eBay has access to a massive audience that most sellers can’t reach on their own. eBay dropshipping can help your ecommerce business gain access to those buyers without a significant upfront investment of time and money.
eBay dropshipping provides a gateway for sellers, especially those just starting out or with limited budgets. But how do you dropship on eBay? What are the pros and cons? And is it worth it?
Find the answer to these questions and discover whether dropshipping on eBay is right for your business in this eBay dropshipping FAQ.
What is a dropshipping business?
Dropshipping is a popular order fulfillment method that doesn’t require your business to keep physical inventory of the products you sell.
Instead, with dropshipping, you pass orders on to a third-party supplier that prepares and ships the products directly.
Retailers using this method can often offer more products online without having to keep lots of inventory on hand themselves.
Dropshipping products can be a cost-effective way to start or expand your ecommerce business because eBay dropshippers don’t need much upfront investment. This gives you more time to focus on other important aspects of your business.
That said, traditional dropshipping inherently means you have less direct control over your fulfillment process. There are some disadvantages to dropshipping as well. Because you are not in control of the inventory or shipping, there can be communication breakdowns and shipping delays. This can be frustrating for customers and damage your reputation. In addition, you may have to pay more for goods because you are working with a middleman, which can eat into your profits.
Once you understand the pros and cons of the dropshipping business model, you can evaluate whether this approach is right for your online retail business — and which platforms you want to use.
eBay dropshipping vs. other marketplaces
Retailers interested in dropshipping have a lot of marketplaces to choose from today, with eBay and Amazon among the most popular choices for a dropshipping store.
Generally speaking, eBay is considered better for smaller sellers who are just starting out, as it has lower fees and is easier to set up.
Amazon is often considered better for larger sellers who are looking to maximize their profits, as it has a larger customer base and more features.
Other popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify also offer dropshipping as a built-in feature.
So, how do you know which marketplace is best for your dropshipping business? When you’re just starting out, it’s often best to list your products on multiple marketplaces to reach the widest audience possible. This gives you a chance to test the waters and see which platform generates the most interest and sales for your business.
6 advantages of dropshipping on eBay
eBay is a popular choice for dropshippers. Let’s walk through some of the main advantages for online sellers.
Limit your upfront investment
Perhaps the biggest advantage of eBay dropshipping is the fact that you don’t need to purchase stock in large quantities upfront. You only need a wholesaler that’s capable of dropshipping to your eBay customers. Once you receive an order, your supplier takes over and fulfills them on your behalf.
Get started easily
Because you don’t need to invest in inventory, it’s really easy to get started. All you need to dropship on eBay is to set up an eBay Seller account and find a wholesaler to dropship on your behalf.
And, because it’s such a popular platform, there are plenty of resources and support available if you need it.
Tap great business growth potential
eBay is the world’s largest and most well-known auction site for buying goods online, and that means it has a massive amount of loyal and active customers and huge sales volume. By dropshipping on eBay, you’ll gain access to this vast audience with minimal setup.
Save on marketing efforts
Because you’re connecting with a ready-made, loyal customer base, dropshipping on eBay means that you may be able to spend less on marketing compared to other channels. Millions of eBay customers will see your listings just by you being on eBay.
eBay also offers a lot of tools to help you market your products effectively. For example, you can use eBay’s Promoted Listings tool to pay to have your listings appear more prominently in search results.
Overall, dropshipping on eBay can be a great way to reach a huge audience with minimal effort and expense.
Dropshipping on eBay is accessible to businesses of all sizes, allowing them to experiment with new markets or test new products without making big commitments.
Because you don’t have to store your own products, you limit the challenges and expenses associated with multichannel inventory management as you experiment with new sales opportunities.
Limited risk involved
Scaling your dropshipping business on eBay can be easier than expanding a traditional online store, assuming that you have good relationships with your suppliers.
Why? Because as you sell more, the work falls to your eBay dropshipper, meaning you can grow your business without the risks and costs usually involved, such as office space, overhead, staffing, warehouse rent, and so on.
7 disadvantages of dropshipping on eBay
Not every business is the right fit for an eBay dropshipping model. There are several reasons your dropshipping business might not be a good fit for eBay.
Difficulty finding a dropship supplier
One potential drawback of dropshipping on eBay is the difficulty in establishing relationships with wholesale suppliers. Many suppliers are hesitant to offer dropshipping services unless you have already demonstrated your ability to sell through the channel.
Pressure to commit to inventory in bulk
While getting set up on eBay can be quick, establishing dropshipping relationships with wholesalers often takes time. If you lack a proven sales record, you might have to commit to more wholesale inventory up front than you expected.
Upfront purchases mean you risk investing in stock that might not ever sell, which undermines the benefits of dropshipping. And you still have to pay eBay fees for the listings.
Strict dropshipping policy
There’s only one approved way to dropship on eBay — finding a wholesaler that’s willing to dropship to your customers. eBay doesn’t allow dropshipping from other marketplaces.
eBay has additional selling restrictions, such as how to communicate with clients and how you present your brand. Noncompliance can lead to serious consequences for your eBay business, including account suspension and ultimately banning.
You’re responsible when things go wrong
As an eBay seller, you’re responsible for providing timely delivery of the item in line with your listing. However, because your dropshipping vendor handles the actual dropshipping, they might not always meet the time frame you promised.
This disconnect can lead to stock shortages, and delays in shipping. The result? Negative feedback for your store, a lower seller rating, lost sales, and, in the worst-case scenario, account suspension.
As the seller, you’re also responsible for issuing refunds.
You don’t own your customers
Dropshipping via eBay means you don’t own your customers. Instead, you’re helping eBay build its brand every time you make a sale.
Think about it: If a friend asks where you got something from, you’ll probably say “eBay” and not the eBay seller’s business. Because these aren’t directly your customers, you don’t have access to additional data, such as email lists for remarketing.
Dropshipping on eBay is attractive to many sellers because of eBay’s audience and low barrier to entry. But that means lots of ecommerce businesses are active on the platform.
If you are selling a product that other retailers also offer, you’ll need to invest time and effort into differentiating your business and building your eBay seller rating. This effort could undercut the time and resources you’re saving by dropshipping in the first place.
Lower profit margins
To run a successful dropshipping business, you’ll need to pay close attention to your total sale price and all expenses.
eBay charges two main types of selling fees that affect your profit margin. Both of these fees can eat into your profits, so it’s important to factor them into your overall pricing strategy.
The first is a listing fee, which is charged every time you list an item for sale on eBay.
Every month, you get up to 250 free listings. After that, you’ll pay insertion fees every time you create a listing.
The second is a final value fee, which is a percentage of your total sale price. The final value fee is generally 10% of the total sale price, but can be higher or lower depending on the category of item you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling an item in the electronics category, you’ll pay a 4% final value fee.
In addition to eBay’s fees, you’ll also need to pay for shipping and handling, which will further eat into your profits.
Additionally, in highly competitive product categories, you may need to lower prices to remain attractive to customers.
Is eBay dropshipping profitable?
Dropshipping on eBay can be profitable.
Dropshipping is a great way to start or expand an online business with almost no money. It allows you to sell products without having to purchase them or store them yourself.
Choosing the right price point is key to running a successful eBay business. Your price needs to be low enough to compete against similar listings but high enough to generate a high enough profit margin.
Research the prices of competing and alternative products, and carefully review your expenses. If you’re having issues with profitability, look to minimize your costs, such as negotiating with your supplier or finding an alternative.
How to dropship on eBay
As one of the world’s leading ecommerce companies, eBay can connect you with a massive audience of engaged shoppers. Dropshipping on eBay is a fairly simple process. Here’s an overview of how to dropship on eBay.
Review eBay dropshipping policies and requirements
Dropshipping on eBay requires you to fulfill customer orders through a wholesale supplier. According to the company’s policy, “listing an item on eBay and then purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed.” Failure to adhere to this policy can result in canceled or hidden listings or an account suspension.
Additionally, sellers must pay eBay listing fees for each product, even if they don’t sell, and must guarantee delivery within 30 days.
Set up an eBay Seller account
All you need to get started with dropshipping is an eBay Seller account. If you’re looking to invest more money in your business, you could create your own eBay store to sell your products, but this is an optional step and not essential to getting started with eBay dropshipping.
Remember that there are country-specific eBay sites, so make sure you sign up with the right seller account depending on where you and your target audience live.
Choose your products and dropshipping supplier
Next, if you don’t already have an inventory plan in place, you’ll need to research profitable items to list for sale. Look for essential or popular items, recurring purchases or niche products with less competition and healthy profit margins.
Once you’ve determined what products you’ll sell in your eBay store, you’ll need to establish relationships with suppliers that offer dropshipping services.
Price and list your items
Determining your pricing and listing your items on your eBay store is a crucial step. Upload professional images of the products, either from the supplier’s website, or take your own if you have samples. Write detailed product descriptions, and optimize your listings for maximum search visibility.
Creating quality listings takes time. If you’re selling more than a few products in your eBay store, invest in an eBay bulk listing tool to save time and avoid errors.
Remember, you’ll likely be competing with other sellers who use your same supplier and pay a similar wholesale price and eBay dropshipping fees, so you’ll need to differentiate yourself to potential customers. Your pricing and your listing are important opportunities to capture customers’ attention and sell your value
Once your listing is prepared, you’re ready to sell on eBay.
Share customer details with suppliers when you make a sale
Contact your supplier after each sale and provide them with customer shipping information.
You’re responsible for ensuring timely delivery for your eBay customer, even if the supplier handles the actual packing and shipping.
If you have trouble finding a dropshipping supplier, you can buy in bulk and use a fulfillment service to handle packaging and shipping on your behalf. This option may involve higher upfront costs and taking on more business risk, but using shipping management software can help you automate the process and find the best shipping prices.
How to find an eBay dropshipping supplier
Finding an eBay dropshipping supplier can seem overwhelming given all the options. Let’s walk through the steps for this critical decision as you learn how to dropship on ebay.
Research potential suppliers
Start by researching potential dropshipping suppliers online. Look for reviews and feedback from other eBay sellers to get an idea of how reliable the supplier is.
Contact the supplier
Once you’ve identified a few potential suppliers, it’s time to contact them and ask about their respective dropshipping services. Make sure to ask about their terms and conditions, wholesale pricing, and shipping policies.
Compare prices and services
After you find wholesalers selling products on eBay that meet your goals, compare prices and services to find the best supplier for your online business. Some offer customer support in multiple languages, for example.
Sign up for an account
Once you’ve identified the best wholesale supplier for your eBay shopping business, sign up for an account and start dropshipping.
Popular eBay dropshipping suppliers
The best dropshipping suppliers for your eBay dropshipping store will depend on your unique mix of products and geographic requirements. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few of the most popular options for eBay dropshippers.
Chinabrands is a global online wholesale platform that connects small and medium-sized businesses with suppliers from around the world. The company provides access to a wide variety of products, including electronics, apparel, home and garden products, and more.
Salehoo is an online wholesale directory and market research tool that connects online sellers with suppliers from around the world. It offers access to over 8,000 pre-vetted suppliers, more than 1.6 million products.
DHGate was founded in 2004 and is one of the leading B2B e-commerce platforms in the world. DHGate offers a wide variety of products from apparel, accessories, electronics, and more. The company has over 10 million products from over 8 million sellers. The company also provides customer service in multiple languages.
Wholesale2b offers access to over 1.5 million products from over 100 different suppliers, allowing customers to easily find and purchase products to sell in their eBay dropshipping business.
Sunrise Wholesale is an online wholesaler and dropshipper that offers over 15,000 products from over 100 different manufacturers. They provide a wide range of products for eBay dropshipping, from home decor and electronics to apparel and tools.
Dropship Direct enables businesses to source over 900 brands and 1 million products, from apparel to home decor, electronics, and more, to dropship on eBay.
Kole Imports is an online wholesaler and importer of a wide variety of discount items, including general merchandise, home décor, toys, gifts, fashion accessories, and more. They’ve been in business since 1985, which many eBay sellers appreciate.
5 tips for writing better eBay listings
Running a successful eBay dropshipping business requires accurate, well-written listings. These tips can increase your odds of success.
Invest in high-quality photos
Make sure to use high-quality photos of the item you are selling to give potential buyers a clear view of what they are buying. This builds trust and confidence.
Write a clear description of your product
Include a detailed description of the item you are selling, including its features, condition, and any other pertinent information.
Explain all shipping details
Include all shipping details such as cost, delivery time, and any other relevant information.
Offer competitive prices
eBay is a competitive marketplace. Overpriced merchandise won’t move quickly, and that’s frustrating, even with dropshipping.
Respond quickly to questions
Respond quickly to any questions potential buyers may have to ensure a smooth transaction and protect your seller rating.
Does eBay ban dropshippers?
Yes, eBay will suspend or ban dropshippers who repeatedly disregard their policies on dropshipping.
For example, listing an item on eBay and then buying it from another retailer or marketplace is not allowed.
Is dropshipping with eBay worth it?
If your business wants to have a presence on eBay’s platform and make a little extra revenue, then dropshipping on eBay can be a great investment because of its ease of use and low risk. Smaller ecommerce businesses can especially benefit from reaching a large audience without having to build it themselves.
Dropshipping on eBay has its own set of challenges. These include finding and establishing relationships with reliable suppliers, dealing with fulfillment issues and competing with sellers offering similar products. Listing fees can quickly add up and eat into your profit margins.
If you want more control over your online selling and fulfillment, then eBay dropshipping might not be for you. Some sellers prefer to focus on building long-term brand value while enjoying higher profit margins through their own online store. Other businesses might use eBay dropshipping for parts of their online business while focusing most of their attention on other channels.
Ready to start dropshipping on eBay? Sell wherever your customers are and capture every revenue opportunity with simple multichannel listings.