AppScenic Ecommerce Blog

eBay Dropshipping: Risks and Challenges for Newcomers

eBay Dropshipping - Risks and Challenges for Newcomers -  

Jumping into the world of eBay dropshipping can feel like stepping into a very crowded marketplace, which in fact it is. Now, we are the first to tell you that the allure of all this is undeniable – minimal upfront investment, no need to hold inventory, and the freedom to run your business from anywhere. 

But, if it all sounds too good to be true then this shouldn’t be a surprise – eBay dropshipping comes with its own set of risks and challenges, especially for newcomers. So, in this next article, we want to explore the complexities of eBay dropshipping, its potential downsides and how to navigate them.

What is eBay dropshipping?

First, let’s clarify what eBay dropshipping means. In this business model, you list products for sale on eBay without actually owning them. When a customer makes a purchase, you buy the product from a third-party supplier, who then ships it directly to the customer. Sounds straightforward, right? But there’s a lot more beneath the surface.

The promise and the reality

The promise

eBay dropshipping is still attractive for several reasons:

  • Low startup costs: No need to buy inventory upfront.
  • Flexibility: Run your business from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Scalability: Easily add new products to your listings.
  • Free traffic: Get a ton of free organic traffic from a marketplace where $22 billion is sold every quarter.


Read more: How to start dropshipping on eBay

The reality

However, the reality is that eBay dropshipping is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires careful planning, consistent effort, and an in-depth understanding of the marketplace. Let’s explore some of the risks and challenges you might face as a beginner or newcomer.

eBay policies and regulations for dropshipping -

eBay’s policies and regulations

Policy compliance

One of the first challenges you’ll encounter is eBay’s strict policies regarding dropshipping. eBay permits dropshipping, but only if you source the items from a wholesale supplier. 

Buying products from another retailer and having them ship directly to your customer is against eBay’s rules. Violating these policies can lead to account suspension or even permanent bans.

Account suspensions

Account suspensions are a real risk for dropshippers. If eBay suspects that you’re not complying with their policies or if you receive too many negative reviews, they can suspend your account. 

This can break your business, especially if you’ve invested significant time and resources into building your store. It’s like getting kicked out of a trade fair because you didn’t follow the rules.

Supplier issues

Finding reliable suppliers

Sourcing reliable suppliers is crucial to your dropshipping success on eBay and all marketplaces. Unreliable suppliers can cause delays, send incorrect items, or provide poor-quality products.

This can lead to negative reviews and unhappy customers. Without reliable suppliers, your business will struggle to stand tall.

Read more: How to find reliable suppliers

Inventory management

Managing inventory can be a nightmare. Since you don’t control the stock, you might list items that are out of stock with your supplier. This leads to canceled orders and unhappy customers. Staying updated with your supplier’s inventory and maintaining good communication is essential but can be challenging.

Shipping and delivery challenges

Long shipping times

One of the biggest complaints customers have about dropshipping is long shipping times, especially if products are coming from overseas. This is also one of the reasons why over 90% of dropshippers fail

While customers might tolerate a week-long wait, anything beyond that can lead to frustration and negative feedback. We are living in the prime delivery world, where retailers promise to ship and deliver their items in 2 days. So, people don’t have to wait long for their orders to arrive anymore. 

So, of course, most dropshippers fail if they ship their products from China, as such items can take 20 days or more to get to the USA. 

Shipping costs

Shipping costs can also be unpredictable. While some suppliers offer reasonable shipping rates, others might charge exorbitant fees, which can eat into your profits or make your listings less competitive. Balancing shipping costs while keeping prices attractive is a constant challenge.

Read more: Why you should quit dropshipping from China

Competition and market saturation

Fierce competition

As we said already, eBay is a competitive marketplace. As a dropshipper, you’ll be competing with other sellers who might be offering the same products, often at lower prices. 

Standing out in this crowded market requires strategic pricing, excellent customer service, and effective marketing. So, you need something special to attract customers. For example, a strong selling point can be fast shipping and premium products. 

Market saturation

Certain product categories are more saturated than others. If you’re selling popular items, you might find it challenging to rank high in search results and attract buyers. 

Finding a niche or offering unique products can help, but this requires thorough market research and creativity. Also, to sell well on eBay, and stand out from the sea of other seller accounts, you need to learn the basics of SEO. Through SEO, you can have a better chance of your store being visible and relevant on eBay.

Read more: The complete guide to optimizing your listings on eBay

eBay Dropshipping Risks - Customer service and satisfaction -

Customer service and satisfaction

Handling complaints

Excellent customer service is crucial in maintaining a positive reputation on eBay. However, handling complaints and returns can be challenging when you’re not in control of the product quality or shipping process. Quick responses and effective problem-solving are key to keeping your customers happy.

Managing returns

Returns are an essential part of ecommerce, but they can be particularly tricky for dropshippers. You’ll need to coordinate with your supplier to handle returns, which can be time-consuming and complicated. Clear return policies and good communication with your suppliers can help mitigate these issues.

Read more: How to create a great dropshipping return policy

Financial risks

Thin profit margins

Dropshipping often operates on thin profit margins. After accounting for eBay fees, PayPal fees, shipping costs, and supplier costs, your profit might be smaller than expected. This makes it crucial to carefully calculate all expenses and set competitive yet profitable prices.

Cash flow management

Managing cash flow is another challenge. Since you pay the supplier after receiving an order but before the customer receives the product, you need to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover these costs. Effective cash flow management is essential to keep your business running smoothly.

Legal and ethical considerations

Intellectual property issues

Selling branded products can lead to intellectual property disputes if the products are counterfeit or unauthorized. Ensure that your suppliers are providing genuine products to avoid legal issues and protect your business’s reputation.

Ethical sourcing

Choosing suppliers that follow ethical practices is important. Unethical sourcing can lead to poor product quality, legal issues, and damage to your brand reputation. Research your suppliers thoroughly and prioritize those who maintain high ethical standards.

If you choose to use AppScenic, our AI dropshipping platform, then we’ll do all this work for you. We vetted all our suppliers, making sure they followed strict high-quality standards.

Strategies for overcoming challenges on eBay -

Strategies for overcoming challenges on eBay

Thorough research

Do your homework, and conduct in-depth research before jumping into eBay dropshipping. Understand eBay’s policies, identify reliable suppliers, and study the market. This research can help you avoid common challenges and set a solid foundation for your business.

Building strong relationships

Build strong relationships with your suppliers. Good communication can help you stay updated on inventory levels, resolve issues quickly, and ensure a smoother operation. Treat your suppliers as partners in your business success.

Focus on customer experience

Prioritise customer experience. Provide clear and accurate product descriptions, respond promptly to inquiries, and handle complaints professionally. Happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews and become repeat buyers.

Use automation tools

Leverage automation tools (such as the ones you can find on AppScenic) to manage inventory, track orders, and streamline operations. Tools like the ones you find on our dropshipping platform AppScenic can help you automate repetitive tasks, save time, and reduce errors.

Diversify your product range

Diversify your product range to reduce reliance on any single supplier or product category. This can help mitigate risks and provide more opportunities for sales.


As we said at the beginning of this article, eBay dropshipping offers exciting opportunities but comes with significant risks and challenges. As a newcomer, it’s crucial to approach this business model with a clear understanding of the potential risks and a solid strategy for overcoming them. 

By conducting thorough research, building strong supplier relationships, focusing on customer experience, and leveraging automation tools, you can navigate the complexities of eBay dropshipping and build a successful business. 

Read next: The importance of being niche specific in dropshipping

News & facts:


Try AppScenic For Free

Explore over 1 million dropshipping products from verified domestic suppliers and use AI in the process.
  • Instant Access
  • Cancel Anytime
  • AI Included
  • 1 Million + Products

Get Notified

Be the first to try the newest Ecommerce AI features once they are released!
* By entering your email, you will receive AI & Dropshipping notifications *