What's The Deal With Selling on eBay?

Sell on ebay

The past few years of e-commerce has been dominated by Amazon, Shopify and Ali Express; but, what about one of the original e-commerce juggernauts, eBay?

Many people think that the rise of other ecommerce platforms has rendered eBay irrelevant and not worth the time from a business standpoint but there is much evidence showing that eBay is still a strong force online and provides a great opportunity for those looking to sell online.

I’ll present a quick overview of the two main business models of selling on eBay (self-fulfillment and dropshipping) and why I don’t think it’s a platform you should completely ignore in your ecommerce journey.

First, if you’re not familiar with eBay, it’s an online auction site that was founded in 1995. Currently, eBay does about $9 billion in annual sales.

eBay’s main site is not its only source of income, its portfolio includes several other online brands, the most notable being PayPal.

The mid 90’s were the start of ecommerce and eBay was one of the pioneers that led the pack. There are several millionaires and six-figures earners that owe their success to eBay.

“But, I’m sure you’re wondering, is there still money to be made on eBay?”

Self Fulfilling on eBay

If you’re looking to get into eBay selling, the first option you can look into is sourcing items and fulfilling them yourself.

The easiest way to do this is to start by selling things of value you have around the house. This will earn you some extra money but is obviously not necessarily a scaleable source of income.

But, what if you make items at home or you source things locally like vintage clothing?

This was the case with founder of Nasty Gal clothing. The company was founded in 2006 and eBay was a pivotal part of their growth from vintage clothing vendor to full fledged brand and business.

Although Nasty Gal eventually filed for bankruptcy protection and was acquired by another large online retailer BooHoo, they were able to use eBay as a stepping stone to building a $100 million self-standing brand.

In fact, many businesses use eBay as an additional sales channel on top of their existing website/ agreements with other retailers.

The fact that eBay still has a major buyer base and generates a lot of traffic is a big reason why the site still presents a great opportunity for those keen to get started selling online.


Dropshipping is big business these days and eBay isn’t left out of the party. There is a large retail arbitrage trend on eBay that takes advantage of brick and mortar sellers like Walmart and Best Buy.

With this eBay business model, all that is required is good copy and paste skills.

Retail arbitrage on eBay is as simple as copying items from large chain stores and increasing the price by 10-15%. Many of these retailers now offer free or low cost shipping options that you can build into the price of your items.

This model is not exceptionally lucrative when compared to Amazon FBA or Shopify but it’s a great option for those who want to get started dropshipping and don’t have the budget for Amazon or Shopify.

The great thing about dropshipping on eBay is how lenient they are will their shipping requirements.

In fact, eBay is so lenient about shipping times that I’m willing to say it doesn’t actually matter when you ship your items, as long as they are eventually shipped and the customer receives the item.

Obviously, to avoid any disputes, it’s best to communicate with your customers and fast shipping will lead you better feedback but overall, the rules regarding shipping on eBay are quite lenient and is a world away from what Amazon requires of their sellers making it an easier platform to get started on.

So, that is my quick overview on selling on eBay. As you can see, eBay still makes a lot of money and generates a TON of traffic which means their site is still full of buyers. With their policies being more lenient than Amazon, they may also be a better option for those looking to build on a platform before starting your own store.

Be sure to join our ecommerce Facebook group where you can ask any questions about your ecommerce journey.

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