Not if you follow these essential tips!
Many eBay sellers are what's known as "accidental sellers" -- that is, they didn't start out planning to run a full-fledged eBay business, or to make a lot of money selling on eBay. They just started out selling a few things they had at home, just to make a little extra money here and there.
At some point, however, these sellers realized that what they were doing had potential, that they could actually make a living selling products on eBay. So they began to change their entire mindset about eBay, and along with that, most of the rest of their eBay approach had to change as well.
Whereas most of the products they had sold previously had been their own unwanted items, naturally there's a limit to this type of inventory. Pretty soon they'll run out of items at home they could list for sale on eBay, and will have to look elsewhere for products to sell.
Upon reaching this point, each seller has to make a decision about how they're going to obtain products to sell in the future. And in many cases, the decision they make is based primarily on money. Many sellers who have extra money to invest in products up front buy large lots of items from wholesalers or liquidators, then re-package them and sell them on eBay as individual items.
But what happens when a seller isn't in a financial position to make an upfront investment like this? Well, in these cases, drop shipping is one of the best options to pursue.
It's every seller's dream...
Drop shipping allows you to list products for sale on eBay that you don't own or physically possess, and you don't have to pay for them until after you've sold them on eBay and the buyer has already paid you for the item. It's a great way to launch an online business with little to no upfront expense.
But in order to sucessfully live the drop shipping dream on eBay, there are several unique issues you need to consider, and those are the issues I'll be addressing here. Keep in mind, however, that these are not tips for selling your first few items on eBay, just for selling drop ship items. In that sense, it pre-supposes that you've already sold a few items from home, or items you've purchased beforehand:
1. Images - In most cases, you'll obtain your product images by copying them from the drop shipper's website, and you'll either save them to your computer initially, or if you prefer, you can just use the website URL address for each image. Most sellers find it easier to save the pictures to their computers, then upload them from their computers to the eBay selling form, just like you might have done with previous listings you've submitted, in which you physically possessed the product you were listing.
Go beyond the images your supplier offers you
One difficulty regarding drop ship images that comes up quite frequently is that oftentimes, there's only one image provided for the product, usually a manufacturer's stock photo, so if the picture doesn't sufficiently demonstrate what the item looks like or doesn't provide enough detail, you may need to look elsewhere to try and obtain additional photos of the product. Be careful, though, that you don't take images from the manufacturer's website or from other eBay listings, as both of those activities would constitute a copyright violation. Instead, try looking on websites like Google Images (free) or iStockphoto.com (images cost a small fee).
2. Title - The product name listed on the drop shipper's website may be very short and general. If so, don't just copy and paste it into the title field in the eBay selling form and leave it as is. Brainstorm additional keywords you can include in the title that also describe the product and that will increase its likelihood of showing up in as many different keyword searches as possible. Here's an example of a good listing title:
3. Pricing - Many drop shippers will provide a suggested retail price, or MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price), to go with the product, but it's extremely unlikely that you'll be able to sell the item for that much on eBay, so it's better to just ignore those "suggested prices" and stick with what your research indicates this product has been selling for on eBay lately.
Be careful, too, because some drop shippers will require you to charge a minimum price for a certain product (known as a MAP - Minimum Advertised Price), and this price, again, will almost always be above what you can expect to get for the item on eBay, so as a rule, I recommend that you avoid selling MAP products and therefore, avoid using any drop shippers who only offer MAP products.
4. Description - Just as with product names/titles, most of the descriptions provided for products on your drop shippers' websites will be fairly short and bland, usually just a short list of product features or specifications. When you're selling dropship products on a website, you can usually get away with using these short descriptions, but on eBay, it's a completely different story. Your item descriptions should be fairly lengthy, albeit clear and well-organized, with lots of spacing between text sections, so you'll want to write quite a bit more text to go with what the drop shipper provides on their website. This is why it's usually better to sell products with which you're familiar.
Simple ways to create enticing descriptions
If you rack your brain and you just can't think of anything else to say about the product, you may want to visit the manufacturer's website for additional details, or even get some information from other eBay listings, but if you do this, be very, very careful. Similar to what I indicated previously regarding images, DO NOT USE SOMEONE ELSE'S TEXT WORD FOR WORD, other than the description on the drop shipper's website, and even then, it's still a good idea to rewrite the given text and make it more interesting and original.
Original text is considered copyrighted material, and both manufacturers as well as other eBay sellers can get your listings removed by Trust and Safety for using their text word for word. It doesn't mean you can't use the text at all, but just be careful to reorganize and/or re-format it, as well as use synonyms for as many words as you can, and rewrite any statements that sound like creative, original statements instead of simple product specifications. You can keep a tab/window open to a website like Thesaurus.com to obtain synonyms for the words in the text and thereby, be able to rewrite most of the text yourself.
5. Shipping - Obviously, since the drop shipper will be sending the product directly to the buyer, you'll obtain all of the shipping information directly from the drop shipper, usually from the shipping information posted on the drop shipper's website. Before deciding to list the item, you should already have checked the drop shipper's shipping costs for this particular product and made sure they are competitive with what other eBay sellers charge to ship that item, or it could have a huge negative impact on your sales.
Along with this, check with the drop shipper to find out if he charges sales tax, and if so, to which states, so you can include that in your listing. If the drop shipper uses USPS (U.S. Postal Service) or UPS to ship, you can select the exact shipping method from the dropdown menu on the eBay selling form, but if the seller uses any other method, such as FedEx, DHL, etc., you'll want to select "Standard Flat Rate Shipping" or "Expedited Flat Rate Shipping" from the dropdown menu in the eBay selling form, but then be sure to specify exactly what shipping methods are available within your item description.
6. Policies - When it comes to specifying policy information, which you should absolutely do in your item description as well as in your payment/checkout instructions, return policy information, etc., keep in mind that some of the applicable policies will be your policies, and some will be the drop shipper's policies. As far as contact, obviously, potential buyers will contact you, and buyers will also be paying you, not the drop shipper, so you'll put in your own payment information, i.e. your PayPal email address.
But remember that the shipping and return policies will be up to the drop shipper. Therefore, make sure you indicate exactly what those policies are, and make sure that they don't conflict with any eBay policies, such as the fact that eBay won't allow you to say in your listings that a restocking fee is charged if a buyer returns the item.
It's a good idea to mention in your listings that it's imperative that the buyer contacts you right away if he wishes to return the item, so you can provide him with the complete instructions, which may then include any applicable restocking fee. Lastly, don't mention in your listing (or anywhere else!) that you're drop shipping. Don't reveal to anyone that you don't have the item in your possession.
If a buyer specifically asks you that in an email, you can answer him truthfully, but don't advertise it. Even though drop shipping is completely reputable and 100% legitimate, in the past, there have been eBay sellers who have defrauded buyers by claiming that the items were located elsewhere and would be shipped directly from someone else at some warehouse, and have thus then feigned ignorance and innocence when buyers claimed they didn't receive the items. So please be discreet about the fact that you're drop shipping, mostly for the sake of appearances.
eBay User ID: the auctionguru
eBay PowerSeller and Top-Rated Seller
Former eBay Top Seller Account Manager
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