Selling with Multiple eBay Accounts

We take a look at the pros and cons of this selling strategy.

by Sarah Brown
- Jun 12, 2013

If one is good, then two is better, right? When it comes to selling on eBay, this cliché may be apt for several reasons, and having multiple eBay IDs could help increase your sales.

It's hard to estimate how many sellers use multiple eBay IDs, but it's clear this approach to online selling is common. While some merchants have honest reasons for having more than one eBay account, others do it for shadier purposes.

There are merchants who use multiple accounts for fraudulent purposes, and eBay warns against this. For example, sellers may use a second account to increase bids on their listings. This is called shill bidding, and eBay frowns upon it. In fact, eBay restricts sellers from doing this and will take action against those involved.

But there are valid reasons to have multiple eBay IDs, and the marketplace giant is happy to allow its members to hold these as long as they follow the guidelines.

If you want to be known for a particular niche or style of clothing, or anything, then it's a good idea to have separate IDs

Multiple IDs help keep niches separate

Perhaps one of the most popular reasons why sellers open multiple eBay accounts is to separate different product lines and niches.

Margot Warren has been selling festival fashions through her eBay Store, Groovy Clothes Boutique, since 2008. She built a solid reputation as a source for the Festival Clothing brand and many of her customers return to buy more from her bohemian shop.

Recently, Warren acquired the inventory from a clothing store in her area that was closing.

It was a really good deal, but the clothes are more contemporary than the tie-dye niche she's established, she says. Since she wanted to keep her Festival Clothing line separate, she decided to open a new eBay Store.

"If you want to be known for a particular niche or style of clothing, or anything, then it's a good idea to have separate IDs," Warren notes.

Jason Hair, another eBay seller, uses two eBay IDs for similar reasons.

He uses one account specifically for clothing, shoes and accessories. There's a wise strategy for this.

"I want that account to focus on that specific category, so I can cross promote other similar items by using [Auctiva's] Scrolling Gallery and using the link inserted in my description to check out my other items," he reports.

He uses his other account to list an assortment of items to make a little extra money. As a side benefit of having two accounts, Hair is able to double up on certain advantages, such as the 50 free listings per month eBay offers.

However, eBay prohibits this as being the main reason to hold another account, so be sure your true motives are in accordance with eBay guidelines.

It's a strategy used by some because when they win an auction and resell that item for a higher price, they don't want to upset the original seller

Separating buying and selling

Other noted reasons for having multiple eBay accounts? Some sellers might be required to create new accounts if they want to sell overseas. Others like to keep their buying and selling activity separate. This may be for reasons as simple as keeping financial accounts organized, but it's also a strategy used by some because when they win an auction and then resell that item for a higher price, they don't want the original seller to get upset.

As you can see, there are good reasons to open multiple eBay accounts. As long as you're playing by the rules, you can organize your buying and selling activity, save on insertion fee costs, and be the owner of two or more completely separate niche stores.

But with any list of pros, there are at least a few cons. For example, hosting more than one store ultimately means more work, despite the fact we're not talking about a brick-and-mortar location here. Each store's branding, marketing, financial accounts and inventory may require its own attention.

And since you're starting from scratch with the second or third account, it will take some time to build up your new store's reputation.

How to register a second eBay account

If you're wondering how to go about starting multiple accounts on eBay, it's not much different than registering your first one.

You can't use the same email for multiple IDs, so you will have to first create a new one. Then use that email address to register your new eBay ID. Next, verify your identity and link your PayPal account, or create a new PayPal account. eBay allows up to eight IDs to be linked to the same PayPal account as long as each ID has it's own email address.

Warren likes to use separate PayPal accounts so she can see the income clearly separated between stores, she says. After you've set up your new account, everything else is a breeze because you've already learned all the hard stuff with your first account.

About the Author

Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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