I sold on eBay for several months after a job layoff. It was one of my side hustles until I figured out what was next in terms of what I wanted to do.
Part of me was hoping it could turn into a full-time online business but there were many issues that we ran into that didn’t make it feasible.
In retrospect, I learned a lot from the experience. However, I’m also glad it didn’t work out because I’ve found much better ways to earn income online that I’ll share with you here.
What I Disliked About Selling on eBay
Initially, being an eBay seller was fun. We started out selling on a whim when we got some unwanted inventory from my family members cleaning out their closets.
Standing in line at the post office is for the birds. Once we had the shipping process down, selling became much faster and easier.
After we ran out of our initial inventory we began sourcing products from thrift stores. We learned that knick-knack type items did not sell well.
We thought we were choosing items that would fly off the shelves such as vintage Star Trek mugs, ceramics, etc.
Eventually, we came across brand new named brand men’s golf shirts and they sold fast. Then we began selling men’s clothing exclusively.
That did pretty well for a minute and then came the eBay and PayPal fees. All the profit we made in a month had a big chunk taken out of it for fees.
The Fees Add Up
I understand the fees. The service has to make money. They provide the built-in customer base and in turn, you pay for it in eBay fees.
There are insertion fees, final value fees (when an item sells), additional listing fees, and optional advanced listing upgrade fees.
Then there are the PayPal fees. The fees were adding up quick!
Maintaining Cashflow Was Difficult
I had just been laid off from a job so selling on eBay was just one of my side hustles.
It did bring in some income but maintaining a positive cash flow was difficult. When items didn’t sell, there was less money coming in.
But I still had to pay those darn fees so money was coming out of my other streams of income.
Selling on eBay is not the thing to do when you are already struggling financially.
You’re at the Mercy of Customer Reviews
When you use a third-party service to sell your items, you’re at the mercy of their rules.
Part of eBay’s rules is their customer reviews. We did our best to maintain excellent customer service.
Yet, there will always be customers that aren’t satisfied regardless of how much you try to help resolve their issue and will use negative feedback in retaliation.
How to Sell Online without eBay and without Buying Inventory
What? How is it possible to sell anything online without buying inventory? Well, unless you manufacture your own products, it may seem impossible.
The good news is that it is very possible and there are people all over the world that are doing this every day and earning a decent income from it.
This online business model is what is called dropshipping. Using the dropship model, you can sell almost anything you can think of without buying products up front.
Imagine selling watches online without investing in inventory.
Or how about selling hair and hair products which is a billion dollar industry?
Even better, you do not have to ship products to your customers. When a customer places an order from your store, you buy the product from your dropship supplier.
You also pass along your customer’s shipping details to your supplier who then ships the item directly to your customer for you.
The difference in price between what you charged your customer and what the supplier charged you is your profit.
It is all possible with dropshipping. The dropshipping model is simple:
- Locate dropshipping suppliers
- You open an eCommerce store compatible with dropshipping
- Promote your store using paid ads (Facebook, Instagram)
- Make sales and earn profits
How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers
In the past, locating reputable and reliable dropshipping suppliers was a long process. It involved a lot of trial and error.
Today, many dropshippers source products from AliExpress.
AliExpress is one of the largest online retailers in the world. Their inventory comes from merchants that are primarily based out of China.
They sell almost anything you can think of and often at very low prices with free shipping.
Some of the benefits of selling items from AliExpress include:
- 200,000 exporters
- Free shipping on most items
- Ships to over 200 countries worldwide
- Online shipping tracking
- Wide range of shipping methods
- Buyer protection system with full money back guarantee
A lot of eCommerce platforms have built apps and plugins that work exclusively with AliExpress to make importing and selling products out of your store a breeze.
Which eCommerce Platform to Use with AliExpress
One of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market is Shopify and the Oberlo app.
While it is a great platform, I wasn’t a fan of the recurring monthly fees or giving them the ability to close down my store at any time for any reason.
Therefore, I sought out a WordPress solution and thankfully, I discovered the AliDropship plugin for dropshipping.
It is an amazing piece of software that transforms a WordPress website into a full-featured dropshipping store that works with AliExpress.
There are no recurring fees to use the plugin and you retain 100% ownership of your store because it runs on WordPress.
The AliDropship plugin has some awesome automated features that really helps to streamline your store:
- Auto updates product information
- Pricing automation
- Fulfill orders automatically
- Auto order tracking
It also includes marketing features that you would have to pay extra for using other services:
- Discount coupons
- Product reviews
- SEO product tags
- Abandoned cart
- Email lists
Promoting Your Dropshipping Store to Make Sales
You may think that having eBay’s built-in customer base is better than having your own eCommerce store. Consider the following:
When I sold on eBay, many of my listings were not displayed highly in the search results. Many of the power sellers outranked most sellers.
Add in the competition from regular sellers, I was lucky to have sold much of anything at all.
At least with your own dropshipping store, when you pay for promotion you have more control of who sees your ads.
You can target the exact group of people that would be interested in what you are selling. That increases your chances of making a sale.
Once you have found some winning ads, you can repeat the process over and over for a steady stream of sales.
Rather than limiting your audience to only eBay, you can promote to the entire world using paid ads on various platforms.
Having your own dropshipping store is a much better option in the long run when it comes to having an online business.
You are not at the mercy of eBay’s policies, fees, and algorithm changes. You retain 100% ownership of your store and you can open multiple dropshipping stores in the future.
I hope that this post has enlightened you to an alternative to selling on eBay. What are your thoughts about dropshipping?
Leave your feedback in the comments below. I wish you all the best in your online business journey!