ebay for Business: what you need to keep in mind as a seller

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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eBay for Business: Do you need a stand at the virtual flea market?

If you are doing business on eBay you need to create a commercial seller account. This has the descriptive name eBay for Business.

Selling on eBay is - like e-commerce in general - a challenging undertaking. It requires skill, dedication and a good dose of insider knowledge to develop your online store into a respectable business.

You can find out how to get started in this blog.

eBay for Business: When do you need a business account?

If you are a eBay-seller account, you have two options to choose from: personal or commercial account.

The establishment of the eBay-for-Business-account is free of charge and in accordance with the eBay-regulations are mandatory if you:

  • want to sell more frequently and in larger quantities
  • sell items that you have produced yourself
  • Products on eBay acquire in order to resell them
  • you are already outside of eBay are traveling with a business

Important: If you are considered an entrepreneur under the German Value Added Tax Act (UstG), you must also register with eBay register as a commercial trader.

You are considered an entrepreneur if your turnover exceeds 17,500 euros per calendar year.

This has always been the case, but has been more clearly regulated since January 1, 2019. This year, the "Act to Avoid VAT Losses when Trading Goods on the Internet and to Amend Other Tax Regulations" (in particular Sections 22f and 25e of the German VAT Act) came into force.

From a legal perspective, the general rule is: business is business, whether online or offline. Therefore, even with eBay Business Professional marketing and sales are not the only important factors for success. There are also numerous legal regulations to observe.

Advantages of eBay Business for e-commerce merchants

With the obligations for commercial suppliers come eBay also has some advantages. These include, for example, more favorable conditions for sales commissions.

In addition eBay is committed to not leaving you alone as a business newcomer. There are many information and training opportunities to help you get started and continuously develop your eBay Business are to be facilitated. These include:

  • The eBay-Podcast on topics such as e-commerce law, personal branding or advertising with eBay
  • The eBay high-flyera free consulting service for ambitious retailers
  • The YouTube-channel with tips, explanatory videos and news especially for e-commerce entrepreneurs
  • The eBayCommunitywhere you can exchange ideas with other dealers
  • The eBayLegal portal with valuable tips for sellers on business registration, VAT, general terms and conditions (GTC) and more

eBay for Business or your own online store?

But what is actually "better" in the end? An own store or a stand at eBay for Business? In addition to support in the form of information, there are of course other weighty arguments in favor of eBay Business (or for other Marketplaces like Amazon Business) speak:

  • You immediately get a potentially huge reach
  • The entire IT infrastructure is already built and ready for you to use
  • Various marketing solutions can be used for comparatively small budgets

Of course, these advantages of marketplaces are always offset by some disadvantages:

  • Building your brand: Here you have a free hand with your own store website. With a marketplace, you often even have to decide on details such as available colors, fonts or layouts. However eBay for Business more flexible here than, for example Amazon.
  • Customer Experience: Here too, having your own online store gives you much more control over the customer experience with your brand, from product searches to returns processing.
  • Crisis security: Although it is unlikely, it is not impossible: if for some reason eBay for Business tomorrow or if negative headlines suddenly ruin the image of the platform, your business will no longer exist.

These are some of the most important points to consider when weighing up the options. The answer to the question of which model is better for you can only ever be individual.

Especially in the beginning, a marketplace like eBay Business will bring you advantages and help you get out of the starting blocks with a little extra speed. In many cases, you will be better off with your own store in the long run - especially with regard to your positioning, branding and customer loyalty.

What are eBay stores?

The registration for a commercial eBay-for-Business-account is simple and free of charge. You can already sell with it, but the functions are relatively basic. As soon as your trading volume increases somewhat, it is worth taking a look at the eBay stores. A store is your own store site at eBay and offers you additional features.

There are four variants of the eBay stores: Base, Top, Premium and Platinum. The table shows you the most important differences and the monthly costs:

Store categoryFeatures (included in the price)Costs for monthly subscription
BaseUp to 400 fixed-price offers and 40 auctions per monthUse of eBay marketing tools incl. 50 special promotions per dayCaution protection Basic and data protection 360+ from Trusted ShopsEUR 39.95 (discount for annual payment)
Top (all from Basis, plus:)Up to 2,500 fixed-price offers and 100 auctions per month1,000 special offers per dayUse Terapeak Insights to procure goodsEUR 79.95 (discount for annual payment)
Premium (all from Top, plus:)Unlimited fixed-price offers, 250 auctions per monthDiscounted fee for using the "Enterprise Package" from Trusted ShopsAdvertise with crossed-out pricesEUR 299.95 (discount for annual payment)
Platinum (all from Premium, plus:)10 % discount on the sales commissionMore information on discount calculationFree support from an account manager and eBay ConciergeAccess to the Wow! offers programEUR 4,999.95

6 Dos and Don'ts for eBay for Business

The adjusting screws that eBay Business available to you for successful and legally compliant selling can be a little overwhelming, especially at the beginning, despite the many useful tools and advice sections. So here are six basic tips that will help you in any case:

  1. Start small: You don't have to invest large sums in your inventory right away. Instead, pick a few items to sell and gain experience taking photos, writing offers, testing pricing options and dealing with buyers. Before you scale further, you should master e-commerce basics such as order processing, returns processing, etc. And don't forget: Even if you eBay Business only on the side, you should dedicate time to the project every day if you want to see results.
  2. Amateur photos are not enough: In e-commerce, you need good product photos, otherwise you won't get any sales. Use well-lit, high-resolution photos on a plain background that show the products from different angles. And use the eBay-image service tool so that the photos are displayed correctly on different screens.
  3. The more details, the betterA picture may say more than 1,000 words, but detailed product descriptions can work real sale magic. Choose an item category first and then use keywords for the title and description of your offer. In other words, optimize everything for eBay Best Matchthe platform's search engine.
  4. Use the eBaySales center: With this free tool, you can access a dashboard and see how your listings are performing, quickly add new items and view the status of orders and returns. This data will help you to eBay-for-Business-account and achieve better results.
  5. Connect eBay for Business with your own store: If you already have one, you should definitely link your store to your eBay-for-Business-account. This way you can send traffic from eBay redirect to your own website - which increases the chance of retaining customers for your brand. Keep in mind that many e-commerce platforms like Shopify via a free eBay-integration.
  6. eBay for Business is not a legal vacuum: Last but not least, you should be aware that for eBay The same tax and commercial law rules apply as everywhere else. So find out which regulations you have to comply with. Read the information on the eBayLegal portal and, if in doubt, speak to an experienced law firm and tax advisor.

Conclusion: When is eBay for Business worthwhile?

Whether you decide to start your own online store when entering the world of e-commerce or eBay Business depends entirely on your individual situation. Do you want to sell full-time or do you want to do it as a side hustle? Will you sell individualized products or mass-produced goods? How much marketing, sales and IT expertise do you have?

For newcomers in particular, the use of eBay for Business can be a good starting point. Much of what you need for online trading is already available there. You can gain experience and, unlike other platforms, with eBay also gives you more opportunities to individualize your online presence and strengthen your own brand.

If you are clever, you will gradually attract interested parties from the eBay- over to your own online store.

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