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Dropship: How to List Thousands of Items on eBay for Sale With One Click
Average $15 Profit Per Order Less Than 1 Minute Order Processing
I have just quit selling on eBay after 10 years. I was slow to realize that I am not a customer service type of person. For two months, I completely ignored emails coming from eBay. One night when I tried to run my inventory update program and found that my download from eBay has a size 0! I only then realized that my 2000 eBay listings have all been removed! My seller account was suspended when my feedback rating slipped all the way down to 96%. I did not bother to appeal because that was sort of what I wanted - to quit eBay selling.
With my experience, I might be able to offer some useful technical advice.
During the 10-years, I have actually focused on something different from selling - the technologies of automation. I was able to automate shipping label printing (even for most international orders). I was able to at one point adjust item prices everyday (by pennies) depending on sales results. I was able to upload/update thousands of listings using dropshippers' inventory. I had around 8000 items listed on eBay for sale at the peak.
However, eBay changed their search algorithm. My search rank dropped significantly based mostly on 2 factors: my feedback ratings, and mostly the amount of fees I was paying eBay (a devastating "negative feedback"). They always tell you the cliché such as how important keywords are. Obviously though, if I were eBay, I would want to put items that sell well on top of the search results.
So how do you easily list a lot of items for sale? (This works even if you are just an individual.)
eBay File Exchange - can be profitable if used correctly
The eBay File Exchange program is good for volume selling. It is perfect for dropshipping. Of course, you have to have the right suppliers first. I have tried 20-30 dropship suppliers during the years. Most of them are quite useless because of competition plus there are always countless naïve newbies who do not know how to calculate fees and sell for a loss. In the past few years though, I did successfully work with a few suppliers.
eBay File Exchange allows you to upload a text file (more specifically a CSV, comma delimited text file) which contains columns of information including item title, description, image URL, return policy, Paypal pay-to, handling time, ship-from zip, etc. Everything you see when you open an item page is included in the file. I cannot say their manual (or the tool itself) is well written. It takes a while to get it to work. For example, a tricky part is that you have to remove all the quotes from column headers and save the csv file as text (using a text editor instead of MS Excel or OpenOffice). PSPad is a good (free) text editor to use. By the way, OpenOffice is also free.
Combining the eBay File Exchange with eBay API, you can fully automate the entire process, if you use dropship. (Obviously if you have inventory, you will have to pack orders. For dropshipping, you only need to get on suppliers website and place orders.)
How I do it
- Get an eBay token for use with their API. Use the API to download your eBay listings.
- Download supplier's inventory (update). Compare items to add new items or remove items that are out of stock. (I have programs that do this. The program takes supplier's cost, calculates eBay/paypal fees, and marks up a certain percentage from the item costs from the supplier.)
- Upload the new CSV file through File Exchange which will remove out-of-stock items, and update inventory count.
It usually takes just minutes for the thousands of items to show/update on eBay.
On a side note, eBay prefers free shipping. (They put free-shipping items on top.) The most profitable sales will be multiple-unit orders, because essentially buyers are paying multiple shipping charges. (There is no combined-shipping discount because it's "free shipping!") I had a few sales that actually gave me 100% profit just a few months ago, when customers paid $2000 and half of it was my profit. It all comes down to the right suppliers.
A quick note about dropshipping: dropshipping is an easy way to start or expand your e-commerce even with limited capitals. You can avoid inventory risk and the hassle of customer service. Dropshippers ship items directly to your customers only after your customer pays you and you pay the dropshippers. See below a short video demonstration of how dropshipping works.
It is not hard to expand your eBay selling with eBay File Exchange, API, and some programming plus good, profitable dropshippers. This can all be done without inventory and by just one individual.