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Top 10 eBay Selling Tips

eBay has a lot to offer for you to sell products on the Web, though the various costs of selling on eBay reads like a Chinese Menu (check out a list of eBay fees).

Costs for selling on eBay may include:

  • eBay Auction listing fee
  • eBay Auction listing final value fee
  • eBay Fixed price listing fee
  • eBay Final value fees for fixed price listing
  • eBay Business and Industrial Equipment insertion fee
  • eBay Business and Industrial Equipment reserve fee
  • eBay Business and Industrial Equipment final value fee
  • eBay Reserve fee
  • eBay Buy it Now fee
  • eBay Listing upgrade fee
  • eBay picture hosting fee

eBay’s fees are so complicated that a few clever people have built eBay fee calculators….try out this free eBay calculator — just looking at it stresses me out!

So I was happy to hear that Marshall Smith, a Senior Software Engineer at ChannelAdvisor, was doing a presentation on cost-saving tips for selling on eBay (at eBay’s DevCon ’09 earlier this month at eBay’s headquarters in San Jose).

I sat in and here are Marshall’s Ten Selling Tips for Reducing eBay Fees:

1) eBay Variations

You can list 12 variations of a product (e.g. different sizes and colors of the same priced t-shirt) as one listing and thus save listing fees. This only applies to certain categories (which eBay seems to be actively adding right now).

2) eBay Catalog Adoption

You can cut eBay submission fees in half if you are selling a catalog of products by using the eBay Catalog. You also get promotion in product-based search methods.

3) eBay International Site Visibility

You can reduce ebay auction listing fees for additional countries by inputting in one country. It’s more advantageous for auction/dynamic priced listings where you could save $1.63 on a $49 auction listing (For eBay fixed-price listings, it makes sense to list once for each country).

Note: Some categories are not supported.

4) PayPal Micropayments

Leverage PayPal’s Micropayments — this is useful for sales with order value of less than $12 .

For example, you can get a rate of $.05 + 5% (instead of $.30 + $2.9%).

For eBay sellers with variable sales, configure two Paypal accounts used based on order value.

For 200 $5 transactions a month you could save $29.

5) eBay Sales History Relist

Sales history is one element used for eBay Fixed Price items in the Best Match algorithm. When you list an item, that specific item doesn’t have any history (it hasn’t had any purchases).

So what you can do is use the relist functionality and link the two items together. It tells eBay this is the same as the previous item I was selling so that you have a starting score when you have just opened an item (otherwise it’ll have a score of zero).

There is no need to use the eBay Featured First function.

6) Immediate Payment

There can be some real advantages to using eBay’s Immediate Payment — it requires the payment from buyer at the time of purchase (as opposed to the buyer paying later).

You don’t have to file any UPI (unpaid item) requests. This could be really desirable for a highly desirable item (event tickets). Because it’s already been paid for, you’ll be faster to ship and the customer receive the product sooner.

7) Improving eBay Seller Metrics

Providing Shipping information to eBay (using CompleteSale API so it shows up in MyeBay. This reduces buyers requesting “Where’s my item?”

It also gives you more leverage in any potential INR disputes. You might also find better DSRs on communication.

8) Submit detailed eBay Seller Policies

In your eBay listing detail your return policy, handling time and shipping options — This reduces buyer confusion and increases confidence in the transaction.

You as a seller have to follow through on your policy. If, for example, you provide returns everywhere except Australia, you must mention that!

9) Efficient Timing When Processing eBay Orders

The eBay order import needs to work with seller’s fulfillment processes and timing — Missing a shipping cutoff window may delay buyer’s receipt by 3 days (Friday to Monday).

Sellers need to get packages into the system as fast as possible (you’ll get better ratings and thus potentially lower fees).

10) Higher DSR’s Reduce Seller Fees


  • A rating of 4.6 earns a 5% discount on final value fees
  • A 4.8 earns a 15% discount
  • A 4.9 earns a 20% discount

If all of these eBay costs seem like too much a headache, you can try the little “free ebay” service my friend and I put up.