eBay is the oldest and still most popular auction website

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eBay is the oldest and still most popular auction website on the Internet. With multiple international websites, as well as the flagship US website, eBay is a familiar name around the world.

Pros

eBay is the oldest and largest auction website online, both in terms of merchandise listed and the number of buyers. eBay has worked hard to achieve a safe marketplace for both buyers and sellers. It has a good reputation with shoppers, creating trust in your listings. There are lots of auction listing tools that work with eBay, making creating bulk listings easy and relatively fast, and software for integrating with website content management systems, tracking and doing research on eBay is plentiful.

Cons

There is lots of competition on eBay for popular products, with many sellers going for the cheapest price, which means you earn a lower profit margin than some other auction sites, and the listing fees are high, and computed on several tiers depending on what you are selling, the price it sells for,  and how many listings you have, so the total price can be confusing. Additionally, the only way to pay online on eBay is through PayPal (also owned by eBay), which also has higher fees than some other credit card processing companies (which are paid by the seller). But, on the plus side, PayPal is an available payment processor in most parts of the world, web users are very familiar with PayPal, and have a high degree of trust in their services. There is also a free PayPal app that allows you to accept credit cards offline on your mobile device and a virtual terminal that allows  you to process phone orders.

Fees

eBay has two types of fees, an upfront insertion fee and a back end fee called a final value fee, which you pay when your item sells, based on a percentage of the total amount your item sold for. You can list up to fifty items per month on an auction or fixed price-listing format with no up-front listing fees. Select categories are eligible for 100 free-insertion-fee auction-style listings per month. Real Estate, motor vehicles, and a few other select categories aren’t eligible for any listings without up front fees. Insertion fees vary for automobiles, real estate, and some business and industrial categories. If you own a store, fees vary for electronics and clothing. If you exceed the free listings limit for  your category, you will be charged $0.30 per listing for all additional listings. You can relist an item a second time at no extra cost if it does not sell the first time around. Extending your auction-style listing to a 10-day duration is a flat fee of $.40, in addition to any applicable insertion fees. If you want to set a reserve price on your listing, that’s an extra $2.00 up to a selling price of $200.00, and up to a $50.00 maximum if the selling price is over $200.00. If you sell over fifty items per month, you will be charged $0.05 for fixed price listings on books, DVD’s, Movies, Music and Video game listings. You will pay $0.30 for auction style and fixed price listings in all other categories. Your final value fee is 10%. This fee includes your shipping costs. That means if you sell an item for $20.00 and charge $5.99 for shipping, you will be charged 10% of $25.99. You will also be charged PayPal fees in addition to insertion and final value fees charged by eBay. The PayPal fee varies, depending on your monthly sales volume. You can process up to $500 per month on a personal account to start, with only a 2.7% per US transaction charge. When your sales exceed $500/month, you have to sign up for a commercial PayPal account, which will process 26 currencies in over 200 countries. Then there is a $30.00 per month flat fee, plus $.30 fee per transaction, plus 2.2% to 2.9% of your sales, depending on what your total sales volume is for the month. Store subscription fees vary based on the store plan you choose. You get a set amount of free insertion fees when selling through a store. Subscription fees range from $15.95 for a maximum of 150 listings in your store, to $199.95 per month for 2,500 listings. If you go over the maximum listings allowed for your store, there is a $.30 upfront listing fee for each additional listing.  In eBay stores you set the actual selling price and don’t have to pay reserve fees to guarantee you get the price you want.  If you own a store, fees vary for electronics and clothing. And, eBay is not always accepting new stores.

Selling Options

You can choose what selling format you want to use by picking an auction style or fixed price-listing category. One of the benefits of using a fixed price format is that you can require your buyer to pay for each item when they buy it. With auction formats, you can’t do that and it can be a challenge getting some buyers to pay for their items. However,  you can get a credit for the final value fees if they don’t pay.

Selling Tools

Listing things on eBay is easy. You enter the store category first. You then fill in the required fields including the title, condition, brand and any other required descriptions. There are pull down menus that help you fill in the boxes. Once you enter your text, you can add product photos. eBay does not have any specific pixel or size requirements for images and the photo uploading instructions are straightforward. You can have up to 12 photos for free in your product description, but it costs $.35 to $1.00 extra to show a larger thumbnail with your listing, which you will want to do if you expect to sell much. eBay’s has detailed sales reports. Built-in spreadsheets list the amount of items you sell and your monthly profits. You have access to a multitude of data sheets that include average sales prices per item and other useful information. Functions like markdown managers and cross promotion tools help you get more exposure for your goods. Sometimes things go wrong including lost merchandise or unhappy buyers. eBay has an exceptional resolution center that assists buyers and sellers with negative issues. And, if you have a difficult buyer that you don’t want to do business with again, you can block them from your store.