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How to sell on eBay?
- Last update: 23.02.2024
- Published: 09.10.2023
- Read in: 9 min
In recent years, there has been a consistent uptrend in sales on marketplace platforms. Understandably, many businesses have made the strategic decision to initiate sales on these platforms to expand their reach, either to reach more segments of local customers or to tap into foreign markets.
Nonetheless, if you’re contemplating embarking on your own journey of selling on marketplace platforms, it’s crucial to engage in thorough preparations beforehand. This includes acquainting yourself with the platform’s regulations, gaining an understanding of the costs associated with selling through the platform, and ensuring you are well-prepared to manage cross-border sales facilitated by the platform.
We address the question of how to sell on eBay and outline the key factors you need to be aware of before embarking on your selling journey in the following article.
If you wish to start selling on eBay, as expected, your initial step is to establish a seller’s account (also known as a personal account and private account) or a business account.
Private account and business account
The first kind of account mentioned earlier is the free option and is intended for private individuals who intend to sell single items on eBay. Typically, a new private account comes with monthly sales limitations, determining both the maximum number of items that can be listed and the monthly sales value ceiling. Private sellers, in contrast, face fewer requirements compared to business sellers. For instance, they are not obliged to provide a product ID when listing items.
Furthermore, during the registration of a personal account on eBay, you’ll be asked for details such as:
- date of birth,
- home address,
- country or region,
- telephone number.
The alternative is to opt for a business account, and when setting it up, you’ll need to specify the form of your business entity, whether it’s a sole proprietorship or a specific type of company, like a limited liability company, partnership, or publicly listed corporation. Furthermore, to register a business account on eBay, you must provide the essential information, including:
- company name and commercial name,
- country or region,
- address and telephone number.
Nevertheless, it’s vital to highlight that when you choose to sell on eBay using a business account, there are associated fees (which we will explain in more detail later in this article). However, users with business accounts benefit from a variety of additional solutions, including marketing tools and a shipping manager. It’s also worth mentioning that a single company has the option to create multiple business accounts if they sell products across various categories.
Creating an account entails making several decisions, which include:
- selecting your preferred payment method for eBay sales, with options such as bank transfer, credit card, or PayPal.
- choosing between PLN or EUR as your settlement currency.
- creating a unique username and password.
When addressing the inquiry of how to initiate selling on eBay, it’s imperative to highlight that once your account has been set up, there’s another highly significant step that cannot be overlooked – the verification process.
Verifying your eBay account
For account verification, eBay provides users with three options: via phone, credit card, or postal verification. However, the swiftest method typically involves using a credit card, and it takes just a few minutes in most cases.
Types of international selling
Upon successfully completing the account creation and verification procedures, the next step is to select the method of international sales, – either the standard or advanced option.
Selling through eBay using the standard method means creating listings that can be shipped to international customers.
Thanks to this option, sellers are not required to generate listing descriptions in languages other than the one used on the local eBay service. For example, if you list on eBay.co.uk, the descriptions will be in Polish, and on eBay.es, it will be in Spanish. Be aware that these listings won’t be automatically translated. For example, a user on the German version of eBay can access the listing but may not understand it due to the language mismatch.
Furthermore, the “standard” option means managing sales through a single eBay service and does not allow for any price adjustments. Prices are automatically set based on daily exchange rates.
The second choice is the advanced selling approach, which entails listing your items on dedicated platforms affiliated with eBay in various countries. Thanks to this option, sellers can enhance the visibility of their listings and can set prices tailored to each country’s platform.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that this method necessitates crafting listings in different languages, along with adhering to country-specific fees and commissions.
Switching from a private to a company account
If you’re considering how to begin selling as a business on eBay and already have a personal account, it’s important to recognise the option for profile transformation.
You can do this within the settings section, where you’ll need to define your business profile— be it a legal entity or sole proprietor. Then, you’ll provide essential details like your company name, contact information, VAT number, and refund policy.
It’s crucial to understand that once you’ve converted a personal account into a business account, this process is irreversible. On a related note, it’s worth highlighting that a single company can manage multiple business accounts.
Terms of sale policy
Upon the successful creation and setup of the account, sellers must also define the sales terms on eBay. Through this setting, it becomes possible to automatically restrict buyers who reside in countries where delivery is unavailable or who have a history of non-payment, which has led to cancelled orders in the past.
Listing and auctioning on eBay
After the account is established and confirmed, and the sales policy terms are configured, sellers can commence their eBay sales activities. To begin, the first step is to create a listing, which can be categorised into two options: a listing with a “buy now” button and a listing with an auction.
The cost for listing an item with a “buy now” button is PLN 1.50, while listing an item for competitive bidding is priced at PLN 2.20.
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Selling limits on eBay
In the context of eBay selling, it’s also essential to address the selling restrictions imposed on new sellers. These restrictions primarily revolve around the number of listings that new users are allowed to create and the total value of their sales.
It’s important to be aware that these limitations are in place for all categories with a few exceptions, including:
- business & industrial,
- automotive (excluding parts),
- real estate.
The platform’s restrictions are rooted in the site’s policy, which is less stringent in terms of verification compared to some other online marketplaces. Instead, eBay relies on new users gradually becoming familiar with how the platform operates and its rules. Consequently, as users build a track record of successful sales and establish themselves on the platform, these limitations may expand.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs using a business account have the option to request increases in their limits. They can do so by choosing the appropriate option within the ‘Monthly Limits’ section on the ‘My eBay’ page. It’s important to note that if you decide to pursue this, the service may require you to provide additional documents, such as your entry in the national company register or your tax return for the most recent year of your business activities.
What products are considered best to sell on eBay?
If you’re interested in discovering the top-selling items on eBay, you have dedicated tools designed to analyse the platform’s online sales data. Some examples of these tools include Terapeak and Shelftrend. Additionally, eBay provides its own solution called eBay Sales Reports.
By using data from these sources, you can identify the best-selling products in various categories, specific countries, or during particular seasons, allowing you to enhance and optimise your eBay sales strategies.
How much does eBay charge and what fees are associated with using the site?
Entrepreneurs opting to engage in eBay selling must consider the fees and expenses associated with their operations on this platform. To begin, let’s explore the charges applicable to eBay users with business accounts, which include:
- listing fees,
- PayPal commissions,
- eBay sales and associated fees.
In the case of eBay sales with a value less than PLN 4600, a commission of 11% applies. However, for sales exceeding this amount, eBay imposes an additional 2% commission on the surplus. It’s worth noting that while this threshold generally applies to most categories, exceptions are detailed on eBay’s platform.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that eBay imposes an extra fee of PLN 1.35 (or EUR 0.35) for each order.
Moreover, eBay provides business accounts the opportunity to list a certain number of items free of charge, and this depends on the specific type of monthly subscription:
- Basic Store – Priced at PLN 89 per month, it includes 400 fixed auction listings, and each additional listing costs PLN 0.45. It also offers 40 auction listings, and each extra auction is charged at PLN 2.20.
- Premium store – Available for PLN 179 per month, this plan provides 2,500 bids, with each additional fixed auction listing priced at PLN 0.25. It offers 100 auction-style listings, and any further auctions come at a cost of PLN 2.20. This plan also includes the benefit of free international listings.
- Enterprise – Priced at PLN 669 per month, it offers an unlimited number of listings. It includes 250 auction-style listings, and each additional auction is charged at PLN 2.20. This plan also provides the advantage of free international listings.
Keep in mind, that the aforementioned data, as well as the information below, regard eBay.pl. If you wish to check more information about eBay subscription and fees, you will find in under this link.
International transaction fees
eBay also imposes fees for international sales on their platform. If the seller ships their products from Poland, transactions to countries within the Eurozone and Sweden are exempt from charges. However, for sales to other European countries, the USA, and Canada, a fee of 1.6% of the sale amount applies. Furthermore, transactions to the UK incur a cost of 1.2% of the sale amount, while for sales to all other countries, the fee is 3.3%.
For fees regarding eBay.com, check this link.
If you’re considering selling on eBay, it’s crucial to understand the additional fees associated with this platform. These fees include various items, such as adding a subtitle, which amounts to PLN 5.70 per listing. When listing in the automotive category, fees range from PLN 0.87 to PLN 2.14, and these rates depend on factors such as your account type and the format of your listing, whether it’s an ad or a standard listing.
For information on fees for selling vehichles on eBay Motors, regarding eBay.com, check this this.
Selling on foreign eBay sites and VAT
Selling internationally requires businesses to pay close attention to matters concerning tax settlement and submitting VAT returns.
Limit on intra-Community distance sales of goods
Effective from July 1, 2021, there exists a single and consolidated limit of EUR 10,000 across European Union member states. This limit is applicable to intra-Community transactions, which include, among other things, sales through in-house online shops or marketplace platforms to private customers in other member states.
Once this threshold is exceeded, traders are obliged to apply the VAT rates specific to the buyer’s country. To comply with these tax regulations, VAT declarations must be filed either individually in each respective country (following prior VAT registration), or collectively through the VAT OSS procedure.
Therefore, as you embark on your eBay selling venture, it’s important to assess whether your sales to individual customers in other EU member states will reach or exceed the EUR 10,000 limit. If there’s a likelihood of surpassing this amount, it’s a wise step to proactively address potential VAT-related concerns. Should you require any assistance on this matter, you can schedule a free consultation, specifying your needs, and our VAT Compliance specialists will handle the rest for you!
In the meantime, you can find more information about the mentioned sales threshold in our article – EU mail order sales limits.
Warehousing goods abroad
Another factor to take into account when embarking on eBay or other online marketplace selling is the matter of product storage.
While storing goods in a foreign country can streamline shipping time and cut costs, this decision also brings with it the obligation of registering for local VAT and filing local declarations concerning various aspects, including:
- transporting goods (shipment to an overseas storage facility),
- domestic sales within the country,
- B2B transactions originating from this country to customers in a different country,
- and the overseas shipment of goods from the warehousing location in this country – in the case of sales of goods outside the EU.
It’s important to note that the VAT OSS procedure, which exclusively applies to B2C intra-Community sales, doesn’t come into play. This means that when products are dispatched from a particular warehouse to customers within the same country- there is no intra-Community sale of goods. Also outsourcing logistics, such as e-commerce fulfillment, doesn’t exempt you from registering for VAT and submitting local VAT returns.
It’s important to keep in mind that the VAT OSS process could be employed when products are dispatched from an international warehouse to private individuals in other EU countries (including Poland).
How to sell on eBay? - eBay summary
Initiating sales, particularly when venturing into international markets through platforms like eBay, provides a valuable opportunity to tap into a larger customer base and grow your business. Nonetheless, entering international sales platforms, especially if it’s your first expansion, can pose certain difficulties. That is why, it’s advisable to prepare in advance for such a venture, including tasks such as translating your product descriptions into other languages, organising international shipping, return processes, and payment methods, as well as managing VAT-related issues, such as securing an EU VAT number, registering for foreign VAT, or utilising VAT OSS.
If you’re looking to expand your business and require assistance with the tax matters mentioned above, please schedule a free consultation and discover how our VAT Compliance specialists can assist you with registrations, settlements, filing returns, VAT OSS and VAT EU matters.