You’ll reach new shoppers who buy only from eBay
  • You’ll enhance your brand’s credibility

Shopify’s eBay integration makes selling through eBay easy. In the next chapter, we’ll look at how to link your eBay account to Shopify so you can start selling.

Connecting eBay to your Shopify account

Sell on eBay: Chapter 2

We’ve looked at how selling through eBay can benefit your business. Next, we’ll walk through setting up the eBay integration in your Shopify account. If you’re not already signed up for eBay, you’ll be prompted to create an account when you add eBay as a sales channel in Shopify. If you already have an account, you’ll be prompted to connect it and grant eBay permission to publish your Shopify listings.

1. Add eBay as a sales channel

Log into your Shopify account. Locate the Sales Channels list at the bottom left of the page and click on the plus-sign symbol (+) to the right of it.

Add Shopify as a sales channel to sell on eBay

Locate the option for eBay in the pop-up list that appears and click the plus-sign button to its right. You've now added eBay as a sales channel in your Shopify account.

You’ll then be shown a list of the permissions you’re granting to eBay, including the ability to manage products, orders, customers, and other data related to your online store. These permissions are necessary for eBay to send and receive orders—eBay will not modify your online store in any other way.

2. Link your eBay account to Shopify

Click the Connect button to the right.

Link your eBay account to Shopify

You’ll be prompted to give eBay access to your Shopify account. This will enable eBay to provide Shopify with data about sales, messages, and customers. Click Add Sales Channel to continue.

A pop-up window showing eBay’s login dialog box will appear. (If it doesn’t, it’s likely your browser blocked it. Take the necessary steps to enable pop-ups, then click Connect again.)

If you have an existing eBay account, enter your ID and password to log in. If this is your first time selling on eBay, click the Register tab and follow the instructions.

Login to sell on eBay

Whether you’re linking an existing account or registering a new one, you may be asked to provide contact info and additional details about your inventory or ownership. This information may be used later to validate the legitimacy of your business. Businesses that can’t be verified may be excluded from some marketing initiatives, so answer honestly and accurately.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be prompted to grant Shopify access to your eBay account. Click I Agree to continue.

Grant Shopify access to sell on eBay

This enables Shopify to create and manage new eBay listings and inventory levels. It also allows you to send messages and responses to your eBay customers from within Shopify.

3. Configure your eBay policies

Next, you’ll be asked to configure a number of policies for the eBay listings you create through Shopify. Follow each step and provide the requested information about your location, sales terms, and fulfillment practices.

Sell on eBay: Configure shipping location

In some cases, eBay best practices may be suggested as default policies. Accommodate these suggestions if possible, as they’ll give you the greatest chance of success as an eBay seller. If you’re unable to accommodate any of the suggested policies, customize them to suit your needs.

Configure domestic shipping to proceed with selling on eBay

Click Continue to move through the four pages of policies. When you’re done, you’ll be returned to the eBay channel overview in your Shopify account.

4. Select products to publish as eBay listings

Great job! Your eBay account is now connected to Shopify. It’s time to publish some products. Products published on eBay are referred to as “listings.”

To list all of your Shopify products at once, click Review and Publish All X Products. To publish only some of your Shopify products, click Choose Individual Products. Whichever option you select, you'll have a chance to fine-tune your listings before they appear on eBay.

Select products to publish as eBay listings to sell

If you opted to select individual products, you’ll be asked to choose which ones you’d like to publish. After making your selection, click Save and Publish to continue.

Select products to publish as eBay listings to sell

5. Customize and publish selected products

Once you’ve selected the products you want to publish, you need to refine them before making them live. In the table of products you’ve chosen to lis trows represent products and columns represent parts of the eBay listing that will be created for each product. You can make changes to many of aspects of each listing by clicking on individual cells.

Customize and publish selected products to sell on eBay

Focus in particular on adding keywords to listing titles and ensuring that your descriptions are clear, informative, and appealing. You may find it useful to refer to some of the tips in the next chapter, “Key Strategies for eBay Success,” before completing this step.

Review and then publish selected products to sell on eBay

For best results, spend a good deal of time on this process. The changes you make in this table will determine the content of your eBay listings—and the number of sales you make.

When you're done, click Save and Publish All Products to create your eBay listings, one for each row in the table.

If you’ve left out any information or if there are any additional requirements, an error message describing the changes that need to be made will appear above the affected product. You must provide these additional details before your listings are created.

When you’re done, you’ll be returned to the eBay channel overview in your Shopify account.

Congrats, you’re officially an eBay seller! Now that your listings are live, it’s critical you make sure to do the following every day:

  • Visit the eBay channel overview in your Shopify account
  • Ship any customer orders (they’ll appear alongside your Shopify sales in your dashboard)
  • Check the eBay messages area and respond to any customer queries
  • Manage inventory levels and list new products as necessary

Remember—you’re now a multichannel business, selling on both Shopify and eBay. EBay will be a regular part of your workday, with real customers, payments, and expectations.

What to keep in mind

There are two other key caveats to keep in mind as you sell on eBay from within Shopify:

  •  EBay listings will not automatically be created for you as you expand your inventory. When you want to sell a new product, you must manually publish its Shopify listing to eBay in each case.
  • You need to manage and edit eBay listings created using Shopify from within Shopify. If you make changes to them from eBay, they will no longer be updated by Shopify—and your listing content or inventory levels may be inaccurate as a result.

More support

  • For more details on setting up your integration, check out the extensive support articles offered by both eBay and Shopify.

Putting it all together

Your eBay account is now linked to Shopify, and you have live eBay listings that shoppers are able to purchase. In this chapter, you:

  • Added eBay as a sales channel in your Shopify account
  • Set key policies for your eBay listings
  • Published products from Shopify to eBay
  • Customized your eBay listings

From now on, you must:

  • Remember to visit your eBay channel in Shopify everyday
  • Fulfill any eBay orders and reply to any eBay messages promptly
  • Publish new products to eBay, since Shopify will not automatically do this for you
  • Ensure you make changes to your eBay listings from within Shopify

In the next chapter, we’ll work to optimize your listings using eBay best practices to ensure they generate as many sales as possible.

Key strategies for eBay success

Sell on eBay Chapter 3

Shoppers will first experience your products through your listings, so it’s important to make a good impression. In this chapter, we’ll cover some key best practices proven to increase sales success on eBay. Let’s get started!

Optimize your listings

Shoppers search for products on eBay using keywords. EBay encourages buyers to find merchandise that meets their search criteria, so they can quickly decide which products they want to purchase.

Including relevant keywords and product identifiers ensures your listings will appear whenever shoppers search for products you sell.

Optimize your listings to sell on eBay

You can edit the title and description for each of your eBay listings from within Shopify. Do this carefully—searches on eBay commonly look something like this*:

  • “men's nike air yeezy solar red shoes”
  • “32gb apple iphone 7s unlocked”
  • “red taekwondo rebreakable practice board for kids”
  • “large brown macrame flower pot hangers”

To ensure your listings appear in relevant shopper searches, include the following types of keywords in your listing titles, then set them as eBay identifiers in the Publish view:

  • Brand (“Nike,” “Apple”)
  • Model (“Air Yeezy,” “iPhone”)
  • Product description (“shoes,” “rebreakable practice board”)
  • Color (“red,” “rainbow,” “holographic”)
  • Size (“women’s size 10,” “extra wide,” “35" inseam”)

Optimize your listings to sell products faster on eBay

Add additional information about your products to your listing descriptions. Anticipate the things shoppers need to know:

  • What are the dimensions or measurements of this product?
  • What size should I buy?
  • What accessories are included?
  • Is it a joy to use or wear?
  • Is it a prestige product?
  • What are its most relevant specifications?

The more you proactively answer questions like these, the less shoppers will hesitate. Remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and make your product information easy to digest by providing it in a bulleted list, not in long paragraphs.

Your goal is to ensure your products appear in search results whenever they are relevant, and that any shoppers clicking on and viewing your listings find enough persuasive product information to purchase from you.

* EBay’s shopping experience is evolving to become catalog- or product-focused. Electronic product identifiers (EPIDs), such as UPC or ISBN numbers, are being used along with keywords more and more frequently to surface and sort items. Whenever possible, be sure to include an EPID in your listings in addition to relevant keywords to set yourself up for future success.

Position yourself competitively on price and service

As you begin to expand your eBay product line, take a close look at whether you’re competitive in the following areas:

Price

EBay’s marketplace is vast, with sellers offering the same product across a range of prices. Buyers make purchasing decisions based on a variety of factors—including selection, shipping costs, and sale terms—but a competitive price is still the most important factor.

Shipping costs and speed

Today’s buyers expect free shipping. To appeal to more buyers, consider incorporating this cost into your price tag. Drive even more sales by offering expedited shipping options.

Return and exchange policies

Offering 30-day returns is a standard eBay best practice. Though other options are available, this policy is the most consistent with eBay buyer expectations. Offering free returns can further reassure customers about shopping with you, leading to even more sales.

Clear return and exchange policies help you sell on eBay

All of this information is presented prominently to eBay shoppers—there is no “fine print”—so work hard to align your listings to the platform’s expectations in order to be competitive.

Create mobile-friendly listings

According to eMarketer Inc., nearly 40% of all online sales take place through mobile devices. On eBay, this figure is even larger: 61% of gross eBay sales volume involves a mobile device at some point in the transaction process.

Making life easy for mobile shoppers will encourage them to buy from you and not someone else. Create concise, clear item descriptions that are easy to read on mobile screens. Keep your language and formatting simple, straightforward, and complete. Avoid using fonts or colors that are hard to read, and don’t use any HTML code or unnecessarily large photos that might lead to slow load times.

Be friendly, responsive, and professional at all times

EBay shoppers are invited to rate their experience with sellers by leaving feedback. Ensure you receive positive feedback for every transaction by:

  • Making sure your products meet the expectations you’ve set
  • Responding quickly and professionally to buyer questions or concerns
  • Shipping purchases quickly and efficiently
  • Setting fair shipping and handling prices

An accumulation of positive feedback can drive sales and build shopper trust; repeated instances of negative feedback damage your reputation and may lead to reduced selling limits or undesirable repercussions from eBay. Sellers with lots of negative feedback also appear less frequently in search results.

Positive feedback helps you sell on eBay

Always provide a positive shopper experience, great customer service, and buyers support, and respond promptly to eBay messages you receive in your Shopify account. Over time, your hard work will pay off with more sales.

Putting it all together

In this chapter, you learned to optimize your eBay listings and selling practices through the following strategies:

  • Optimizing your listings for a search-driven marketplace
  • Offering competitive prices, shipping, and return policies
  • Creating mobile-friendly descriptions
  • Selling with professionalism and a customer-centric attitude

Next we’ll examine some of the ways to differentiate your listings and the shopping experience you offer on eBay from that of other sellers.

Differentiating your brand on eBay

Sell on eBay Chapter 4

You’ve published your inventory on eBay, optimized your listings, and shoppers are buying from you. You’re officially an eBay seller. 

  • Let’s look at a few more strategies you can employ to boost sales.

Open and customize an eBay Store

EBay Store subscribers can access a number of useful tools to help distinguish their products. Personalizing your eBay profile and seller ID are small, easy ways to elevate your brand in a professional way. EBay Store subscribers enjoy:

  • Lower selling fees
  • Increased visibility in search results
  • Discounts on eBay-branded shipping supplies
  • Control over their own branded or unbranded store pages

Open and customize an eBay Store

Opening an eBay Store is a good way to expand your branded eBay presence, especially if you establish a look and feel consistent between your store and your individual product listings.

Deliver a branded shipping experience

You can build trust with your customers and encourage repeat business by professionally branding your fulfillment experience. Keep these best practices in mind to become the “seller of choice” for your customers:

  • Deliver purchases promptly
  • Avoid canceling orders whenever possible
  • Consider investing in branded shipping supplies to give your order a professional look
  • Deliver a clean, orderly, impressive fulfillment experience
  • Request honest feedback from your buyers

Follow these practices and you’ll be rewarded with shoppers that look to your listings first in their search results or even bookmark your eBay store and come to you directly for future purchases.

Use Promoted Listings and Promotions Manager

Promoted Listings is a simple tool used by eBay sellers to get their products noticed by more people. It improves your placement in search to reach more buyers and drive more clicks. Many sellers say they’ve seen a 30% increase in visibility by using Promoted Listings.* All eBay Store subscribers are eligible for this service.

Sellers using Promoted Listings only pay for the service when an item sells. Promoted Listings users also enjoy access to additional tracking tools to help them adjust campaigns and maximize sales.

Selling on eBay: Use Promoted Listings and Promotions Manager

Promotions Manager helps you create even more unique offers that move inventory and encourage purchases. Through Promotions Manager you can provide:

  • Discounts based on order size
  • Buy-one, get-one-free offers
  • Sale events
  • Shipping discounts
  • Codeless coupons

Sellers using Promotions Manager have seen sales increase by as much as 11%.**

EBay Guaranteed Delivery

EBay Guaranteed Delivery (EGD) is a program offering shoppers guaranteed rapid delivery times without impacting participating sellers.

For listings to qualify for EGD, sellers must offer same-day or one-day handling. EBay calculates the delivery date, then provides a guarantee to shoppers that their purchase will arrive on time. Research shows that shoppers buy first from merchants who deliver their orders in the three days or less promised by EGD.

To qualify for EGD, sellers must complete a minimum of 100 transactions per year and have a late-shipment rate of less than 5%. Participating sellers are required to provide accurate handling times and upload on-time tracking information for their buyers.

The boost in visibility and sales offered by EGD easily offsets the additional work and promptness requirements.

Global Shipping Program

EBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP) is an easy way to put your products in front of shoppers around the world. 

Sellers using GSP don’t have to worry about any of the logistical details involved in shipping globally. Instead, when an eligible item is purchased from abroad, sellers ship the parcel to eBay’s global shipping center, located in Kentucky, and eBay professionals do the rest, forwarding your delivery to its international destination and completing all required paperwork.

Shoppers love this option, not only because there are no surprise delivery fees, but also because clear end-to-end tracking details are provided for all shipments, letting them keep an eye on their order throughout its entire journey.

EBay sellers can opt individual listings into the Global Shipping Program or include it in their shipping policy by default, ensuring international shoppers receive quick and easy delivery of all listed items.

Putting it all together

Now you’re using eBay strategies that reflect your intention to act as a coherent, branded business. As you operate day-to-day, consider:

  • Opening an eBay Store
  • Using Promoted Listings and Promotions Manager
  • Qualifying for eBay Guaranteed Delivery
  • Opting your listings in to the Global Shipping Program

And that’s it! By this point you’re not just an eBay seller, but an eBay pro—and you’re doing nearly all of it using the eBay integration from within your Shopify account.

In the final chapter, we’ll cover our bases by looking at a few things you should avoid doing on eBay if you want to be a successful long-term seller.

*Average based on a comparison of item page views before and after activating Promoted Listings in 2017.

** Claims are based on gross merchandise volume (GMV) data generated by a defined set of items on eBay from July 4, 2016, to December 31, 2016, that were promoted in a variety of formats (example order size discounts, free shipping offers, sales events, and related item discounts) by their sellers’ use of the Promotions Manager tool on eBay for the first time. The GMV from the sale of these items was measured before and during these promotions. The increase is the difference between the GMV measured both before and after compared to during the promotions. Your actual results from use of the Promotions Manager tool may vary and eBay makes no guarantee that you will see similar results.

What not to do on eBay

Sell on eBay: Chapter 5

So far, we’ve looked at what to do to be a successful eBay seller. But there also are a few things you should be sure to not do. Many of these actions can result in selling penalties and can create bad experiences for eBay shoppers, so avoid them whenever possible.

EBay works hard to attract buyers onto its platform and make sure they’re able to find and easily purchase exactly what they’re looking for. These rules are designed specifically to ensure the eBay customer experience is top-notch and the selling experience for merchants is fair.

Don’t include contact information or external links in listings

Avoid providing details that can be used to contact you outside of eBay. Buyers and sellers can only be protected when they transact through eBay, so eBay disallows the following:

  • Including your phone number in listings or eBay messages
  • Including your email address in listings or eBay messages
  • Including your business address in listings or eBay messages
  • Posting any of the above anywhere else on eBay or in listing images
  • Encouraging shoppers to contact you outside of eBay messages
  • Using your phone number, website, or email address as your eBay ID

In most cases, think of your entire eBay presence, including your item descriptions, as an eBay-only zone. Listings containing links to external websites or addresses may automatically be removed and your selling privileges could be suspended.

Don’t create misleading listings or listing titles

Include appropriate keywords that apply to your products in your listing titles. Avoid using irrelevant keywords in an attempt to appear more frequently in eBay search. Shoppers don’t click on listings for products they didn’t intend to search for, and engaging in this practice—often called “keyword spamming”—can reduce your eBay search visibility over time.

Represent your products accurately and completely in your descriptions and images, and include any applicable caveats or negatives. Provide your buyers with the data they need to make an informed purchase. Leave them satisfied and happy to provide positive feedback about their experience.

Don’t neglect customer service requests

Respond promptly to buyer refund and returns requests. Putting off (or ignoring) a request can be detrimental to your business—your visibility could suffer or you may experience selling restrictions.

It can be frustrating when shoppers ask for a refund or open a case with eBay, but by addressing customer service requests promptly and professionally, you ensure high levels of buyer satisfaction and long-term success.

Don’t regularly cancel orders

From time to time you may experience inventory problems and have to cancel orders. You should not allow this to become a regular practice. In cases when can’t fulfill an order promptly, contact your buyer immediately to ask how they want to proceed. Let them know you can cancel and refund their order.

Sellers who repeatedly cancel their orders will have their selling abilities limited and may be banned from eBay indefinitely. While mistakes happen, eBay needs to make sure its customers walk away with the best experience possible, every time. The more positive experiences shoppers have, the more buyers there will be to purchase items on eBay—including yours.

Putting it all together

Congratulations! You’ve completed the entire guide—and you’ve become an eBay seller in the process. To recap, you’ve:

  • Learned about the unique eBay marketplace opportunity
  • Connected eBay to your Shopify account
  • Made your products available for sale on eBay
  • Optimized your eBay listings to maximize your sales
  • Discovered tools to differentiate your listings and drive more sales
  • Made note of things you should avoid doing as an eBay seller

Now it’s time to run your business, manage your-day-to-day operations, and strive for eBay success with dedication and a customer-centric outlook. Good luck!