is ebay selling still worth it

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?

Is eBay selling still worth it? A question most online sellers now ask themselves.Most of us will remember when eBay blossomed. The site was a pioneer of eCommerce. Making selling online accessible for the masses. We all probably remember the TV advert showing us how anyone could buy and sell anything from your home, even if it was an old rubber chicken. Selling the idea of one man’s trash, as another’s treasure. In it’s early days many entrepreneurs latched onto this dedicated shopping search engine and began small start-up businesses selling almost anything. Most businesses would simply buy in bulk and sell each item individually at a higher price. But in more recent years there has been a huge drop of people who operate like this, turning to a dedicated eCommerce store on a service like Shopify:  for good reason too. Let’s examine: Is eBay selling still worth the hassle in 2016?

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: Usage Fees

With every selling website, like eBay, there is always going to be some kind of fee to use the service they provide. After all, it puts your products in-front of potentially thousands of buyers.  However more and more eBay sellers are struggling to cope with the rise in fees. A quote from The Independent back in 2011 shows the woes of sellers even back then:

“Johnny Alexander, who has been running the eBay designer watch shop Planetwatch for the past nine years, said the fee increase had run his business into the ground. “I’m looking for a way out. I’ve been going to school to try and get another profession. They’re taking too much money. My profit used to be around £4,000 a month, but now I’m lucky if I’m making £1,500, and in London that’s not a lot to live on.”

The fees have continued to rise since then forcing many sellers to give up or find another way of distributing their products. Ebay did acknowledge this way back in 2013 but has not lowered fees enough to stop the fall of people selling on their site. Fortunately, for most, opening and working on their own branded store can be enough to save their business.

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: Stiff Competition

Anyone who has ever tried to sell on eBay will realize how stiff the competition is online. It is not getting any easier for small business owners, especially for those who are importing goods from the East to the West. Large factories and wholesalers are now  involved in selling directly on eBay. Meaning your suppliers are competing with you, with the very products you are selling. Making it impossible to compete with the price they are offering. All this makes it very hard to start or maintain a small business on eBay.

eBay also works like a search engine. It has a variety of ways of ranking different listings. Large eBay sellers seem to appear more often in the results than the smaller fish. Making it hard to stand out on the site. Especially when some sellers have been on there for over 10 years. Cheap items from China seem to trend above the rest. Also, the most popular way of filtering a search is “Price: Lowest to Highest.” Go figure!

There are ways to rank better on eBay search. But at a price. You can choose to get your listings highlighted, bumped up the page or have a company logo on it. However for regular sellers, this can get costly to perform on a multitude of products. Many sellers citing that eBay is far too expensive to make it worthwhile.

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: Getting Your Brand Noticed & Established

Running an online store takes passion. Many store owners want to create their own brand and work hard to give off the right impression to the correct market. In a sense, eBay does a really good job at making it a level playing field for  everyone. It is difficult to create impressive & customized looking listings. The shop function does not add much personality either. Though improvements have been made here, there is still much to be desired in terms of customization of a eay store. Therefore many shop owners eventually want to branch out and put their own stamp on a store. Especially if they are selling higher class or luxury branded items. That is when a Shopify store could be the next natural step.

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: eBay Is Rife With Scam Artists

is ebay selling still worth it?

There is a risk of getting scolded on eBay when selling. Unfortunately, as with every popular website, there is always someone looking to make a buck or two from someone else’s pocket. eBay is reliant on having a stream of happy customers that turn to their site over services such as Amazon & Google Shopping. This has led to the shopper being favored heavily when a dispute about a sale is raised. Untruthful buyers have cottoned onto this and “Item not received” and “Item not as described” cases have gone through the roof. Leaving some sellers with a very sour taste in their mouth as they lose both the money and cost price of the item too. Although eBay does lots too help sellers protect themselves, it is hard when the website is such a pull for scam artists.

Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: You Only Sell Small Amounts

Although eBay has a huge potential within their large customer base. It is unlikely that someone will log on and buy more than one product from you. Although there is now the option to set up cheaper shipping rates and discounts for multiple product buys: the functionality is still rather clumsy and not clear whilst shopping. With your own eCommerce store, you can design eye-catching pop ups which state “spend £2 more for free shipping,”  or add a discount code. Also, you can suggest “add on” small purchases that will compliment their main purchase. A discounted laptop case could be displayed for example, when a computer is in their basket. This can really ramp up your revenue by just adding on smaller goods to a large purchase.


Is eBay Selling Still Worth It?: Re-marketing Opportunities

One of the most important marketing techniques any store can master is re-marketing. Especially if they are selling quality or well priced goods. Re-marketing involves collecting your customer data and regularly reaching back out to them with deals, new products or services. It may surprise you to learn that it is much easier to make a sale from an old customer, than to gain a new one. Re-marketing is very effective as the buyer already has an interest in what you sell and trusts your store. Trading on eBay makes it hard to have a re-marketing strategy as there is little opportunity to get customers to join a mailing list or send out branded email marketing campaigns.

Interested in learning more about eCommerce retention strategies?


So what does the future hold? Is eBay a no-go in 2016?

Although it seems like we have picked many of the negative aspects of eBay out. It is not all bad. eBay can offer instant access to an audience and sales can roll in right away. A branded eCommerce store takes a little more time and effort to get going.

Our point is, many sellers have chosen to simply open there own eCommerce store, and with good reason. Usage fees usually work out to be a lot lower than selling on eBay as your costs will simply be a domain name, and selling subscription. Completely dropping the listing fee per product. Shopify allows you to sell an unlimited amount of products on it for no extra cose. This is a huge benefit for people selling a large variety of product and makes an eCommerce store a lot cheaper month to month.

Having your own eCommerce store is also a great way to promote your brand,  unlike Ebay you can fully customize your website and send out the image you choose to. Importantly, attracting the right market for the goods you are selling. It is also easy to import your eBay items straight into Shopify with the eBay importer app.

Need help setting up or boosting sales on your new Shopify store? Don’t forget to get in touch with us at hello(@) today!

1 reply
  1. Alojamiento
    Alojamiento says:

    On closer inspection, the mutual benefits remain, but the reality is more nuanced. Should you expand your presence beyond your online store and start selling your products on Amazon and eBay?


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