eBay Dropshipping Explained: eBay Dropshipping for Beginners

Today, we will take a closer look at eBay dropshipping. There is confusion about this, and we seek to make clarifications. 

 min read
September 3, 2023
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I have been a dropshipper and e-Commerce writer for years. As such, I have taken action to try various ways to dropship, including researching deeply about platform policies, including eBay’s 

Here are the key takeaways: 

  • Learn how to dropship on eBay
  • Identify key dropshipping policies of eBay
  • Understand why and how eBay dropshipping works

We hope we helped you learn how to do eBay dropshipping properly. We will provide tips on how to succeed, along with a list of what items to sell.

Let us start!

What is eBay dropshipping?

eBay dropshipping is a business model where you sell someone’s goods in your store. It follows the whole concept of the dropshipping business model

However, instead of building a Shopify store (or a store on other platforms), you build it on eBay. Although eBay allows dropshipping, it has rules you must follow, which I will describe below. 

eBay Dropshipping Policy Explained

You will find eBay’s dropshipping policy on their website, the content of which can be confusing. eBay says that dropshipping is a process where you fulfill orders from a wholesale supplier.

Yes, eBay allows dropshipping, but they specifically emphasize your responsibility as a seller. You must ensure the safe and timely delivery of the product. 

In addition, eBay does not allow dropshipping from other retailers or marketplaces. For example, you cannot sell an item on eBay if that item is available on Amazon.

Why? Many customers think that a business model like that is nothing short of cheating. The customer obviously paid you more than he would have had he bought the item from Amazon. 

There was a time when both Amazon and eBay customers complained that the product they got came from another online marketplace. 

For example, people who bought items on eBay received the products inside Amazon boxes. Naturally, they did not feel good about this. They felt cheated. 

Violation of eBay’s dropshipping rules can result in any of the following: 

  • Ending or cancellation of your eBay listing
  • Lowering your listing in the search results
  • Lowering your seller rating 
  • Restriction of your account from buying and selling
  • Forfeiture of the fees you paid to eBay
  • Loss of protection as a seller or even as a buyer
  • Restriction of your communication capabilities on the platform

The worst thing that can happen is an account suspension or closure. To clarify, you can only dropship if your items come from a wholesale supplier and must never be on any other marketplace or retailer’s website. 

If we really think about it, eBay only allows white-label and private-label dropshipping. However, it is not possible for them, or their system, to detect listings that violate these rules. It is why you will still see people who dropship toys that you can also find in AliExpress, Amazon, Walmart, etc. 

If anything, I advise you never to sell any product on eBay that you will buy from Amazon, Walmart, or similar marketplaces. However, it is perfectly fine to dropship products from AliExpress, Alibaba, DSers, and other dropshipping supplier marketplaces. 

Benefits of Dropshipping on eBay

Should you even bother dropshipping on eBay, and is it worth it? No platform is perfect. Even Shopify has opportunities to improve. However, eBay dropshipping offers some benefits, which I will discuss in this section. 

1. No Need To Build A Website

The best benefit of dropshipping on the eBay platform is you no longer need to build a website. Dropshipping gurus typically recommend building an online store with Shopify or WooCommerce.

There is a big problem if you build a website—it is difficult. Although you do not need to learn to code, building a dropshipping website from scratch has nuances. 

Here are some of the worst nightmares of building your dropshipping website:

  • Hackers will penetrate your store and skim credit card numbers
  • Your competitors can subject you to DDoS attacks (denial of service)
  • Your web hosting service provider is unreliable; your website is super slow to load
  • Customers do not trust you; they do not know who you are

As you can see, you do not need to think about any of these things if you build a store on eBay. I am not saying that eBay is not vulnerable to hacking—it’s just that they have a team of security experts who work round the clock to fight attempts of breaching the system.

2. Higher Profit With Bidding

eBay started as a bidding site, and they merely added a “Buy Now” option. eBay, however, retained the bidding or auction-type selling. 

What does this mean? It means you can upload your product and sell it through an auction. You can set a minimum reserve price or the lowest price you will accept.

Auction is excellent if your items are rare, like epoxy resin products that are impossible to duplicate. Because it is an auction, you can earn more as bidders escalate the price they are willing to pay. 

3. Web Traffic Is Not A Big Concern

In my experience as a dropshipper, I can say that traffic is the most challenging aspect of the business. Once you have built your store, the next problem is finding people who will come to your store. 

The most common ways are:

  • Blogging
  • Advertising
  • Social media
  • Working with affiliate marketers
  • Sponsoring influencers

All these methods require money—a lot of it. The sad reality is that it may not work. I have been through situations where I spent $100 on Facebook ads and got reasonable impressions and clicks but no sales. 

You will not have this problem if you dropship in eBay, as eBay has been around since 1995. It is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world, and millions of people come here all the time.

Your only challenge is bringing your listing to the top of the eBay search results pages. You can do this with an eBay product research tool [insert link here once the “best eBay product research tool” has been published.] 

eBay product research tools allow you to find the top-selling products on eBay. They also help you optimize your listing. For example, these tools can tell you what keywords to use in your product title and description. 

4. Automation Support From Suppliers

Dropshipping on eBay is easy because you do not have to copy-paste details from the supplier. Some tools allow you to import products from suppliers directly to your eBay store. 

Here are some examples: 

These companies that I mentioned are dropship-supplier databases. They are marketplaces where dropshippers and suppliers can work together. They also meet the conditions we have for reliable suppliers

5. Cheaper Dropshipping Fees

eBay dropshipping is cheaper than Amazon dropshipping or dropshipping on Shopify. In Shopify, you must pay at least $25 per month for your dropshipping store, plus fees if you make a sale using their payment processing system.

Amazon has two types of accounts. You can pay $39 monthly and list as many items as you want. The other option is to pay a fee of $0.99 per item sold, but you can only sell a maximum of 40 units in a month for this plan.

In addition, Amazon charges a referral fee for every item sold, which ranges between 8% and 45% of the product price. 

Conversely, eBay does not charge any insertion or listing fee for the first 250 items you list. Any excess of 250 items costs only $0.35. There is also a final value fee of $0.30 per order. 

Please take note that these eBay listing fees are for US sellers. eBay has different fee structures for each region or market. For example, they do not charge listing fees in eBay Asia. Sellers in Asia can list as many items they want and do not pay anything once they successfully make sales. 

eBay also has other optional fees. One good example is the “bold” fee. In it, you pay $2 to make your listing title in bold letters. The goal is to make your product listing title more prominent in the search results.

Best Items to Dropship on eBay

eBay has a page where you can find the best-selling items for the current time. Right now, the best-selling products are in the screenshot below: 

Over the years, eBay has become the go-to place for niched products, especially vehicle accessories. You can also find these products on Amazon, but eBay is the better platform to sell these things. 

There are other top-selling items on eBay in the following categories:

  • Home & Garden
  • Kitchen & Pantry
  • Industrial Machines
  • Collectibles
  • Jewelry and Watches

I don’t advise selling ordinary or common items like shoes and clothes on eBay. Most people go to Amazon for niches like that. 

What I recommend that you sell on eBay are rare and expensive items, such as jewelry and antiques. Places like Amazon are best for dropshipping cheap items like phone chargers, phone cases, etc. Items like that have little to no success on eBay.

Dropshipping rare items is uncommon, so it is a good idea only if you know a craftsperson who makes artwork, décor, or personalized items. Although you are competing against Etsy, there is still a huge market for unique items on eBay. 

Things to Know Before Dropshipping On eBay

Let me summarize the most important things you need to know before you dropship on eBay. 

1. Rules

eBay has strict rules about misleading information, fake or counterfeit, and low-quality goods. In addition to this, eBay does not allow dropshipping products from other marketplaces. If they ever find out you violated these rules, you can expect to receive penalties. 

The complete guide to eBay’s policies is on their website. There are too many to mention, so I suggest you schedule a time to read it. 

2. Competition 

Although not as big as Amazon, eBay is still a place where you will find stiff competition. Just as a potential customer looks at your product, this customer can view someone else’s. 

Like YouTube and Amazon, retention is vital to your success. If you cannot keep your viewer’s eyes on your product pages, they will leave and look at a similar listing. 

It is in this situation that your copywriting skills will come into play. You must ensure that: 

  • You focus on the benefit of buying from you
  • You convince the reader your product is worth his money
  • Your price is competitive

Copywriting is not easy, but you can learn it. You can buy many online courses to learn how to write product descriptions that convert. Consider paying someone if you are too busy to learn a new skill.

3. Fees

Selling on eBay is free in some countries but not in countries that belong to the top economies in the world. 

There are fees that you must pay, and these fees vary by product category. Visit the eBay Selling Fees page to learn more. 

Here are some of the most common fees:

  • Store selling fee
  • Insertion fee
  • Final value fee
  • Additional value fee
  • Fee for listing upgrades
  • International fee
  • Currency conversion fee

Oh, yes, there is also a dispute fee. You pay a fee if a buyer files a chargeback on his purchase. This fee costs $20, and it does not include sales taxes.

Understand the fee structure and create a table or calculator in Microsoft Excel. Add the fees you pay your supplier (like shipping) and your dropship supplier tool. Do this, and you can price your eBay listings appropriately.

How to Find an eBay Dropshipping Supplier

We have a blog that can guide you on how to find the best dropshipping suppliers. If you think about it, the principles are similar. However, there are a few tips I will share with you when it comes to eBay. 

1. Use a Research Tool

A research tool allows you to look for eBay suppliers and how their products perform. The research tool also provides data about revenue, units sold, keyword search, and more. 

Here are the best tools we can recommend: 

  • Dropship.IO
  • Terapeak
  • ZIK Analytics
  • Algopix
  • ShelfTrend
  • PowerDrop
  • SaleHoo
  • AutoDS

Not all these are free. However, I can say that the cost is worth it. If you think about the cost of the time and effort you put into research compared to what these tools can do for you, you will begin to realize that a subscription for a month or two is totally worth it.  

2. Test the Supplier

The next step is to test the supplier. While it is easy to find one, it is difficult to find someone you can trust. There is no other way to test the dependability of a supplier other than buying the product yourself. 

Here are the benefits of this step:

  • You can test the quality of the product
  • You will know how long the supplier takes to action
  • You will know how long it takes or the shipment to arrive
  • You will see the supplier’s packaging materials

Order a product from your supplier, and you will see and feel what a customer goes through after receiving the same product. As such, you can make informed decisions about whether or not you should trust this supplier. 

3. Use Dropship Supplier Tools

My last tip is to use supplier tools to integrate with your eBay account. Without it, you will spend so much time manually copying and pasting images and product descriptions.

Manual copy-paste is fine if you plan to sell no more than 10 or 20 products. But what if you want to sell hundreds?

Here are some of the best tools you can use: 

All of these can integrate with eBay. You can import products straight from these supplier databases to your eBay store.

The supplier is an integral part of your success. You can be the best at marketing, but the supplier will ship your items. Because of this, you must ensure that your supplier shares the same goals as you do. For more details about suppliers, please visit our blog section dedicated to this topic.

How to Dropship on eBay

Dropshipping on eBay is pretty straightforward. The process is similar to selling on eBay, albeit you will not ship the item. Instead, it is your supplier who will do this. In this section, I will discuss how to dropship on eBay correctly. 

1. Find a Winning Product

The first step is to find a winning product; you must only do this after deciding on a niche. A niche is an industry or type of commodity. You can drill down further and focus on a sub-niche to target a specific group of people. 

Here is an example: 

  • Niche – women’s 
  • Sub-niche – women’s sportswear
  • Deep niche- women’s yoga sportswear

There is no right and wrong niche, but you must only sell products you understand and use. You will never succeed as a dropshipper if you sell products you do not understand. 

For example, you must not sell drones if you do not use them or do not understand how they work. Your customers will ask you questions that you cannot answer, and you will lose that sale.

As for the tool, you can use one like ours. Our product database houses millions of products and their respective sales data. Here is a screenshot: 

The keyword I used here is “yoga pants.” There are more results below this, but this screenshot should suffice. As you can see, the flared yoga pants are the best-selling, with a revenue of $73,000 monthly and a sales volume of 2,964 units. 

On the other hand, take a look at this: 

These are also yoga pants, but they have no sales. Although most top-sellers are not yoga pants but underwear, you can tell that yoga pants are not in high demand. Instead, it would help if you considered shifting to selling underwear in your eBay store. 

You must find a winning product with Dropship.IO before you even begin dropshipping. It is not an industry secret that many dropshippers fail. They fail because they sell products that have no demand.  

2. Look for a Dropship Supplier Tool

The next step is to use a dropship supplier tool to integrate with eBay. Right now, we at Dropship.IO can provide you with trustworthy suppliers. However, we do not have an integration system yet. 

Earlier, I mentioned several tools you can use to import products to your eBay store. Some of these tools are free, and some require payment before you can get the best out of them. 

My recommendation is to get the free version first. Test it in your eBay store, create an account, and explore the products. The appropriate time to upgrade is when you are already making sales. 

Most free versions should be enough for you as a start-up dropshipper. You do not need all the bells and whistles of these tools for now. Spend your money on promoting your eBay listings. Once you see your sales grow, only then is it justified to upgrade and pay.

3. Order the Item from the Supplier

The third step is to place an order from the supplier. The best thing about dropshipping is that you do not have to buy inventory, yet many dropshippers do not even bother testing the products they sell. 

Ordering an item from the supplier is a critical step. It is the only way you will find out whether:

  • The product is legit
  • The product is of good quality
  • The supplier is trustworthy

Sadly, one can no longer rely on reviews. It is easy to fake reviews nowadays. If you take the time to read reviews in AliExpress, you will find it surprising to see thousands of fake reviews.

Here is the thing: once you successfully fulfilled an order and the customer is unhappy, you either get negative feedback or a chargeback. Although eBay allows sellers to dispute negative feedback, it is rare for them to take negative feedback away.

A negative score is bad—other consumers can see it, and you will have difficulty rising from this failure. So, please do not risk it. Buy a sample product and make sure that your seller is reliable. 

4. Create Your eBay Account

The last step is to create your eBay account and set up your store. It is free to create an account, but there is a fee for building an eBay store. 

Although building an eBay store is easy, you need to prepare several things: 

  • Your logo
  • Your business name
  • Product descriptions
  • A fee table or calculator for your use

You also need to learn how the eBay store builder works. Unlike Amazon, you can make an eBay store that looks unique. 

There are certified eBay store builders that you can hire. eBay has a section they call Design Center. It is where you can find professionals to build your store for you. 

Building an eBay store offers more benefits than being a casual seller. For one, you pay a lesser amount of fees, and you get more free listings. Your budget and business plan should be the determining factors in deciding what type of seller you want to be.

Tips for Success with eBay Dropshipping

Dropshipping on eBay has its nuances. Although the process is the same, the market is not. Below are some of my tips when dropshipping on the eBay platform. 

1. Take Advantage of the Auction

An auction is an excellent way to increase your revenue. However, you can only do this for rare items. Common items like phone chargers are not so desirable at a high price. 

On eBay, you can post an item as an auction. It means that potential buyers will place a bid on your product. At the end of the auction, the highest bidder wins. 

Auctions are great for products with no duplicates—those you cannot manufacture in bulk. In addition, you can use an auction as a FOMO (fear of missing out) approach. Again, you must only use auctions for rare items like hand-crafted goods and antiques. 

2. Use a Dropship Spy Tool

Dropshipping will be a monumental challenge if you dive straight into it without relying on data. It does not matter what the platform is—you must sell items people seek. Although eBay has a list of the top-selling categories, they do not give you sales data. 

Because of this, I encourage you to use product research tools like: 

Dropship.IO is by far one of the best options. Our tool gives you sales data, and you can follow the performance of stores built on Shopify. If you know what people want, you know what to sell. 

Here is a sample screenshot of our research tool: 

As you can see from the graph, this seller has a nice trend of selling above the $200 range regularly. From here, you can investigate further and determine what this seller does to achieve this revenue. 

We offer a 7-day free trial, and I strongly recommend you take this opportunity to test our tool! 

3. Promote Your Listings

eBay offers several ways to promote a listing. However, listing promotions are not free. Here are some of the best: 

  • Pay an ad rate of between 2% and 10% of your selling price
  • Bold name – costs $2 per item
  • Gallery Plus – costs $0.35; eBay will list your items in the antiques and collectible category.
  • Subtitle- you can add more to your headline or product tile for $1.50 

eBay, like other huge marketplaces, is a place for tough competition. While you can use SEO to improve your listings, know that you are not the only one doing that. Paying for a promotion is better than letting the algorithm work for you. 

Finally, I believe that paying eBay for promotion is better than advertising. You can never be sure your ad reaches the right person when you advertise. 

On eBay, there is a guarantee that the person who sees your item searches for it. eBay will not show your time if a customer does not type a keyword related to your product. It only means that the person who sees your promoted listing is highly interested and will likely buy if the price is right.

eBay Dropshipping Explained: Frequently Asked Questions

How does dropshipping work with eBay?

It works in the same way as any dropshipping strategy or model. The only difference is that you are building your store on eBay. 

Is dropshipping on eBay allowed?

Yes, dropshipping is perfectly fine on the eBay platform. However, you must not dropship products from another marketplace or retailer, like Amazon or Walmart. 

Can eBay ban you from dropshipping?

Yes, eBay can ban you from dropshipping on the platform. It will likely happen if a customer files a complaint against you. 

How does dropshipping work explained?

Dropshipping is a process where you sell someone’s goods without buying inventory or stock. Once you receive an order from your customer, you notify and pay your supplier, who will ship the item to your customer.

What is the difference between selling and dropshipping?

Selling is a generic term for making money from selling products and services. Dropshipping is a type of selling. 

How much does it cost to dropship on eBay?

The answer varies as each country has a different rate for eBay seller fees. 

Who are the best eBay dropshipping suppliers?

The best eBay dropshipping suppliers do not put their names on the product packaging. Ideally, your business name must be on the shipping label and package. 

Summary: eBay Dropshipping Explained

The next step is to use our tool, particularly our product database, to validate your idea. Before you even create an account with eBay, you must have clarity about what products you intend to sell.

We offer a 7-day free trial that allows you to explore our product database, competitor research tools, sales tracker, calculators, and more. Try it now and see how Drosphip.IO can make a difference in your dropshipping journey!

Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify $1/month for 3 months.
Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify for $1 for one month.

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