This is a good question. Dropshipping is allowed on Amazon, and this is why you sometimes accidentally order products on Amazon that take weeks to ship!
But is dropshipping allowed on eBay?
The answer is no. You cannot dropship on eBay, but there are some complications that come with this policy.
Today, I want to clarify what this policy really entails.
We will talk about:
- Dropshipping policy of eBay
- When is dropshipping allowed on eBay?
- What can you do as a dropshipper as a workaround?
- What are the alternatives to eBay?
At the end of this tutorial, you should understand what eBay’s stance is on dropshipping, and what you can do to dropship on the platform.
Dropshipping policy of eBay
eBay does not like dropshipping. It specifically states in its policy that you cannot order products from a supplier and have it shipped to your customer. Doing so could result in the suspension or termination of your account.
Here is a screenshot of the policy:
Why do they have this policy?
The main premise of eBay is that you sell an item that you own—eBay is an auction site where buyers bid or an item that they think has value.
If you sell someone else’s products, you are essentially violating this premise—you are not offering a product that has any extra value at all.
As an auction site, the presumption is that a seller possesses the product he is selling and not a middleman who facilitates a product sale between the supplier and the end-consumer.
There was a time when dropshipping was flourishing on eBay. Most of the dropshippers sold products from Amazon on the eBay platform, so eBay dropshipping was okay.
So, what happened?
Many eBay customers complained that the item they bought from eBay was sent to them in an Amazon package. They realized that they have been had—they paid a higher price for an item that they could have purchased on Amazon for a lower price.
This created a shift in eBay’s policies. From then on, they no longer allowed dropshipping on the platform. The principle behind this is that they do not want their customers paying for items that they could have bought on their own.
When is dropshipping allowed on eBay?
Now, there is an argument from another camp saying that yes, dropshipping is allowed on eBay. If you read the policy again, it sounds rightfully so.
Confusing, isn’t it?
Let us read it again:
What this means is that you can dropship, but only if:
- You buy the product in bulk and keep the inventory in your house
- You buy the items from a wholesale supplier
Here is the thing: what is not allowed is if you dropship items from another RETAILER or from another MARKETPLACE.
What does this mean?
It means that you cannot dropship items that are also sold online. But if items you sell are not posted for sale online for retail sales, you can still do dropshipping!
Let us be clear here: you cannot post an item on eBay if it is already being sold on another online marketplace.
If your supplier is a company like a print-on-demand, then you can dropship.
Why? Because a print-on-demand business, like Printful or Printify, does not sell its shirts or mugs to consumers on a retail basis. They only sell it to retailers or dropshippers like you.
What can you do as a dropshipper as a workaround?
Now that we are clear on eBay’s policies, let us talk about a workaround that you can do for your eBay dropshipping success.
You can violate this policy, and then cross your fingers that your customer does not complain. This is a big risk, as it only takes one complaint and your account may get suspended.
The proper workaround is that you find a supplier that does not sell their items online on a retail basis. While this is not the norm in dropshipping, it is possible.
A lot of people rely on AliExpress for their dropshipping supplies. But in this case, AliExpress should be crossed off of your list.
Here are some ways to find suppliers who do not sell on retail:
- SaleHoo – this is a dropship supplier directory. You have to pay for the service to be able to use it. It has products that come from AliExpress but also offers a lot of items that the suppliers do not sell online.
- Oberlo and Spocket – these two companies are the leading dropship supplier tools in the industry.
They have a directory of suppliers from AliExpress, but they also have local dropship suppliers that only sell in wholesale—these are companies that supply local retailers, but they do not sell the items online.
- Printful and Printify – this is your best bet. These two companies have blank items such as mugs, hoodies, shirts, umbrellas, and many more. Your job is to make the design through their system and then sell that item.
Once a customer orders, you order that item from them, and then they will print the design on the shirt, then ship it to your customer.
You see, the best way to dropship on eBay is by doing some form of print-on-demand. Your designs cannot be found anywhere online, and you can also tell eBay that these products are not sold by a retailer or in another marketplace.
What are the alternatives to eBay?
If this is too difficult for you to do, or if you find eBay’s policy too limiting, your only alternative is to find other places to dropship.
What are these?
- Amazon – you can dropship on Amazon. However, you need to specifically put on your listing that your product is from China and that you are only doing a resale. You must also tell the consumer that the items you ship will take several weeks because they come from China.
- Your own store – the best alternative is to create your own store. What you can do is to pay for a monthly subscription to Shopify or other online store platforms. You can also do self-hosting where you build your website on WordPress and then install the WooCommerce plug-in.
- Facebook – you can also build a Facebook shop. If you have a Facebook account, you have to create a page for your business. From that page, you can enable the shop from your settings. However, Facebook has no payment options—you need to use PayPal or direct payment methods.
These are the three best alternatives. The best, of course, is to build your own store. The reason behind this is that you pay a monthly fee, but you are in full control of your own policies. On Amazon, you need to pay a fee for every listing plus a fee for every item you sold.
Dropshipping is a great business, but not all companies support it. This difference in how dropshipping is treated comes from the point of view of the CEOs and other leaders of the company. Usually becuase they don’t like the idea of their customers essentially buying a ‘marked up’ product that they could have bought themselves cheaper!
eBay started out as an auction site for second-hand goods, which entails that the sellers own the items they posted on the platform. Many sellers eventually sold brand new items. Despite this, these sellers owned their inventories.
eBay wants to stick with this policy—it wants its consumers to deal directly from the source of the products, not with people who arbitrage the sale.