• December 13, 2023

What Is eBay? How to Get Started on eBay as a Seller

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What Is eBay

Are you an e-commerce seller struggling to make enough sales? Then, consider signing up in different online marketplaces such as eBay. By listing your products on eBay, you can reach more local or international buyers!

Many Americans are familiar with eBay, as the platform initially focused on catering to the US market. However, over the years, eBay has gained global recognition as it expanded its reach in several countries.

If you’re interested in hopping onto this platform as a seller, this article will walk you through all the essentials of understanding what is eBay and guide you on how to kickstart your journey as a seller on the platform.

What Is eBay?

So, what is eBay? eBay is a prominent online marketplace offering various products, ranging from brand-new items to collectibles and refurbished goods. It’s pretty similar to Amazon

Even though eBay isn’t as massive as Amazon, it’s a go-to place for online shopping, sitting at a global rank of 110 (Amazon is at 12). Wrap your head around this: there’s a whopping 1.13 billion websites out there, and eBay claims the 110th spot. Imagine the swarm of potential buyers eyeing your eBay seller account – it’s like a bustling marketplace!

And notably, eBay stands out among its competitors by offering its sellers the flexibility to list items with fixed prices or auction them. Even Amazon drew inspiration from eBay’s approach and introduced an auction-style feature in 1999. However, it ended up as a failure, so Amazon decided to discontinue Amazon Auction in 2001.

eBay History

eBay was first known as AuctionWeb in 1995. Pierre Omidyar only established AuctionWeb as a hobby website with the goal of generating additional income on the side. Remarkably, Omidyar’s first successful transaction came from a broken laser pointer. 

Within just a year of operation, Omidyar was able to hire his first employee, Chris Agarpao, and welcomed the first president of the company, Jeff Skoll, in 1996. With AuctionWeb’s rapid success, Omidyar was able to quit his day job and establish the company’s first office in California.

AuctionWeb became the go-to hub of auction lovers, traders, and collectors. As the website gained popularity, it underwent a rebranding and was officially called eBay in September 1997.

What Countries Are Eligible to Sell on eBay?

As mentioned earlier, eBay was only available in the United States. But in 1999, eBay also started launching sites in Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Today, eBay is accessible in 180+ countries. Currently, it’s most popular in the US, UK, Mexico, Canada, and India. If you are in any of these countries, it’s a good idea to jump on the platform to boost your sales.

 ebay website traffic by country

To save you the hassle of wondering if your country is eligible for selling on eBay, visit this page for a complete list of eligible countries.

Start Selling on eBay in 3 Simple Steps

If your country qualifies for selling on eBay, jump right in and open a seller account. It’s a swift and straightforward process. Follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to embark on your selling journey in no time:

1. Register for an eBay account

At the top-left of any eBay page, you’ll spot the “Sign in or register” link. For new eBay users, just click “register” to get started.

ebay click register

After hitting “register,” you’ll find yourself redirected to the following window:

ebay create personal account

As you can see from the screenshot above, eBay offers the option to either create a “Personal” or “Business” account.

Opt for a “Personal account” if you’re a casual eBay seller, maybe just looking to sell a couple of antiques or items you no longer need. However, if you’re a registered e-commerce seller and online selling is your primary source of income, go for a “Business account.” It offers added benefits like seller protection, the ability to list more items, and potential tax deductions.

After choosing the type of eBay account you prefer, just complete the necessary information, including your name, email, and password. Alternatively, you can also create an eBay seller account using Google, Facebook, or Apple.

2. Confirm your identity

Once you’re done setting up your eBay seller account, you might need to verify your identity. The requirements vary by country. For example, if you’re located in an Asian country, eBay may ask for your bank details or credit card information. Identity confirmation is a one-time requirement, enabling you to list items and sell internationally with ease.

ebay identity confirmation

3. List your items

Once your identity is confirmed, initiate listing your items by navigating to the top-right corner. Find the “My eBay” menu and click “Selling.” The process of listing your items will then guide you through the necessary details effortlessly.

ebay listing item

To create a successful product listing, be sure to provide the following details:

  • Selling Format. Choose between auction-style or fixed price.
  • Product Category. Select the most relevant category for easy buyer discovery.
  • Product Title. Craft a keyword-rich title for better visibility in eBay’s search results.
  • Product Description. Include comprehensive product details, issues, pricing, and postage.
  • Listing Duration. Determine the number of days your listing will be active. For auctions, set between 1-10 days. For fixed prices, default to GTC (Good ‘Til Canceled).
  • Product Photos.Capture high-quality images to encourage potential buyers.

If you need more information, check out eBay’s Seller Center.

Things to Sell on eBay (Plus Prohibited Items)

eBay is an established online marketplace so you can practically buy or sell anything on this platform. From brand-new items to used goods, you can find everything on eBay. With eBay’s growth, it now goes beyond auction items. It encompasses a broad range of categories for selling various goods. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Motors
  • Electronics
  • Collectibles and Art
  • Clothing and Accessories
  • Business and Industrial
  • Home and Garden
  • Sporting Goods
  • Jewelry and Watches
  • Books, Music, and Movies
  • Toys and Hobbies
  • Health and Beauty
  • Baby Essentials

To explore each product category and its sub-categories, just click on “Shop by category” as shown below:

 ebay things you can sell

While eBay is open to selling almost anything, some products are not permitted on their platform. These include “certain” items in the following categories:

  • Adult products
  • Airsoft, air rifles, and BB guns
  • Alcohol
  • Animal products
  • Counterfeit items
  • Firearms and accessories
  • Hazardous materials
  • Human body parts
  • Illegal drugs and paraphernalia
  • Illegal explicit content
  • Live animals
  • Offensive materials
  • Prescription drugs
  • Social media and review manipulation services
  • Stolen properties
  • Tobacco and e-cigarettes
  • Weapons

While most items in the above-mentioned categories are not accepted, some specific products within these categories can still be sold on eBay. For instance, in the adult products category, eBay may allow the sale of certain items (like art, comics, magazines, and toys) as long as the photos don’t display too much explicit content. Similarly, within the alcohol category, wine is permitted, but other types of alcohol are not allowed. For a comprehensive list of prohibited items, refer to eBay’s policy on restricted and prohibited items.

How to Sell on eBay with No Money or Limited Funds

Now that you’re familiar with the types of items suitable for selling on eBay, let’s explore how to launch your eBay selling venture with minimal upfront investment. 

Typically, stepping into e-commerce requires some initial capital to secure physical inventory. But do you know that you can actually start an eBay business with limited funds? Here are some excellent strategies:

1. Sell unused items

Start by listing items you no longer use, like old electronics, baby and kids’ items, or unused clothing and accessories. While the profits may be small, you can use the proceeds from these sales as your initial capital for more lucrative products.

2. Consider dropshipping

eBay permits dropshipping, a business model where you partner with a supplier to fulfill orders directly to customers, eliminating the need for upfront product purchases. Just make sure to comply with eBay’s dropshipping policy to avoid any problems. 

To simplify and automate the dropshipping process on eBay, consider using tools like Sup Dropshipping. Sup Dropshipping is a China-based all-in-one fulfillment partner that offers hassle-free dropshipping solutions and other services. Follow this step-by-step guide to integrate Sup Dropshipping into your eBay store.

3. Start a print-on-demand (POD) business

You can also opt for a POD business on eBay if you have limited funds. In this model, products are created, customized, and printed only upon receiving an order — with the actual production and fulfillment managed by a third-party supplier. Your primary responsibility as the seller is to create original designs for your POD products and promote your business. The good news is that Sup Dropshipping also provides print-on-demand services.

Is It Free to Sell on eBay?

Like other online marketplaces, creating an eBay account is free. However, eBay imposes insertion and final value fees on sellers.

Insertion fees are applicable when listing a product on eBay. Sellers receive 250 free listings each month. Charges are only incurred if you go beyond the 250 threshold. 

Meanwhile, the final value fee is the percentage eBay deducts upon selling your product. And the rate varies based on the product type. For most categories, eBay charges 13.25% of the sale price, along with an additional $0.30 per order.

How to Increase Sales on eBay?

According to statistics, there are 135 million eBay users worldwide, with approximately 18 million sellers in the mix. With this level of competition, you might think landing a sale on eBay is impossible. But if you apply the following strategies, you can increase your sales on eBay:

1. Optimize your product listings

Don’t be that eBay seller who skips out on adding awesome photos, catchy titles, and killer descriptions. Did you know that throwing in top-notch pics and keyword-rich titles and descriptions can significantly enhance the search visibility of your products? So, give your product listings a facelift today and update these crucial elements.

2. Consistently promote your eBay listings across social media

While eBay has millions of users, it doesn’t mean your product listings will automatically gain traction. As a seller, you should do your part in consistently promoting your products on social media. Share stories about your products, their perks, and why people should hit that “buy now” button.

3. Regularly publish new listings

eBay likes “active” stores, and its algorithm rewards them by pushing their product listings higher in search results. To show you’re active on the platform, regularly publish new listings. In instances where product variety is limited, showcase store activity by updating existing listings with fresh photos and refined product descriptions.

4. Deliver exceptional customer service

Increase your sales on eBay by offering outstanding customer service. Timely and courteous responses to customer inquiries significantly impact purchasing decisions. Even in cases where your product is marginally higher in price than your competitors, superior service can influence buyer preferences and foster customer loyalty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is eBay legit?

Yes, eBay is 100% legit. But as with any online marketplace, there is a possibility of encountering fraudulent activities. Therefore, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to exercise diligence and carefully evaluate each product before purchasing.

2. What is eBay known for?

eBay is known for its auction-style and fixed-priced listings. Since it started as AuctionWeb, eBay has been the preferred hub for selling antiques, second-hand items, and collectibles. But aside from auctionable items, it has become a global online marketplace for brand-new items.

3. Is selling on eBay worth it?

Yes, selling on eBay is worth it. In the global online marketplace category, eBay is the second largest platform after Amazon. Its extensive user base enables sellers to access millions of potential customers worldwide. Moreover, eBay allows its sellers to offer a diverse range of products, from rare collectibles to everyday items. Plus, eBay is equipped with user-friendly tools for creating listings, managing inventory, and handling transactions.


Undoubtedly, eBay is the ideal platform for e-commerce sellers aiming to tap into a larger market. As one of the major e-commerce players, eBay presents excellent opportunities for sellers committed to maximizing their revenue.

If you’re ready to start earning on eBay, let Sup Dropshipping be your partner in achieving success on this platform! By integrating Sup Dropshipping into your eBay store, you can start selling on eBay even with limited funds. For further details about how Sup Dropshipping can help your eBay dropshipping business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

About the Author

Jack Han
Jack Han

Jack is a SEO manager and blog writer at Sup Dropshipping. He holds an MA in Linguistics and Education. He has got over 10 years experience in E-commerce, and 5 years of experience in SEO. Jack is an enthusiast to share his recent knowledge learnt from peer experts in the industry.

4 responses to “What Is eBay? How to Get Started on eBay as a Seller”

  1. Hali Vic Avatar
    Hali Vic

    Wow this is really good and amazing I honestly love this blog

    1. Jack Han Avatar
      Jack Han

      Thank you Hali!
      Please feel free to read our other blog posts if you like.

  2. Yasemin öztürk Avatar
    Yasemin öztürk

    Ben türkiye’deyim ve türkiye’ye satış yapmak istiyorum. Cj’yi kuşlanarak ebay’den türkiye’ye satış yapabilir miyim? Kargo süreci nasıl? Çin’deki veya abd’deki bir depodan türkiye’ye ortalama kaç günde kargo ulaşır? Türkiye’de hangi kargo şirketi ile çalışıyorsunuz?

    1. Jack Han Avatar
      Jack Han

      Sup Dropshipping’e hoş geldiniz!
      Stoksuz satış yapanların daha iyi ürünler tedarik etmesine ve siparişlerinizi otomatik olarak yerine getirmesine yardımcı olan bir e-ticaret platformuyuz.
      Türkiye’ye gönderim süremiz 7-10 iş günü civarında olup, mağazanızı Orderdesk aracılığıyla bize bağlayabilirsiniz.

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