Guide

Selling through online marketplaces

Getting started on eBay

eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces. Many retailers use eBay to sell items. Although initially created as an auction site, eBay now allows vendors to sell items at fixed prices (Buy It Now).

eBay is a marketplace for a wide variety of goods, and it can be used to reach buyers in the UK or worldwide. As a business seller on eBay, your fees are based on what you sell, how you set up your listings and whether you subscribe to a shop.

eBay offers separate shop subscriptions to make selling easier and more cost efficient for your business:

  • no shop - no monthly subscription fee, pay per listing
  • basic shop - pay a monthly fee that includes a certain number of free listings  
  • featured shop - pay a higher monthly fee that includes more free listings 
  • anchor shop - pay a higher monthly fee that includes unlimited listings 

You will usually be charged an insertion fee for each listing and also pay a final value fee when your item sells, based on the total transaction value including postage per item. PayPal will also take a percentage of the sale which will vary, but will be approximately 3 per cent of the gross sale value. Find out more about business seller fees

Example of fees charged

Fees vary according to the value and type of item being sold, but as an example, an item sold with no shop at a Buy It Now price of £10 would attract a 35 pence insertion fee, plus a £1 final value fee (10 per cent of £10). There would also be a PayPal fee for 3 per cent. This would make the total cost of selling your item on eBay cost £1.60. You will also need to factor in the price of posting the item and any packaging costs.

Research your item and the rules of selling

Before you start selling, you should do some research into the products you are selling - setting a starting price, selecting a listing format and choosing a category. This will help you create a good listing and get the best price for your item. You should compare your item with active and completed listings on eBay. Listing research tools such as Terapeak can help you to understand your market. . .

Create your listing

When you're ready to sell an item, eBay can help you create your listing with recommendations based on research of similar listings. The recommendations are designed to help you sell your items faster and at better prices.

Click Sell at the top of most eBay pages to start creating your listing. Depending on your item category and which listing form you use, you'll have a variety of listing options:

  • if you're selling an item associated with a product that's in the eBay catalogue, you can add product details from their catalogues to your listing
  • you can create an auction-style or a fixed price listing
  • listing upgrades such as highlighting, font, and picture enhancements make your item stand out

Create a seller account

To become a seller, you need to:

  • confirm your phone number (on eBay.co.uk) or verify your identity (on eBay.ie)
  • specify an automatic payment method for paying your seller fees and eBay Money Back Guarantee reimbursements
  • make sure your feedback profile is public
  • you will also need to setup a PayPal account

Manage your listing

Once you've got your listing up and running, you can check it to see how it is performing. You do this from the Selling section of My eBay. This is available when you sign into your eBay account. You can also:

  • set communication preferences to let eBay know how and when you want to receive alerts or notifications
  • set seller preferences about picture hosting, receiving payments, postage and returns
  • set member-to-member communication preferences to say how buyers can connect with you
  • set general preferences for searches, My eBay preferences, and more

Make sure you answer any questions you receive about your listing. This will help you to sell your item by establishing good rapport with potential buyers. When buyers give you positive feedback, you become a stronger seller on eBay. It’s also possible to change your listing.

Set up your Q&A

You may have to answer questions from your buyers before, during, and after a sale. It's important that you respond quickly and thoroughly. This keeps the buyer interested in your listing, saves you time, and you are more likely to get positive feedback when the transaction is complete. Your Q&A can be made up of answers generated automatically from your listing, answers you create yourself, and stock answers about eBay policies. Up until the end of the listing, you also have the option of whether buyers can contact you directly.