Among online selling platforms, eBay has been around for longer than most. The online auction behemoth got its start way back in 1995 and has since survived a number of internet and economic crises. It’s no wonder, then, that so many UK resellers trust this platform for their online business.

According to eBay 2020 data, a cosmetic item is purchased every 3 seconds in the UK. And if electronics and entertainment are more your bread and butter, you’ll be happy to hear that a video game is purchased every 4 seconds. There are active buyers in just about every category waiting for you to start selling on eBay!

The Basics of Selling on eBay

To sell on eBay, you will need to become an eBay seller. Whether you’re just looking to sell an item or two here and there, or you’re starting a full-time resale business, eBay makes the selling process easy.

Become an eBay seller in a few simple steps. Just create an account, set up your product listings, make a few decisions on how you want to sell, and you’re in business. With a reported 159 million active buyers on the site, you’ve got a built-in market for all your eBay goods.

Of course, since the eBay marketplace is so vast, competition can be steep, too. You’ll want to ensure you’re using best practices for creating eBay listings. Decide ahead of time if you want to sell via auction or set a fixed price for your goods. And you’ll also need to figure out how you’ll ship your items and what you’ll charge for shipping and handling.

How much does it cost to sell on eBay?

Of course, selling on eBay isn’t free. There are several types of fees involved, and the pricing can be a little complicated if you’re not familiar with eBay’s terminology. But don’t worry — we’ll be happy to break it down for you.

The first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want to set up an eBay Store or not. If you plan on selling more than just occasionally, it’s a good idea to go ahead and do this. The monthly price of an eBay Store costs £25 for the Basic plan, £69 for the Featured plan, and £399 for the Anchor plan. Depending on the size of your eBay Shop and what features you want to use as a seller, choose your subscription wisely. For example, if you’re moving large volumes of product monthly, you may want to splurge for the more inclusive plan, that way additional fees won’t stack up. You get monthly allowances on certain features like additional listings and capping of final value fees in particular categories. There are also seller tools at your disposal and other perks included in your membership. More on that below.

Next, you’ll need to pay insertion fees—which are essentially listing fees. You’ll get a certain number of these fees waived each month, depending on the type of account you have. Without an eBay Shop, you’re charged insertion fees per listing. Those accounts with an eBay Shop get anywhere from 250-unlimited free listings. After your freebies are used up, you’ll be charged per listing and per category. Insertion fees on additional fixed price listings cost 30p (without a Shop) or 10p (with a Basic shop). For additional auction-style listings, those numbers are 30p and 15p, respectively.

After that, there are several listing options you may choose to purchase for your product listings. These include things like subtitles, ‘Buy it now’ pricing options, gallery plus (which enlarges pictures from your listing’s thumbnail in search results) and scheduler—these can be 10p or 50p to £2.50 each. Be careful when crafting your listing, as it’s easy to eat into your profits with paid listing options.

Finally, you’ll have to pay a final value fee if your item sells. This fee is a percentage of the final selling price for your listing and can range from 8% up to 11%, depending on the final price of each item, the category of the item, and whether your account meets certain minimum performance standards. Remember, an eBay Shop subscription caps some of these fees.

Pros of Selling on eBay

A Huge Buying Audience

As previously mentioned, eBay has been around for a long time and has a vast audience of active buyers on the site. This means your listing can reach a great number of buyers with little effort on your part.

Ability to Sell Just About Anything

Seriously. Anything. Want to sell a car? Check out eBay motors. There’s a marketplace for specialty services. You can even sell property on eBay if you so desire! For just about anything you might want to sell, there’s probably a category already set up and active on eBay.

Easy Set-Up

In just a few clicks, it’s simple to have your listings up and running on eBay. Of course, the more effort you put into your listings, the better chance you have of catching the attention of eBay’s millions of buyers. But even the most complex listings aren’t really that difficult to create.

Seller Protections

Unlike creating your own freestanding e-commerce store, when you sell on their platform, eBay has your back. They have a number of Seller Protections to help you out when buyers don’t behave ethically or something goes wrong in the selling process.

Minimal Up-Front Cost

For many platforms, there’s a pretty significant cost to pay before you ever actually earn anything. Not so with eBay. The bulk of their fees aren’t even calculated until your listing sells.

Customisable eBay Shop

Setting up shop on eBay means you can choose a name (it helps if it relates to something you sell, like Cody’s Electronics), personalise it, organise your inventory by category, preview your shopfront, and share your eBay Shop with a unique URL! This is a good way to promote your brand and boost marketing efforts. Read more benefits to opening a Shop on eBay.co.uk.

eBay’s Global Shipping Programme

Honourable mention goes out to eBay’s Global Shipping Programme. If you want to branch out and make global sales in other European countries, the US, or anywhere else really, this is worth looking into. Perhaps the Fulfillment by Amazon programme (FBA) is ringing a few bells? Well, it should since it’s a pretty similar concept. What this programme does is enable UK sellers to send items worldwide.

You must be located in the UK and during listing select the “Sell internationally with the Global Shipping Programme” option. There are weight restrictions, of course, and the item cannot be worth more than £2,000. Once an item is bought by someone in another country—hence what makes this a global shipping programme—you simply send in your item to the provided address for a UK Shipping Centre. This lets you expand your global audience without the hassle of duty payments and customs clearance. You only pay for the cost of posting your item to the UK Shipping Centre. For more information on how this programme works, head over to this page.

Cons of Selling on eBay

Heavy Competition

Yes, eBay has a lot of buyers. But you know what else they have? A lot of sellers. This means that in popular product categories, there may be steep competition for sales. Do your homework, be careful with your pricing, and find ways to make sure your listings stand out.

If you don’t want to get lost in the mix, you can choose a more specialised reselling platform. For instance, if you have a large inventory of designer clothing, maybe try a reselling platform for apparel only.

Seller Fees

As listed above, eBay has a habit of nickel-and-diming their sellers until the fees add up to be a lot more than you initially anticipated. Be sure to understand their fee structure completely before you list anything, and remember that part of what you’re paying for is their vast network of buyers.

Shipping Rates

eBay Delivery offers shipping rates exclusive to sellers—however, it can be quite expensive. InPost services, a locker-to-home delivery service, has a flat £25 compensation plus whatever the product’s weight is (10kg-15k products can reach an additional £9.26!) The convenience may be worth it to some sellers. Simply place your sold items in lockers and delivery will take 2-3 working days within the UK mainland. Check if there is an InPost locker near you!

There’s also Hermes courier collection, which delivers within 3 working days, and Hermes ParcelShop drop-off, which delivers within 2 working days—both for the UK mainland. These will also cost £25, with additional costs based on kilograms.

Seller Performance Standards

Some sellers chafe at the idea of eBay’s minimum performance standards, but they’re in place to ensure the marketplace remains competitive with other online giants like Amazon. The basics include:

  • Prompt shipping
  • Quickly resolving any issues that come up
  • Keeping your store well-stocked
  • Fully disclosing shipping costs in your listing(s)
  • Responding to buyer questions
  • In general, running a customer-friendly web store

When you think about it, these are just good practices for selling online, so you probably want to adhere to them even if you choose to sell elsewhere.

Start Selling on eBay With Job Lots

Job lots are available for purchase at deep discounts that are far less than RRP (recommended retail price). So, you can get good returns on this inventory by buying it cheap and reselling it for higher! But you need a reliable place to buy job lots before you can sell on eBay.

If you’re ready to get started sourcing inventory for your new eBay venture, why not try B-Stock Supply Europe? We also have tons of clearance stock auctions available from some of Europe’s top retailers like Amazon, Wayfair, and Unilever. These private marketplaces are a great way to get a lot of inventory for an excellent price.

Join the largest global network of B2B liquidation marketplaces.

Buy directly from the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers

register now

"B-Stock helped me buy top quality liquidated inventory and maximize my profit margin. I can't recommend them more!"

Karen Smith, Business Owner

Bargain Dealz

More from the B-Stock Blog

How To Flip Shoes For Profit

The National Retail Federation says consumers are spending $161 this year on shoes. A new pair of kicks is one of the most frequently bought items – especially during back-to-school and other key shopping holidays. Shoes are not only considered…

Sep 23 2021 · 10 min read

Keep Non-sustainable Fabrics Out of Landfills With B-Stock

The invention and rise of plastic has been both a blessing and a curse for the people of the world. This family of resilient materials has enabled us to create useful, affordable, lightweight goods that last. However, these goods, used…

Sep 23 2021 · 5 min read

How to Buy Samsung Returns

If you’re looking to purchase and resell mobile phones, Samsung returns are a top choice! When it comes to the secondary mobile market, there is a large amount of Samsung inventory available and Samsung mobile devices are in high demand…

Sep 21 2021 · 8 min read