eBay is a great marketplace for selling just about anything you want. But while many people use it as a place to sell used items instead of throwing them away, others use it as a place to run a full-time eCommerce business.
If you want to sell online via your own eBay store, the question you have to ask yourself when starting out is: what should you sell?
There’s no easy answer, but there are several important factors to consider.
Here we take a look at what you need to know to help you decide what to sell on eBay in 2024.
- Selling on eBay can be a profitable way to run a business.
- Choosing the right product is one of the most important decisions.
- There are several factors that can help you decide, including focusing on what interests you, researching what’s trending, and working out how you can add value.
- Once you have chosen a product, start listing it on eBay and see how you get on.
What Interests You?
The first thing to consider is what actually interests you the most. You’ll need to make sure there’s a market for what you want to sell, but this is a good starting point.
Keep in mind that:
- You’re more likely to enjoy selling something that interests you.
- You’ll have a better understanding of what buyers want.
- You can come across as an expert and answer questions with greater authority.
- You can save a lot of time researching the product and market.
- You’ll already have market knowledge and will know whether you’re offering an attractive deal or not.
Do you have a hobby? A specialist knowledge of a particular type of item? What do you like doing? Which products do you already know a lot about? Where could you offer deeper knowledge and insight?
Start brainstorming and come up with ideas for products you would enjoy selling. If you get genuine enjoyment from a particular type of product, this can make a big difference when running your business.
Check Out the Best Sellers
While having an interest in a product type is a good starting point, it’s not always necessary. What matters is choosing a product that you can sell. You can get a lot of enjoyment running a successful eBay business, and it does not have to be a product you personally enjoy using.
A good way to get some ideas going is to check out what’s selling on eBay right now.
For example, head to the trending tab and see if anything stands out to you here. These are all things that people are interested in buying at the moment.
But be careful: trends can change quickly. Just because something is a hot seller for one month, it doesn’t mean it will remain so for months and years to come.
So, don’t base your whole business around selling something that’s nothing more than a fad. But it can be a great starting place.
Or simply browse the different categories for inspiration. Explore top-selling product categories, and when you see something you like the look of:
- Look for the number of listings that a search returns.
- Find out whether it’s selling by searching for completed listings.
- Check out what sort of price the items are selling for.
- See how much competition there is.
Spend time on this process to get a better understanding of eBay top selling items, and let this guide you as you choose your own product.
Understand the Competition You Face
Even if you find a great product and you’re genuinely interested in selling it, this doesn’t mean you’re ready to start selling on eBay. Instead, spend some time researching the competition.
For example, there are certain products in top-selling eBay categories, like the most popular cell phones and consumer electronics, that are going to be very hard for you to compete with against the big sellers.
When you start selling items, check out the top-selling items with high demand. Often, the top sellers will have much stronger buying power, so they can sell them for less and still make a profit. They have smaller profit margins because they sell so many products.
All of this means it may be a better idea to stay away from certain kinds of items.
So take a closer look at the competition and ask yourself: can you really compete in a particular niche? It could save you a lot of time and trouble being honest with yourself at this early stage.
Choose More Expensive Products
One idea when you’re just starting out selling products on eBay is to opt for more expensive products.
This goes back to the previous point about sellers having very low margins because they can get away with it by selling so many items.
To avoid competing with them, look for products you can sell for a higher price and enjoy a higher margin as a result.
That way, you can sell fewer products, spend less on listing fees, and spend less on processing orders while still making a healthy profit.
What Do You Have Access To?
Another way to get some ideas when selling items on eBay is to think carefully about any products that you currently have access to.
Many people start on eBay by selling used products. If you have a whole library of hundreds of books in your garage, this could be a starting point. But you need to think beyond this.
Do you have any industry connections? Perhaps you have a friend or relative who runs a business and can provide you with easy access to a particular type of product.
You may know someone who makes hand-crafted items or fashion jewelry. If so, you could arrange a deal with them to buy at wholesale prices and sell them on eBay.
Sourcing products is essential for success on eBay. So consider other places where you could source items, like thrift stores, online retailers, or estate sales, and use this to give you ideas when you start selling on eBay.
Consider Unbranded Products
You might want to take a closer look at unbranded products. Many sellers swear by these because there’s a lot of room to add value. Plus, you won’t be competing with so many larger sellers who are focused on branded products.
When you source an unbranded product, this allows you to provide unique value compared to selling a well-known brand, where it can be hard to add value.
You can also sell them for a lower price compared to similar products sold by top-selling brands. Many people may be happy to choose a non-branded product in return for a lower price.
You should also spend time listening to your customers to find out what’s important to them and the features they want to see. Then use this information to optimize your listings and make them stand out.
Find Out Where You Can Add Value
When you start getting ideas for what to sell, focus on adding value. This is what the best eBay sellers do: they find products where they can offer something extra.
There’s no shortcut, and it takes work, but it can make all the difference.
Research the market and see what other sellers are doing. Then find ways that you can improve on their products.
When you find a product that other sellers are doing well with, ask yourself:
- What’s missing?
- Could you add something to it?
- Could you combine it with something else?
- Can you sell it for a lower price?
The listing is another way you can add value. Try to find products where the listings are not optimized. If a seller has good sales and a terrible listing, this suggests that there’s room for you to enter the market and tempt buyers by creating a better listing.
Spend time on your listing and find out what customers want. What do they want to know about the product? What matters most to them? Use this information and make it clear in the listing.
Work Out Your Expenses
What you choose to sell will depend in part on how much you can afford to invest, especially when you’re getting started. So make sure you do the calculations.
Can you really afford to start selling a product? You might need a cheaper product to start with.
- Understand the fees, including eBay listing fees and subscription fees.
- Consider your packaging and shipping expenses, and remember that it’s cheaper to sell small and durable items.
- Factor in any third-party software you’re using to run your business.
- Don’t forget about eBay advertising costs.
Use this information to work out your total costs, and you can then use this to help determine how much you can invest.
There’s no right and wrong here, but it should simply be a consideration when you’re making a decision on which products to sell.
The most important thing of all is to keep on learning. Keep on experimenting and trying new things. Learn from your mistakes, and make changes based on what you discover.
Choosing what to sell on eBay is, in reality, a learning process. You might find a winner on the first go and choose a product that becomes a bestseller, but the chances are you won’t.
The important thing is to get started.
If you know you could make a good go of things on eBay, use the above tips to find your first product.
Get set up on eBay, learn how it works, and you’ll probably make a few mistakes along the way. The more time you spend on eBay, the more you’ll start to understand it better.
You’ll see other products doing well, and you can pick up a few tricks from other, more experienced sellers. It’s all part of the process.
The first product might not be a huge success, but it doesn’t matter. Keep learning, keep improving, and move on to the next idea.
Decide on a Price
Once you’ve chosen a product, the real adventure begins. One thing you need to decide on is the price.
You should already have a good idea of your costs, including eBay fees and shipping fees. Use this to work out a price to start selling your product. Use the competition as well. What price are they selling similar products for?
You could even launch a few products as auctions to see what kind of price people are willing to pay or check out listings that have closed recently for similar products.
All of these will help give you an idea of where to start. But there’s one thing to keep in mind when it comes to price: repricing.
Repricing is where you change the price of your product based on a set of rules. For example, you could reprice your product down when your competitors lower their prices to make your product more appealing.
This is something that happens on online marketplaces a lot, and not just on eBay.
On Amazon, for example, people use repricing software to help them win the Buy Box and get more sales. On eBay, you can use repricing software to help you win the Buy It Now Box.
It’s worth considering the price and how you’ll use repricing software even at this early stage. By developing a repricing strategy early on, you can give yourself an advantage from day one.
Selling on eBay can be a great way to run an eCommerce business compared to setting up your own online store and doing all your own marketing.
You can list products on eBay and take advantage of the huge number of customers due to the large volume of targeted traffic that the site gets.
But finding the right product is essential. Without a good product, your business will struggle. So take the above tips into consideration. There’s quite a lot to think about and take in, but it can make all the difference to your business.
It may take some time before you get a good idea or you find your first product that starts getting serious sales. Don’t get disheartened. Learn as you go, discover what works for you, and carve out your niche so you can start running a successful business on eBay.