Oftentimes, the thought of eBay would only briefly flash through our minds when we're clearing out our cabinets or cupboards. Or when we stumble across the 18 watermelon plates we were gifted 2 Christmases ago, still neatly wrapped in their packaging.

In an effort to declutter without contributing to waste (and perhaps make a bit of money for two free sandwiches), we then start to consider online marketplaces to sell our items.

Selling watermelon plates on eBay

However, did you know that a top seller on eBay made a magnificent $153 million1 between 2017-2018, selling old CDs? They found a strategy that worked for them, and had built their success on the back of online marketplaces - namely eBay and Amazon.

There are plenty of other eBay sellers who found great success, like Ciara2, who brought her business from a dorm room to a warehouse in just one year. Or Todd3, who turned his passion for sports cards into a full-time, top selling business on eBay.

To date, the online marketplace giant has 109 million monthly unique users4 and 170 million buyers worldwide across 190 million markets around the world5. To top it off, they had a GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) of $85 billion in 20196.

While those are impressive numbers, what does that mean to us as we carefully place our delicate watermelon plate into our inventory pile? Aside from eBay being a lesser effort compared to building our own eCommerce store from scratch, we can take advantage of eBay's global market share and start selling. 

And perhaps earn more than two free sandwiches.

Important note: eBay Seller Fees

Before we start listing our items in the midst of our excitement, we need to be aware of the possible selling fees that might be incurred by eBay. They are:

  • Insertion Fees *
  • Final Value Fees
  • Fees in Select Categories
  • Additional Final Value Fees
  • Payments Processing Fees


* List up to 50 items for free every month, and only pay when they sell.

List your item on eBay

There is, apparently, something called The Perfect Listing. It's basically broken down to four attributes:

  1. Listing Titles
  2. Item Specifics
  3. Quality Photos
  4. Price

1. Listing Titles

As much as possible, be concise and include relevant keywords. It should follow a format similar to this, depending on the nature of your item (examples taken from eBay):

  • Lululemon Cashmere Sweater Medium Blue Mens V Neck New Long sleeve
  • Apple TV 4K 32GB HDR 5th Generation Digital Media Streamer MQD22LL/A
  • Dr Doctor Who 12' Deluxe Striped Scarf Fourth 4th Costume Tom Baker BBC Licensed

Pro tip from eBay: "Have a well-structured product title. Front-load your titles with relevant keywords and organize them in a readable, logical order. Don’t use acronyms, like NIB, that buyers may not know or understand."

2. Item Specifics

Here is a run down of all the item specifics supplied by eBay, the key is to provide as many recommended item specifics as possible for your listing.

3. Quality Photos

Make sure you take high quality photos of your item. In a sea of competition, it would be doubly difficult to entice your buyer and encourage confidence if your photo looked like it was taken with a potato. Some simple tips from eBay on how to take good quality photos:

  1. Use white backgrounds, so that your item stands out
  2. Take without flash and use soft, diffused lighting
  3. Use a tripod (to keep consistent angles and eliminate shaky photos)
  4. Take high resolution photos
  5. Fill the frame with your item
  6. Photograph your item from all angles, capture its details and blemishes
  7. Show the scale of your item
  8. Capture the natural colours of your items, avoid filters
  9. Include some close up shots
  10. Avoid using props

4. Price

Pricing an item correctly can be tricky, and there are a number of factors to consider: Are they new or used? How old is the item, and what is the condition of it? Is there a lot of demand for what you're trying to sell? How about the supply?

If you already know what you're selling, you can start by looking up price and sales trends when you find out the worth of your item. That would be a good place to start.

If you're still deciding on what to sell, you can look up what item is selling at a premium price, or have a browse at eBay's best sellers. Check out this guide that shows you similar items sold during the previous 90 days, so that you can optimize your listing.

Best Practices

Now that we've covered the basics of The Perfect Listing, here are some best practices that can take your listing to a higher level.

Product Descriptions

Write clear, detailed product descriptions that include: 

  • Brand names
  • Measurements and weight of the item
  • The style of the item
  • Model numbers
  • Countries you're able to ship to
  • Other unique qualities and potential flaws

Pro tip from QuickBooks Commerce: List down as many details as you can on your listing, so that your buyer has all the information they need to consider your item. Avoid having them to reach out to ask questions, because the time it takes for you to respond might cost you a sale if they were to stumble across another listing.

Choose the right listing format for your item

eBay offers two types of listing formats: Auction-style or Fixed-price (or Buy-It-Now).

  • Auction-style: You can decide a starting price and your customers can place bids. When the auction ends, the item is sold to the highest bidder at the price that they bid.
  • Fixed-price: For this option, there is no bidding involved and your customers would be able to buy it immediately (i.e Buy-it-Now) with the price that you set.
  • List using both: This option offers more flexibility, because your buyers can either place a bid or buy it immediately. 

Have a good seller rating

Every user on eBay has a rating (which includes both buying and selling) when they do a transaction on the platform. Like every other eCommerce store, ratings are important and the same applies to your storefront on eBay. They play a role in invoking confidence that you're a trustworthy seller, and it encourages buyers to give your store a chance.

On the flip side, if you have a terrible rating, it would be more difficult for you to sell.

As a seller, simple things like being polite and responsive are imperative, because more often than not, it would affect their rating and it might make or break their buying experience. However, if you're still new to eBay, you can purchase some items from other sellers to start and build up your rating as a good buyer. Every bit of rating helps!

QuickBooks Commerce x eBay

How does QuickBooks Commerce enter the picture when it comes to selling on eBay? As exciting as it is to start selling your watermelon inventory on a new sales channel, you'd want to start off right and invest your effort in a system that would automate your processes. As your business grows, you'd want the platform that manages your inventory to grow with you.

Just like a good pair of jeans that accommodates your waistline after a trip to the buffet.salesorder-sample

Want to sell on multiple sales channels? QuickBooks Commerce will empower you to consolidate your sales orders from everywhere you sell, and you'll have visibility over your stock movement on a single platform. Interested in understanding your buyer behaviours better? We're here to help you make smarter decisions by giving you buyer insights with inventory reports.

QuickBooks Commerce also gives you the option to pivot your business strategy to wholesale or eCommerce, as QuickBooks Commerce is an end-to-end, complete inventory management system that enables you to do that.

You know what they say: Prevention of manual inventory headaches is better than cure!

Give our eBay integration a try if you haven't, we highly recommend it! It's easy to use, we think it's a great sales channel for you to start selling or to expand your business. 

Automate your operations with QuickBooks Commerce when you start selling on eBay

Get started


1 https://www.wired.co.uk/article/music-magpie-cd-dvd-reselling
2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaC7EW0CGvk
3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6geovN1q_E
4 https://www.statista.com/statistics/242235/number-of-ebays-total-active-users
5 https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/shipping/selling-internationally.html
6 https://www.statista.com/topics/2181/ebay/