[FREE ebook] Amazing facts & surprising myths about ecommerce sales on eBay

What, where & when to sell on eBay? Do descriptions really matter? Will your own online store save you all the fees? What is often overlooked by eBay sellers trading internationally?

You will find answers to these and other questions in our FREE 50-page ebook!

eBay is an eCommerce brand name

… recognised around the globe. It is common knowledge that online sellers of all sizes can successfully grow their businesses on this platform. However, there are many details and important data e-merchants may not be aware of.

Valuable information doesn’t always come up at the click of a finger. In this ebook we want to bring to light a number of eBay-related online sales facts and myths you may have not come across before.

We want you to make the most of your selling experience on eBay and sell… big time, not only on your domestic market but across the globe! Download our FREE ebook Amazing facts & surprising myths about eBay. 


Facts related to eBay may surprise both buyers and sellers

eBay has surprised world buyers on many occasions. For instance, with the weirdest offerings, such as spouses, old gums and even entire towns. But it gets even more interesting… eBay listings have involved a cornflake in the shape of the state of Illinois, prosthetic human eyes, family members, Virgin Mary toast and a yacht.

It seems that there is nothing that cannot be sold on eBay. But fun facts aside…

  • What and where to sell on eBay? international ecommerce in five years
  • What is the best time to sell your items?
  • Do item descriptions really matter?
  • Will eBay selling limits limit your business growth?
  • Will Chinese sellers swamp the eBay marketplace, sweeping buyers away from you?

We will address these and other questions in this ebook. Read up on these surprising facts and check how it can help grow your online sales on eBay!

For a quick warm-up, a few eBay UK facts:

  • In 15 years, eBay has sold three billion items, worth £65bn.
  • 9pm is the peak time for tablet shopping.
  • 75% of items on eBay are sold at a fixed price.
  • UK businesses selling on eBay each export to an average of 39 countries.
  • Over one third of the UK’s adult population visit eBay every month.

eBay myths that should be dispelled for savvy online sellers

eBay myth #1: Descriptions don’t matter

There is a belief that an eBay listing description is of no big importance: it has been moved to a separate tab on eBay apps and the mobile eBay site. However, it’s a no brainer to figure out that in the era of smartphones and tablets, mobile is important for buyers.

Luckily, eBay is constantly working on improving the compatibility of the listing description for mobile devices, for instance by supporting JavaScript and YouTube videos. This clearly indicates that eBay believes that the listing description is important for mobile.

The bottom line: in some cases the description can make or break a sales deal.

How important descriptions are depends to a large extent on the product. If it’s a new iPhone, you may not need the description. After all, you know the brand and you’re probably familiar with the specs. On the other hand, if it’s an unbranded, used or unique product, a poor or non-existent description can be a real turn-off.

eBay myth #2: All eBay buyers care about are bargains

Out of the 157 million active users eBay has, for some price is the determining factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. Others may expect the best customer service or perhaps the best product quality. Sometimes it is shipping that is of crucial importance.

The bottom line: the buyer sea on eBay is full of plenty of fish that have different expectations.

sell internationally ebay webinterpretThis of course doesn’t mean that you should try to catch each and every fish. You cannot offer the cheapest price, the highest product quality, best customer service and speedy shipping all at the same time.

Focus on a particular group and win them with a quality of your offer that will give you a competitive advantage. If you can’t boast impeccable customer service, focus on what distinguishes your offer from others.

eBay myth #3: eBay favours the big sellers and brand names

eBay is a people-for-people enterprise so the small and medium-sized merchants are most welcome. The actions taken by eBay, e.g the way defect rates are counted, provide evidence for this.

The bottom line: eBay wants to see an overall increase in the number of buyers and conversions. This, in turn, will bring in more sales for sellers of all sizes.

eBay myth #4: eBay’s search engine can’t handle HTML

A few words about eBay’s current search engine, codenamed Cassini, which has been the subject of a lot of rumours. The myth has it that it can’t handle HTML or long descriptions.
Luckily, Cassini is like any modern search engine, capable of reading HTML.

The bottom line: if eBay’s search engine weren’t able to read HTML, it would have negatively affected eBay’s overall conversion rates and may have ended in a panic.

Even though Cassini can handle HTML and long descriptions, keep your listings short and to the point. Don’t include too many different elements, or it may be heavy on the eye and deter the buyer. Give the essential information only, valuable for the buyer.

Interested in checking YOUR international sales potential on top marketplaces? Book a FREE consultation with our eCommerce expert!

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eBay myth #5: eBay selling limits limit your business growth

About this one … in fact, sellers can at least double their limits every month. This means that within six months their selling limits can be 30 times higher than at the beginning. Bear in mind that you are eligible to ask for an increase on the 20th of every month.

The bottom line: it turns out that you can grow fast after all and eBay selling limits don’t have to stop you.

The role of the limits is to instil trust and establish you as a trustworthy seller. Otherwise, anyone could list a yacht for sale, sell it for 10 million dollars and escape to Hawaii. Or any place of their choice. eBay wants to create a safe marketplace environment, hence limits are in place.

So how to grow quickly? Take care of customer satisfaction. Happy customers means happy eBay. Happy eBay will raise your limits, making YOU happy.

eBay online sales

eBay myth #6: My own webstore will save me all the fees

Of course setting up your own store is absolutely the right way to go long-term.

All the same, if …

  • …you open your store today, you may have to wait at least 6 months until you get any decent traffic to your website.
  • … you start listing on eBay today, you can generate some good sales within hours or days.

After all, this is what you pay eBay for: their traffic and marketing efforts to get people interested in your offers. eBay fees are the equivalent of paid marketing used to promote your online store.

With your own online shop, you may want to pay Google for every visitor to your own store. It is a wise thing to do if you want people to find your store and products.

But what’s great about selling on eBay? The good news is that you don’t pay eBay for visitors. Instead, you pay final value fees when somebody purchases your item. You can spend loads of money on Google AdWords without a single visitor buying your item, which will never be the case with eBay.

The bottom line is: your listing fees on eBay seem insignificant if you compare them to other channels. eBay makes sure that you get a return on your investment.

To read about Myth #7  & #8 and much more, download our FREE ebook!

International sales on eBay: top questions for online sellers

So we’ve gone through some eBay-related myths. Now it’s time for 6 eBay-related questions frequently asked by online sellers, especially those selling or thinking of selling internationally.

eBay top question #1: What and where sells best?

According to Webinterpret data based on 20,000 online sellers trading their products on top marketplaces in 2015, the three top-selling categories are car parts, fashion and home & garden appliances. There is a whole set of data regarding this topic but in a nutshell…

… European sellers do well trading car parts in Europe, home & garden is a popular category in the UK and fashion is popular … everywhere, especially at the Carnival season when the sales of accessories go up. German international online sellers do well in the UK, Italy and France. UK sellers, in turn, are successful in Germany, the USA and France.

countries where british online sellers sell


countries where german online sellers sell

eBay top question #2: What time are sellers most likely to sell their items?

The number of online transactions peaks at 9pm with almost 7% of transactions made at this time. Of course, it depends on the time zone: European 9pm can be 9am in Australia and 2pm in America. So if you sell in the UK, your time zone selling peak time is not the same as Down Under or across the Atlantic.

eBay top question #3: Is there a perfect time of the year for selling products from a particular category?

Yes, there are patterns that can be observed. For instance, if you offer car parts and want to maximise your sales figures, it matters when you do it: a hot time would be in January, March, May and June.

By the way, car parts seem a very good choice as they are popular among online buyers. But they also form a category that is complex, especially if you sell car parts in different countries. You can expect different brand names, for instance Vauxhall is the British counterpart of Opel in Germany. You can also expect cross-country differences as to the actual features of car parts.

This is what we have addressed at Webinterpret, offering full support for the car parts compatibility list feature. This has resulted in 40% better sales for our sellers.

webinterpret better online saleseBay top question #4: What is often overlooked by eBay sellers trading abroad?

One of the factors often overlooked or misinterpreted by many international e-tailers is seasonality. Many of them are not aware of local events driving sales figures. What is also interesting is the fact that in Cross Border Trade we observe different seasonality trends than on domestic markets. The reason is as follows: people are afraid of longer shipping times.

Take Christmas on eBay as an example: very often people wait with their purchases till the last few days before Christmas. If they were to buy last-minute items from abroad, longer shipping times for international listings could cause the gift-buyer an awful lot of stress.

This explains why international sales figures at Christmas won’t be as profitable as on the domestic market: buyers may feel safer ordering from a local seller.

What to do in this situation? Don’t focus on Christmas only, but try to plan your actions wisely throughout the whole year. By focusing on less known local selling peaks on different markets, you can earn internationally even more than during the Christmas season. To achieve that, you need to understand how seasonality works internationally.

For example, January and February is the carnival season in Germany and Italy. This is when and where you can sell big amounts of fancy dress costumes. May and July are a peak selling time in the fashion category in Germany and Australia. January, March and May peak in car parts sales in Germany and the UK.

Interested in the examples of when ‘there’s a catch’ when it comes to regulations on international eBay sites? Want to know if eBay sellers need product identifiers? You will find more information in Amazing facts & surprising myths about eBay!

In a nutshell

eBay is a powerful platform for online sellers of all sizes. This piece of information is obvious, but there are many less known eBay-related facts which are helpful to know and myths to be dispelled.

Remember not to neglect descriptions and treat buyers as if they were after bargains only. Keep in mind that eBay likes to empower sellers of all sizes, not only big players. Their business growth is in eBay’s best interest. Finally, if you’re an eBay seller, the potential doesn’t end on your domestic market.

There are many ways you can expand your business on eBay and the possibility to sell internationally has turned out to be a blessing for thousands of online sellers.

If you know where and when to sell specific items and take seasonality patterns into account, you’re already setting yourself up for success.

For more eBay-related facts, myths and online sales data, download our FREE 50-page ebook! 

ebay facts myths online sales 150x150

Are you selling your products on eBay? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!

Further reading

Facts most online sellers didn’t know about eBay: interview with A. Figas

Amazon Private Label: Myths and Facts

International Ecommerce: My Top Ten Myths

Selling on eBay: Myths and Facts

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