Why You Should Never Start an Ebay Store

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If you want to build a profitable ecommerce business that stands the test of time, you need to register your own domain and start your own web site.

Most people who aren’t tech savvy often question their own abilities and end up relying on 3rd party marketplaces like Ebay to implement their website store for them.

Here’s why that’s a bad idea.

Why You Should Never Start an Ebay Store

Ebay Doesn’t Have Your Interests In Mind

Ebay, like most publicly traded companies, is primarily concerned with their own growth and stock price. They don’t care whether you are successful, nor do they care whether you provide a genuine service to the community.

They’ll do whatever it takes to demonstrate growth and make shareholders happy.

What this means is that you are always at their mercy. They can switch up the rules whenever they want and drastically affect your sales. They can also ban your sellers account at any time.

Over the years, Ebay has made dramatic changes that have put many sellers out of business. As a slave to their platform, you can never be complacent and they continue to raise prices to appease Wall Street.

Let’s take a quick peek at Ebay’s selling fees in the table below.

Basic fees for auction-style and fixed price listings
Insertion fee (per listing) Final value fee (per item)
Your first 50 listings
(per month)
Free 10% of the total amount of the sale
All additional listings over 50
(per month)
All your listings appropriate for and listed in the Musical Instruments & Gear > Guitars & Basses category Free 3.5% of the total amount of the sale

In addition to the final value fees listed above, Ebay also likes to nickel and dime you with listing fees as shown in the table below.

Upgrade Starting or Buy It Now price: under $150 Starting or Buy It Now price: $150 or more
1, 3, 5, 7, and 10-day duration 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10-day duration 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled
Scheduled Listing Free Free
Listing Designer $0.10 $0.30 $0.20 $0.60
Gallery Plus $0.35 $1.00 $0.70 $2.00
Subtitle $0.50 $1.50 $1.00 $3.00
Value Pack $0.65 $2.00 $1.30 $4.00
Bold $2.00 $4.00 $3.00 $6.00
International site visibility Auction-style listings (all durations) Fixed price listings (all durations)
Starting price Fee $0.50
$0.01 – $9.99 $0.10
$10.00 – $49.99 $0.20
$50 or more $0.40

As you can see, the listing fee table is fairly intricate and intentionally complicated so you don’t realize how much it costs to list an item.

Bottom line, if you open a store on Ebay, they will take between 10-11% percent of your gross sales right off the bat.

If you also take into account the fact that you have to use Paypal for your transactions, you end up paying Ebay about 11-14% of your total revenue.

In addition to this, you also have to pay a monthly store membership fee for the privilege of creating a web presence on a platform that you do not control.

For a long time now, Ebay’s growth has been stagnant. Do you really want to host your ecommerce business with a company that hasn’t grown or innovated for years?

In any case, here’s how much Ebay charges for store membership fees.

Note: The difference in plans comes down to how many listings you plan on having in your shop and whether you need dedicated customer support. Ebay shops also get a slight discount on the final value fees

Subscription fees
Store type Monthly subscription fee Yearly subscription fee
Basic $24.95 per month $19.95 per month
Premium $74.95 per month $59.95 per month
Anchor $349.95 per month $299.95 per month

As you can probably tell, Ebay’s listing and selling fees start to add up to a lot of money!

Ebay Stores Don’t Provide Design Flexibility

Unless you feel like paying hundreds of dollars a month, Ebay greatly limits what you can do with your storefront.

They try to bundle their stores with design tools to add value, but most or all of these tools are available on the web for free already thanks to companies like Google.

To give you an idea of how restrictive an Ebay store can be, the “Anchor” membership which costs $300 a month, allows you to build a handful of custom webpages. And the design of these pages is very canned.

Here’s a what a page looks like..

ebay store

In this day and age, $300/month is an egregious amount to be paying for a simple website builder. Meanwhile, you can build unlimited pages on your own website that you host yourself.

Ebay Shoppers are Inherently Cheap

When I shop on Ebay, I look for bargains. Especially since most of the stores on Ebay are mom and pop shops or individuals working out of their home, people generally expect to pay less for their merchandise versus a real store.

What this means is that you will rarely get top dollar for your items. Because you are limited by what Ebay allows you to do with your store design, the only way to differentiate yourself is to lower your prices which will cut into your margins.

In general, the Ebay marketplace is extremely competitive, cut throat and hard to break into.

You Can Not Build A Brand On Ebay

Because Ebay is a closed platform, you do not have access to your customer base nor can you sell to your customers outside of Ebay.

As a result, it’s extremely difficult to attract repeat business. After all, you can not collect emails and you are not allowed to contact customers after a sale has been made.

In other words, you have to constantly fight for new customers and you will never build a loyal customer base.

The other problem is that shoppers who buy on Ebay believe that they are buying from individuals or small business owners selling goods out of their garage.

As a result, it’s almost impossible to build a reputable brand. If you want to start a long term ecommerce business, then Ebay is the absolute wrong place to do it.

What Ebay Is Good For

Even though Ebay is not a good long term home for your ecommerce business, there are some benefits to selling on their platform.

First off, the Ebay marketplace is fairly large so there’s already a built in community of avid buyers to tap into. As a result, selling on Ebay is a great way to validate your product before you go all in.

By selling new items on Ebay first, you can quickly test the market to determine whether you should move forward with a bulk order.

Ebay is also a great place to liquidate your old junk or products that have been gathering dust in your warehouse.

To perform product research and validation on Ebay, I like to use a tool called Terapeak. Terapeak scrapes all of the completed listings on Ebay and tells you what products are hot.

Related: If you are interested in learning how to sell online, click here to take my FREE 6 day mini course. I will walk you through the process of finding a product to sell and how to make your first sales online.

Making Money Selling Online

In the long run, it always pays to own your own platform. After all, when you own your own business, you call all of the shots.

No one can raise prices on you.
No one can change their selling policies on you
No one can ban you from your own platform

The most compelling reason to start your own online store is that it allows you to own your customer base. After all, a customer who has purchased from you once is many times more likely to buy from you again.

You can gather emails. You can differentiate yourself from the competition with your own design. You can establish a brand.

The biggest hurdle most people have when building their own store is the fear of the unknown. But these days, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to build your own shopping cart.

How To Open Your Own Shop

For example, there are many shopping cart software packages already written for you. Here are some choices.

Whatever you decide, stay away from Ebay Stores. As far as I’m concerned, Ebay is only good for getting rid of unwanted items through their auctions.

Related: If you are interested in learning how to start your own online store, click here to take my FREE 6 day mini course. I will walk you through the process of finding a product to sell and how to make your first sales online.

Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?

If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's free and you'll receive weekly ecommerce tips and strategies!

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176 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Start an Ebay Store”

  1. Kat says:

    Wow you must be very uneducated in business. We will gross around 750k this year from eBay with net being about 52% we have grown by 400% in 4 years. eBay bring you a large amount of customers for a small fee, but with a website you will never generate the traffic eBay does. It’s also smart to put an affiliate link on your website to draw customers to your eBay store for extra sales. Re evaluate your inventory cost before bashing eBay

  2. Shay says:

    This is bad advice.
    While the goal is to be able to sell on your own website- getting the exposure and customers and trying to make it on search engines etc with all the completion. Then there is the factor of people not being sure if it safe to buy off you- you can’t get on Google Trusted stores unless you get 250 orders a month and someone starting out… the fees aren’t bad. Ebay advertises for you.
    Horrible advice.

  3. Randy Maiella says:

    Ebay is no longer seller friendly and their policies promote buyer fraud at the seller’s expense. They always side with fraudulent buyers over top rated sellers. Ebay has become a nightmare for sellers! Some of the comments on here are most likely from people affiliated somehow with eBay. Having your own website pays in the long run. Ebay has no regards for their sellers. That is why their stock is going nowhere. Never bite the hand that feeds you!

    1. Frankoliotis77 says:

      Im an Ebay seller or was one until recently and the profit margins are gone. I used to developed websites and driving traffic to your own website is like winning the lottery nowadays. Good luck with that. You are screwed either way IMHO. Its back to a sh#tty job for me.

    2. Tim Jaroch says:

      Ebay must be an absolute beast to sell on. Must be why their stock has grown by roughly 66% in the last years. This site is just bashing Ebay to sell their own product. Ebay has its flaws, but it has its positives that are still worthwhile. Don’t fall for the propaganda and do your own research.

  4. Chris Stevens says:


  5. Lola Apple says:

    This is very biased I sell on eBay with good profit margins. Your have to find the right products that sell and make sure you are taking a good percentage for yourself after fees and postage. It’s all about strategy. eBay has good rankings in search engines so this can do wonders for your brand. Just provide a good service and get good feedback under your business name. You can also have your own website too so you can direct traffic to both. It’s not a one size fits all and if you do your research eBay can make some good money so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it yourselves folks!

    1. Frankoliotis77 says:

      Some people can do well just like some people can become rich rock stars. Fot the regular joe not so much…

  6. Bearing King says:

    My website is on my invoice, on the return label on the package, and on my business card inside. You mean to say that my eBay buyer can’t read any of those and buy from me directly if they choose to?

  7. john says:

    Ebay is pricing themselves out of a great deal of business – funny they don’t see it. Such as all the new sites popping up like Etsy, Bonanza and there is Amazon of course too. Hey EBAY – lower your fees. You are charging too much and this is going to cost you big time in the long run.

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