As you may have heard, eBay has officially prohibited online retail arbitrage as a business model in 2019. If you don’t know what that means, basically eBay has updated their dropshipping policy to prohibit the resale of products from other online marketplaces or retailers (e.g. amazon.com, walmart.com, homedepot.com) onto their own marketplace.
If you haven’t been in the loop, here is the direct link to eBay’s dropshipping policy.
If you continue to source products from other online marketplaces and then resell those goods on the eBay platform, you will be running the risk of eBay displaying your listings lower in search (throttling), loss of top rated status, removal of listings from the site, and even account restrictions and suspension.
However, listing an item on eBay and then purchasing the item from another retailer of marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed on eBay. In such cases, we may remove your listings from search, display them lower in search results, or remove them completely form the site. We may also limit, restrict or suspend your ability to buy, sell, or use site features on eBay, and you could lose any special status and/or discounts associated with your account.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself what you should be doing to start selling (or continue selling) on eBay without the risk associated with online retail arbitrage. After several months of intense strategy development and coordinated process improvements, we have concluded that there are 2 viable options for sustained dropshipping success on eBay.
Your 1st option is to begin a wholesale dropshipping eBay store. If this topic interests you, please check out Wholesale Dropshipping Champions YouTube channel or request access to the Wholesale Dropshipping Facebook group. However, since Wholesale Dropshipping is not the scope of this article we will focus our attention on the 2nd option: “Espionage Arbitrage”.
Espionage Arbitrage is our manual dropshipping technique which allows us to remain undetected by eBay’s flagging system. Since this strategy does not employ the use of any third-party applications with API integrations, retailer specific tracking numbers (e.g. AMZL US), or item location misrepresentation, we are able to continue selling hot products from popular brands while increasing our overall profit!
If you already have an eBay account which you have sold on in the past using the online retail arbitrage model, we highly suggest that you open a new eBay store. The reason for this is that either your account has been flagged for violating eBay’s dropshipping policy, or it runs the risk of being flagged.
Luckily, eBay treats new merchant accounts as independent of one another. That is to say, eBay states that they do not crosslink your other accounts’ selling history with any new accounts. The obvious solution to circumvent the effects of eBay’s throttle, is to open a brand new account using the manual dropshipping model. It’s important to point out however, if you do not stop API driven online retail arbitrage or completely cease the use of your old account, you do run the risk of eBay suspending your selling privileges on the merchant level.
This concept holds true for your PayPal account as well. We have all of our eBay stores connected to the exact same PayPal, and we have not seen any adverse effects on any of our manual stores. The tell-tale sign of account throttling is when promoted listing impressions and and clicks decrease over 90% in less than 48 hours and do not recover. Importantly, we have not observed any decrease in promoted listing impressions on any of our manual stores.
When you create a new listing on eBay, there is a section which asks you to declare the item location. If you were shipping the item yourself, this is where you put your own home or warehouse’s town, state, and ZIP code. However, as dropshippers, we do not ship from our own physical location, we ship directly from our suppliers location.
If your supplier has only 1 fulfillment center, then we would simply input that into our eBay listing item location. Some confusion arises when your supplier has multiple fulfillment centers. Since there is no option on eBay for us to select more than 1 item location, we do the next best thing.
We input ‘Multiple Locations’ in the City, State field and leave the ZIP Code field blank.
If your eBay account has already been throttled, we highly suggest that you open a new eBay store. Your seasoned online retail arbitrage store should be viewed as high risk. It may also take a long time for you to get un-flagged even if you pull all API software off the account.
eBay treats new merchant accounts as independent of one another, so they do not crosslink your other accounts’ selling history with any new accounts. By opening a brand new account using the manual dropshipping model, we are able to start fresh without the adverse effects of a throttled store.
Additionally, we do not suggest the use of stealth accounts due to the difficulty in setting them up and also the possibility of a lifetime account ban. Lastly, starting a stealth account is not necessary for what we are trying to accomplish (avoiding the effects of eBay’s listing throttle).
In general, any software that does not connect to eBay’s API is safe to use for a manual dropshipping store. Below are the following 3 software companies that we endorse for eBay manual dropshipping:
01 // SKU GRID
This is the program which allows us to reprice our items and monitor quantity levels without direct API access. You can choose how frequently Sku Grid prepares a .CSV file based on price changes at the source and quantity changes on your eBay stores items. Then, Sku Grid utilizes its own chrome extension to automatically send the updated .CSV through eBay’s file exchange uploader.
If you’re interested in using Sku Grid, click our affiliate link below to receive 20,000 Sku Grid Credits (equivalent to a Full month of repricing every 3 hours for with 100 items) and a 7 day free trial:
02 // SPOT N’ PASTE
This is a chrome extension that we use for semi-automated ordering. By copying buyers addresses and saving them to a clipboard, Spot n’ Paste expedites the checkout process and decreases human error. It is only $9.99 per month and it can be used across just about all platforms and marketplaces, making it 1 of the most versatile dropshipping tools.
Get 10% OFF for life at checkout with code “ecomtom”. Just click our
affiliate link below:
03 // ZIK ANALYTICS
zik is still the premier product research tool for eBay. This is by far the best sourcing software available. No other software even comes close to the functionality of zik. You can zero in on competition, niches, sales volume, and much more with this software’s filtering capabilities.
Secure a 7-day FREE Trial and receive $5.00 off your first month’s subscription! Just mention “eCom Tom” to their customer support chat or click on the link below:
As long as you follow all of our suggested steps to mitigate the likelihood of eBay’s ‘flagging’ algorithm, you should be able to avoid detection. This is the entire premise of espionage arbitrage — strategically operating your store so as not to give eBay any reason to suspect that you are sourcing from an online retailer or marketplace.
We have created a video series on YouTube for this exact purpose! The playlist will help guide you through most of the initial challenges you’re likely to face and it will address additional questions you may have at this point.
Click here to continue learning about Espionage Arbitrage!
We have come out with an all inclusive dropshipping course called Dropshipping University. The course is filled with high-quality content not available in the Facebook group or on the YouTube channel. Manual dropshipping is explained in depth, including the tips and tricks that we’ve
used to build an eBay dropshipping empire, raking in over $120,000 in sales monthly.
From beginner to advanced, the course is a step-by-step guide made specifically to minimize the learning curve. Packed with over 6.5 hours of curriculum and spread over 56 sections, this course will put you on track to having your own successful dropshipping business within 1 day!