The Ultimate Guide to Selling on eBay in Canada

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 04 Dec 2022

If you’re looking for new ways to make money online, selling on eBay is one of your best options. Initially known as a place to sell used products, eBay has become one of the most important names in the e-commerce business, being a competitor to companies such as Amazon or Walmart.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to sell products on eBay – including electronics, books, and jewelry. You will find out how to start selling on eBay step by step, how to promote your products, and how to ship them, among others.

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Create an account

The first step in starting your side hustle adventure on eBay is to create a seller account. To do so, go to Create an Account page and provide the required information. The first thing you must do on the page is to choose between a personal and a business account. eBay recommends creating a business account if you have a registered business, are a nonprofit organization, or regularly sell many goods.

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume you choose to create a Business account. You will need to provide an email or your Gmail/Facebook/Apple login credentials and your business name. Next, you will be asked to give details about your business, such as your business registration number and business phone number.

You can choose to get paid in Canadian or US dollars

The next steps in your registration process are to add a primary contact, select the payout currency, add a bank account, and confirm your details. If all the steps are completed successfully, you will then be able to start selling.

Decide what products to sell

If you already know what you want to sell, you can move to the next step. Finding profitable products to sell can be an exhausting task, as you can virtually find anything on eBay, and there will likely be many other sellers offering products that are similar or even identical to yours.

Demand, competition, and profitability are the main variables to consider when selecting a product or group of products to sell. As you might suspect, it is harder to sell products in low demand or that many other sellers also offer.

You might also know that the higher the competition, the more difficult it is to price your products competitively while still making a profit. Making a profit as a new seller can be especially challenging, as sellers with a lot of positive feedback can set higher prices while still making enough sales.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can find products in high demand which provide an acceptable profit margin, given demand and competition.

Find out whether a product is in high demand

You do not need access to complex analytics to determine whether a product is in high demand, although such tools make things easier when selling many products. To appreciate whether a product is in high demand or not, you need to determine its sell-through rate, which is the number of sold listings versus the number of active listings for a given product represented as a percentage.

As you might have figured out, a product with a high sell-through rate is a product that is in high demand. To find a product with a relatively high sell-through rate (say 50%), search for a product by entering its name on the homepage’s search box.

For example, assume you want to sell an Acer 11.6″ Convertible Laptop. Enter this name in the search box, and you should see the following results:

Here you can see that the search request has returned 166 results. Next, go to the filter menu on the left and select “Completed Items” and “Sold Items.” By doing so, you will be left with a list of products that customers have purchased and the date of each sale. In this example, eBay’s search engine retrieved 16 results, as shown below.

Calculating product demand when deciding what to sell on eBay

To calculate the product’s sell-through rate, divide 16 (the number of results in the Sold and Completed listings) by 166 (the active listings). The result of the division is 0.09, which means the product’s sell-through rate is 9%. This is a very low sell-through rate, which suggests that the product is not in high demand.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind before concluding that Acer 11.6″ Convertible is not a good product to sell. First, when entering a specific product in certain categories, eBay will often display results that do not strictly correspond to your search query.

In this example, along with several Acer 11.6 Convertible listings, eBay also showed other versions of Acer, such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 11.6″. You can always refine your search by adding additional filters.

Second, when people search for a product online, they may use more generic search queries, such as 11.6″ convertibles. As such, you may end up selling more products than you would have expected by blindly following the strategy above.


Another way to determine whether a product is in high demand is through a market analysis tool called Terapeak. This eBay service makes use of eBay’s supply, demand, and pricing data to help you decide what to sell, when, and at what price. Terapeak Product Research is free to all sellers, while other capabilities such as Terapeak Sourcing Insights, are only free for eBay Store subscribers.

If you have just started your business on eBay, you may want to start using only Terapeak Product research and consider additional premium capabilities once you make constant sales.

Find the sweet spot between demand and competition

Generally speaking, there will be more people and companies selling products in high demand. As such, it is not easy to find the sweet spot between demand and competition, especially on platforms that attract many sellers, like eBay.

One good thing about eBay is that you can create unique listings for each of your products, being able to use the combination of images and descriptions that you want. As such, even if you sell products that are being sold by thousands of other sellers, you still have a chance to get noticed by providing better pictures and descriptions than your competition.

Keywords are key for selling on eBay

Regarding product descriptions, it is crucial that you pay attention to keywords; otherwise, your products might end up at the bottom of the search results. For example, your product titles should contain keywords that many people search for and that are relevant to the product’s characteristics.

When you’re just starting selling, you may want to avoid paying for keyword research tools and simply use some of eBay’s features to find keywords. For example, if go to eBay’s Security Center page and type a word in the search box, you will get search suggestions. Those suggestions are based on the search queries people enter when searching for the same product or similar products.

For example, let’s say you want to sell a pair of white sneakers. If you type “white sneakers” in the search box, you will get the following

If, let’s say, you have sneakers size 6, you may want to use these keywords in your product’s title and description.

Determine a product’s price and profit margin

When you start selling new products, you might need to adjust the price gradually to find the right balance between sales and profitability. A high price will often mean fewer sales, while a low price could mean more sales with a low-profit margin or no profit at all, if you don’t do the math right.

New sellers do not have any feedback; this means they have a lower chance of selling their products compared to well-established sellers that have accumulated mostly positive feedback from past customers. For this reason, it’s best to start with the lowest prices that still give you a profit margin and gradually increase the value of your items as you accumulate selling data.

To find a reasonable price for your products, search for similar or identical products on eBay to see how other sellers are pricing their products. Make sure to use appropriate filters in your search. For example, if selling a used product, you do not want to inspect the prices of new items.

Besides considering demand and competition when choosing a price, you must also consider your costs, which may include product, shipping, and advertising costs. You also need to be aware of eBay’s seller fees, which consist of an insertion fee when you create a listing and a final value fee when an item sells.

Insertion fees

The insertion fee will vary according to the item’s price, format, product category, optional listing upgrades, and seller performance. Each month you will get up to 250 zero insertion fee listings, more if you subscribe to one of eBay’s store packages.

Insertion fees are not refundable, even if your items don’t sell. You will be charged both per listing and category, meaning that when you list an item in two categories, you will also pay an insertion fee for the additional category. You will also be charged when you relist your item, and when you create duplicate auction-style listings for the same items.

Value fee

Each time you make a sale, you are charged one final value fee, which corresponds to a percentage of the total amount of sale + $0.30 per order. The total amount of sale includes handling charges, shipping services, sales tax, item price, and any other applicable fees.

Sellers that offer international shipping or 1-day shipping along with free shipping or cheaper shipping options are charged based on the cheapest domestic option they offer. If a seller only provides international or 1-day shipping, they are charged based on the shipping option selected by the buyer.

The table below provides additional details about eBay’s insertion and final value fees.

Product Category Insertion fee Final Value Fee
Most categories 250 free listings per month; then, $0.30 per listing

12.9% on total amount if the total cost is $7,500 or less 

2.35% on the portion of the sale if the cost is over $7,500

Coins & Paper Money > Billion

12.9% on total amount if the total cost is $7,500 or less 

7% on the portion of the sale if the cost is over $7,500

Art >Art NFTs> Emerging NFTs/ Non-Sport Trading Card NFTs 

Movies & TV>Movie NFTs Music>Music NFTs 

Sports Mem, Cards & Fan Shop>Sports Trading Cards >Sport Trading Card NFTs 

Toys & Hobbies > Collectible Card Games > CCG NFTs

5% on total amount of the sale

Heavy Equipment Parts & Attachments > Heavy Equipment 

Printing & Graphic Arts > Commercial Printing Presses 

Restaurant & Food Service > Food Trucks, Trailers & Carts


3% on total amount if the total cost is $$15,000 or less 

0.5% on the portion of the sale if the cost is over $15,000

Musical Instruments & Gear > Guitars & Basses Free

6% on total amount if the total cost is $7,500 or less 

2.35% on the portion of the sale if the cost is over $7,500

Men > Men’s Shoes > Athletic Shoes 

Women > Women’s Shoes > Athletic Shoes

Free if price is $100 or more

8% if total amount of the sale is $100 or more; no $0.30 charge 

12.9% if total amount of the sale is less than $100

Find how to source products and how to ship them

If you have decided to sell products you own, you only need to determine how to ship them. If you don’t yet have any products to sell but know what you want to sell, your next step is to decide where to source products.

For example, you could sell your own brand products. Alternatively, you could buy and resell items from places such as garage sales, and/or thrift stores.

A term well-known by many in the eBay community is arbitrage, which means buying low in one area and selling higher in another area. Generally speaking, arbitrage work better for people who are familiarized with certain product categories.

Unless you decide to go for a dropshipping business model, where the product’s supplier also ships the product, you will need to find a shipping service provider. In Canada, your options include DHL, UPS, FedEx, and Canada Post, among others.

These shipping companies will often include packaging, bundling, and labeling services and also offer international shipping services. When choosing a provider, you may want to take into account that couriers will often not operate in isolated areas and will subcontract deliveries to others, such as Canada Post.

List your products

If you have already prepared the photos, title, and product description for your item, listing a product on eBay should not take more than a few minutes. All you need to do is add a product title, photos (recommended), specify the physical details of the item and additional product data if it exists, choose whether to use a fixed price format or auction, and set a price.

The fields you must fill when listing a product will vary depending on the item’s selected category. For instance, you might need to specify size, type, or brand. eBay recommends providing as much information as possible about a product. By doing so, your products will more likely get maximum visibility on eBay and Google Shopping.

When selling branded products, you will likely find that your items have product identifiers. Such identifiers include:

  • Brand name
  • Universal Purchase Code (UPC
  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

If you have any of these codes, specify them when listing a product.

Set the right return policy

You also need to select the shipping options available to the buyer and a return policy. Before doing so, ensure you know how you will ship your products.

A 30-day or 60-day free return policy will likely increase the number of products sold. On the contrary, a no returns policy might damage your selling prospects. That being said, make sure you can meet the specified return policy and don’t make guarantees you cannot keep, as this will damage your reputation.

eBay’s basic listing tool will provide all the necessary features to start selling. If you need more advanced listing capabilities, you can activate additional options. To do so, select “Change listing preferences” at the top of the listing form, check “Enable more options”, click “Save” and select “More Options”.

Get ready for your first customers

Once your list goes live, you are ready to get your first customers. Here are a few pieces of advice on handling your first days as an eBay seller.

Promote your products

If you have just started your eBay business, it is unlikely you will see a considerable volume of sales from day one. In fact, a long time may pass until you make your first sale. However, you can increase your chances of fast sales by using several marketing strategies.

For example, you can promote your eBay lists directly from the platform. At the bottom of the listing summary page is a section called “Sell it faster”, which allows you to place your listing on the top of eBay search results.

If you select this option, eBay will request you to set your ad rate, expressed as the percentage of an item’s final price that you’ll pay to eBay. You can’t access promoted listings without being an above standard of top rated seller and having had recent sales activity.

In addition to the standard promotion package, eBay also has a Promoted Listings Express program, where you will pay an upfront flat fee to boost visibility. The cost for advertising is based on the item category and the length of the auction. This package is also available to above standard or top rated sellers with recent sales activity.

A more recent marketing program is Promoted Listing Advanced. Above standard or top rated sellers with recent sale activity can use this marketing strategy to target the top of search results. Unlike other packages, here users have advanced controls, such as selecting keywords, budgeting, and different bidding controls.

Make sure you are ready to ship your products whenever needed

Once you have made a sale, you need to purchase a shipping label, provide tracking details, and ship the item. This is, of course, not the case if you are dropshipping. To purchase a shipping label on eBay, you need to specify the dimension and weight of the package.

You can either buy envelopes/shipping boxes or work with a shipping service provider that handles the packaging process. The exact materials you will need to pack your items will depend on what you are selling, and it’s essential to ensure that the package provides enough protection to avoid item damage.

eBay feature that can help your business growth

Now that you know the key steps to starting selling on eBay, here is a brief introduction to some of the most important features eBay offers for its sellers.

eBay Stores

Sellers with a linked chequing account have the option to open an eBay store. Doing so gives them access to more free listings per month, discounted fees, and additional tools to promote and manage their business.

At the present time, eBay offers three subscription options for stores that do not lock you into a yearly plan: Basic ($24.95/month), Premium ($59.95/month), and Anchor ($299.95/month). If you want to lock into a yearly plane, the prices change to: Basic ($19.95/month), Premium ($74.95/month), and Anchor ($345.95/month)

Each package has its own discounts on insertion and final value fees, fee structure, and free listing numbers.  

To open an eBay store, go to Account, select “Subscriptions”, click “Choose a Store”, select the store type and the subscription term, enter a store name, and select “Submit order”. eBay recommends selecting a store name that will make buyers know what you are selling.

Seller Hub

From Seller Hub, you can manage your entire eBay business from one location. For example, you can track sales over specified periods, view service metrics, and manage upcoming tasks. You can also use Seller Hub to list single products and variations, add photos as you edit your products, and edit live listings.

The metrics provided by Seller Hub include daily sales trends, selling costs and fees, monthly sales, page views, buyer traffic, and sales by country. Finally, Seller Hub can also be used to create promotions and manage other marketing activities such as launching Promoted Listings Standard.

Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro

Selling Manager is a free resource that gives access to several reporting data about sales, order histories, and other financial data that can be used to make decisions. Today, you can find all Selling Manager features in the Seller Hub.

Medium-sized sellers and above may want to pay for additional functionality. With eBay Selling Manager Pro, sellers gain additional reporting, automation, and inventory management features. You can purchase Selling Manage Pro in Seller Hub for $15.99 if you are subscribed to the Basic Store or access it for free if you have a Premium or Anchor Store subscription.

Bottom line: Selling on eBay is more than an easy way to get rid of your old stuff and also sell new things, too

Whether eBay is the right online selling platform for you depends on several factors, including what you want to sell and to whom. eBay is undoubtedly one of the best places to sell your used items, as many people still come to the platform searching for such things.

eBay’s business model has evolved substantially over the years, and the platform can now be used as an accessible way of starting an online e-commerce business. Whether your new business will be a side hustle or make you quit your job will depend on the type of products you sell, how competitive your prices are, and how good your marketing strategy is.

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications