16 Essential Items for New eBay Sellers

eBay offers an exciting opportunity for anyone to make money at home with very little investment. Purchasing some key items, however, can help new eBay sellers take their business to the next level. Not only can these items save both time and money, but they also help with professionalism.

The following items can help simplify the sometimes time consuming process of listing, packing and shipping items. Some are specific to particular eBay niches, such as clothing or shoes, but most are relevant to a majority of aspiring eBay business owners.

Shipping scale

Without a doubt, one of the most important investments for any eBay business is a shipping scale. This inexpensive purchase ensures the accurate weighing of items for shipping purposes, thereby reducing the risk of underestimating shipping costs. Buyers are likely to be happier too, satisfied that they did not overpay for shipping.

Box resizer

Be sure to have the right sized box for every item shipment with a box resizer. This is a real money saver when it comes to shipping costs as well as excess packaging material. The box will also have a much more uniform and attractive appearance, something that is appreciated by shipping companies and buyers alike.

Thermal printer

New eBay sellers looking to develop a professional selling business should seriously consider investing in a thermal printer. While the initial startup cost can be on the high side ($200-300), it’s exceptionally economical long term. It’s a time saver too.

Magnifying glass

A magnifying glass is indispensable for checking imperfections on items. It can also be invaluable for reading fine print or engravings. If you can, purchase one with a built-in light for even easier examination.

Cushioning materials

Cushioning materials, such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts, help to keep items safe from damage when in transit. Packaging supplies can be surprisingly expensive. People who have recently moved often want to get rid of boxes, packing peanuts and bubble wrap quickly so keep an eye on community websites and Facebook groups. UPS and other shipping companies offer a free supply of limited packaging materials for customers.

Read more about how to package items properly to avoid damage

Quality packing tape

The importance of using proper packing tape cannot be understated. Item shipments need to be sealed with tape that has the required strength and durability for a strong closure. Duct tape, being sensitive to heat, can dry out and fall off. Packing tape can be expensive but it is worth it to provide a professional level service.

Bubble/poly mailers

Padded envelopes (also known as bubble or poly mailers) work great for sending smaller items or clothing. They can be picked up cheaply in bulk, are easy to store and can also be re-used easily. Most importantly, padded envelopers are cheaper to ship than boxes.

Label remover

As well as being tedious and surprisingly time consuming, removing labels can also damage items when not done properly. Avoid this issue completely with the inexpensive purchase of a label scraper or remover. Do keep in mind, however, that some items are more valuable with old price labels or stickers still intact.

Residue dissolver

Cleaning items is an crucial part of the listing process. Stubborn, sticky residues are a common problem but can easily be solved with products like Goo-Gone. Alternatively, some sellers claim success with rubbing alcohol or alcohol hand sanitizer. The latter can also be used to remove marker on plastic packaging.

Camera and tripod

While there can be no doubt concerning the quality of cell phone photography these days, using a separate point and shoot camera for eBay listings can still be helpful. Not only does it free up your cell phone for other tasks, the zoom function is usually a lot more powerful. As well as being conveniently hands free, a trip tripod ensures steady photography.

Read more about taking great item photos for eBay listings


Mannequins offer buyers a chance to see how clothing fits and falls on a human shape. Cheaper versions of full body mannequins include a molded torso or dressmaker’s adjustable form. Some eBay sellers consider mannequins an absolute must for selling clothing, while others prefer to use hangers (see below) or simple flatlays.


An alternative or compliment to using a mannequin (above), hangers provide a simple and quick way to display clothing. It is important, however, to keep the aesthetics and function of the hangers in mind too. Wide hangers, for example, can provide clothing more shape. Pretty, expensive looking hangers can help make an item look more appealing.

Shoe inserts and shapers

Many shoes look shapeless when unworn and can be therefore difficult to photograph aesthetically. eBay sellers specializing in shoes should consider shoe inserts and shapers an absolute essential for listing photography. Be sure to mention, however, that the shapers do not come with the shoes.

Professional backdrop

A busy background can be distracting. It can also be confusing, with buyers unsure what is included with the listing. A clean, simple backdrop gives a professional impression and eBay claims it will even improve a listing’s visibility. An evenly painted neutral colored wall, a sheet of paper or even a well ironed tablecloth are all cheap solutions.

Appropriate lighting

The most appealing eBay photos feature soft, white lighting without shadows. A light-box or professional lighting kit work well but are not the most economical of options. Taking photos outside in an open area is one budget option, though be sure to avoid the brightest time of day (noon) when shadows and glare are the most harsh.

Thank you cards

Let your buyers know you appreciate their business with a short personalized note or thank you card in their package. It takes very little time and effort to do but can leave a lasting impression.

Experienced sellers, what would you consider your essential items for selling on eBay?

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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