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The Retailer’s Guide to Selling on eBay: Tactics, Tests, and Stories From The Experts

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Often seen as one of the cornerstone platforms for online selling, eBay found its roots in 1995.

The first item sold on eBay? A broken laser pointer.

More than two decades later, eBay now sees more than 2 billion transactions per day. Plus, the company’s revenue continues to rise year over year.

eBay’s revenue continues to rise year-over-year. Source: Statista

So how did the company see such growth? It had a lot to do with filling a market need — and a little bit of good luck along the way.

From Beanie Babies to B2B

Around the time when eBay first became available for online sellers, there was one certain product category that many people around the U.S. were partaking in — Beanie Babies.

Coined “the dotcom stock of the soccer mom world in the second half of the 1990s” by Financial Times, Beanie Babies quickly became a collector’s item and appeared in the households all across the U.S..

It wasn’t long before collectors wanted to trade and sell the toys to make a profit. That’s where eBay came in. The team at eBay quickly realized the opportunity in front of them and started making focused efforts towards getting collectors on the platform.

The Beanie Baby bubble snowballed into the perfect platform for small business sellers. Within a few years, millions of transactions were taking place on eBay — with the majority of them being C2C (customer-to-customer) sales from one household to another.

eBay saw this shift and quickly understood the need to pivot towards other audiences. The business and industrial category on eBay appeared, and with that, a suite of tools to help businesses start selling products to other businesses as well as consumers.

The Current State of eBay

With the ever-competitive Amazon looming around the corner paired with the rise in direct-to-consumer websites, eBay has had a tumultuous past few years.

So we’ve made it easy for retailers to learn about eBay and start selling on the platform — by asking real subject matter experts what it takes to get started.

Here are some things you’ll find throughout the guide.

  • The benefits of selling on eBay,

  • eBay success stories for inspiration,

  • How to determine if you should sell on eBay,

  • eBay marketing and advertising strategies,

  • How to understand eBay fees, and

  • A step-by-step guide to getting started.

Let’s dive in.

Corinne Watson avatar

Corinne is a writer and researcher at BigCommerce, where she works directly with agency and technology partners to bring their tools, services and ideas to the commerce industry at large. Before BigCommerce, she was an education specialist at Skills Fund, where she built resources and ran trainings to give students access to life-changing skills. Corinne holds degrees in graphic design and psychology. After college, she transitioned into the marketing and research space through a self-taught mindset – and works to bring the value of that skill and mindset to others. When she’s not writing, she’s volunteering with nonprofit organizations, traveling the world, or digging into a new book.