eBay Sellers: Beware of Dropshipping

As a new member of Ebay, I tried various routes to make a profit. I started by going to the clearance sections at local stores, buying what I thought were good deals, and then listing them for sale on Ebay. I quickly found out that what seemed like a good deal to me must not seem so great to others: I never got a single bid.

Battered but not broken, I picked myself up from my Ebay failure and tried again. Garage sales were my next stop. I actually did make a very small profit going this route. I bought things cheap at local yard sales and listed them for sale. My spirits were buoyed by the few dollars profit I made after paying Ebay fees. It was also a great way to get some positive feedback, which is your reputation on Ebay, and very important.

Next I began tearing through my house and garage, searching for anything that might sell. I did find a set of dishes that sold for a lot, and this is how I made the most money. It was a great feeling to know that whatever my items sold for was completely profit. Unfortunately, my tap of sellable goods quickly ran dry. (My husband put a stop to the madness when I started rifling through his closet.)

Now I was back to square one. Garage sale items were making me only a few dollars, and I decided that I wanted to use Ebay to make some bigger income. I started researching, and found that dropshippers were touting their services as a way to do just that.

The idea behind dropshipping is simple: you start by finding a dropshipper that sells items for wholesale price. They have pictures and descriptions on their websites, which they allow you to use for your Ebay listings, and you set your price higher than theirs. Then when someone buys and pays you for the item, you simply go to the dropshipper’s website, buy it from them, and the difference is your profit. They even use your return address when they ship it to the customer, so that your buyer is never any wiser. Sounds genius, right?

It sounded great to me too. I spent hours researching, trying to find just the right dropshipper. When I found one, I went to Ebay and started listing. At first I was so excited by the variety of items that I was able to list for sale. I chose name-brand products and things that I would like to have. I marked the items up slightly, and waited for the money to start rolling in.

My listings have all ended, and I’m still waiting. I really did give dropshipping a fair try. I listed the items under ‘Buy it Now’, which means that your customer pays a set price and doesn’t have to wait for an auction to end. When that didn’t work, I tried listing items as auctions. Still no luck. I tried different types of products and relisted others at lower price, with only a marginal profit for myself. Overall, I have listed over 200 dropship items for sale. I have sold only three.

Keep in mind that it’s not free to list items on Ebay. Depending on the starting price and pictures you choose to list, it cost me between ten cents and three dollars for each item I listed. The items that I sold made barely enough to cover the fees that I was charged, leaving me with a grand profit of…nothing. If you take into account the hours that I spent researching and listing, dropshipping has actually left me in the red.

So, back to the garage sales I go. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never make any kind of sizable income on Ebay. I try to keep my head up, though, and focus on the bright side. It’s more fun than work, and I do make a little money. In fact, I’m already planning how I’ll spend my next profit. With my next ten sales, I think I’ll take my family out to dinner.

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