How to sell multiple items on eBay

Listing Like a Pro: How to Sell Multiple Items in One Listings on eBay

May 7, 2024

For most casual sellers, selling on eBay is pretty straight forward – you have an item, you list it, and it (hopefully) sells. But what if you have more than one unit of the same item? Or if you're selling something in multiple size or color options? If you want to learn the ins and outs of how to sell multiple items on eBay – whether as product variations or as multi-quantity listings – you've come to the right place. In this guide, we'll go over what multi-quantity and variation listings are on eBay, understand how to create multiple item listings on eBay, dive into why these types of listings are beneficial for your eBay business, and give you some insider tips to help you get the most out of your multi-quantity listings.

What is a Multi-Quantity Listing on eBay?

how to list multiple items on eBay

Multi-quantity listings are listings for a product on eBay that have a quantity of more than one. Buyers can opt to buy one or more units of the item through the listing, and the listings remains live for as long as there is stock for the listed item. Below, we'll examine the benefits of a multi-quantity listing over single-quantity listings, and dive into how multi-quantity listings work from a seller's perspective.

Understanding the Benefits of Multi-Quantity Listings on eBay

If you're anything more than a casual, hobbyist eBay seller, you likely have several units in stock for the items you sell, and you likely regularly replenish your inventory. Multi-quantity listings on eBay are intended exactly for sellers like you and make listing and selling multiple units of the same product much more practical than creating a new listing every time a unit sells. It also gives buyers the option of purchasing more than one unit of a given item at a time, so you can sell more without being limited by the listing quantity.

Aside from the obvious convenience for both buyers and sellers, however, is a much more important and significant benefit – better performance for your listing in search results. eBay's search engine, Cassini, looks at many factors when determining which listings to match to which buyer queries, and one of the biggest factors that determines your listing's ranking in Best Match search results is its sales history. A listing with more sales history will rank higher than a new listing, and keeping a listing with a lengthy sales history live will do wonders for its ranking in buyer search results.

How Multi-Quantity Listings Work on eBay

You'll be able to create a multi-quantity listing on eBay either with eBay's listing tools or with 3Dsellers. Your listings will have to be in the fixed-price format, meaning you'll have to set a Buy It Now price for each item. Then, when a unit sells through the listing, the quantity simply goes down until no more units are left, after which the listing will end or become inactive (pro tip: enable the "listings stay active when out of stock" to maintain your listings' sales history and reap the SEO benefits mentioned above). If you have more stock available, you can increase the quantity of the listing.

One of the benefits of using 3Dsellers to create and manage multi-quantity listings is the fact that you can keep your inventory private from eBay by setting a limit on how many units are listed at a time. For example, if you have 200 units of a given item, you can set a maximum eBay quantity of 10 on 3Dsellers, which will limit the number of units made available on the eBay listing to no more than 10. When an item sells, 3Dsellers will automatically replenish the stock, but will not inform eBay of the real quantity, so you don't have to list everything all at once.  There are obvious marketing benefits to this approach, but there are many other reasons you may want to keep your stock private, including competitors, supplier restrictions, and more.

What is a Variation Listing on eBay?

eBay variation listing shopping

Variation listings on eBay are listings through which multiple versions of a product are available for purchase. Variation listings are most commonly used for fashion – the same garment will be offered in a variety of size and color variations, for example – but they're useful for many other products as well. Think storage sizes for SSDs, scents of a body lotion, sizes for a model of sneaker, and more. Below, we'll take a look at the benefits of variation listings on eBay, help you understand how to list multiple variations on eBay, and understand what managing a multi-variation listing looks like from a seller's perspective.

Understanding the Benefits of Variation Listings on eBay

Variation listings have many benefits for both sellers and buyers, with the most obvious one being the ability to offer more buying options to your buyers in one listing. It would make little sense to create a separate listing for each size of shoe instead of letting your buyers select the size they need directly on the listing. Additionally, organizing your products into variations not only provides you with a smarter way to manage products with multiple variations; it also enables you to take advantage of your listings' sales history for better performance in buyer searches.

Just like with multi-quantity listings, maintaining a listing with variations and regularly updating the quantity of each variant gives the listing an advantage in Best Match search result rankings, making it an integral part of a solid eBay SEO strategy.

How Variation Listings Work on eBay

In terms of how to list multiple variations on eBay, creating variation listings is relatively simple. eBay's listings support up to 50 variation (child) SKUs with 50 unique attributes each under a given listing (parent SKU), so you're unlikely to be limited in terms of the number of variations you can have. That said, managing any number of variation listings using eBay's interface can be challenging, to say the least. That's why many sellers opt to use third-party tools like 3Dsellers, which enable you to easily create and manage variation SKUs.

Furthermore, 3Dsellers enables you to create bundle and kit variations, which are SKU bundles comprised of other SKUs in your catalog. Whenever a given bundle or kit sells, 3Dsellers will automatically adjust the quantity of the associated SKUs accordingly. If a particular SKU that is included in a bundle or kit is unavailable, the variation SKU of the given bundle or kit will also become unavailable.  

Why You Should Sell Multiple Items in One Listing

How to sell multiple items on eBay in one listing

Now that we've discussed how to sell multiple items in one listing on eBay, it's time to look at why sellers bother to do this in the first place. After all, it seems much simpler to have one listing for every item, and create new listings as needed. Much like many things in the world of online selling, however, the best approach is not always the first one that comes to mind. In fact, there are many benefits to selling multiple items in one eBay listing, including improved listing and inventory management workflows, better listing visibility, and increased sales. Below, we'll explore the main benefits of incorporating multi-quantity and variation listings into your eBay selling workflow.

Save Time and Effort

Multi-quantity listings are a great way to save a significant amount of time and effort when creating new listings. Instead of making a single listing for a single unit of an item, you simply make one listing for as many units as you want. This is even easier when done with a smart third-party eBay listing tool like 3Dsellers, which can automatically manage your multi-quantity listings' stock based on the inventory limit you define. For example, you can determine that only 5 units at a time can be listed, and 3Dsellers will maintain that quantity on your listing while stock is available.

In terms of variations, creating variation SKUs based on a single parent SKU product saves you a significant amount of time and effort when creating each variant, since the main product attributes are taken from the parent SKU and do not have to be input into the child SKU. This not only saves time and effort, but also helps you minimize the chance of errors in each new variation SKU, since you have fewer product attributes to input.

Attract More Buyers

A benefit more relevant to variation listings rather than multi-quantity listings, attracting a wider range of potential buyers is a big advantage when you list with variant listings. The reason for this is simple – a variant listing with many variants is likely to match a larger number of buyer searches. Let's say, for example, that you're selling three different colors (white, beige, and grey) of sneaker model XYZ. If a buyer searches for "XYZ sneaker beige," your listing matches their search query. It also matches the search queries "XYZ sneaker white" and "XYZ sneaker grey." If you'd split your variation listing into three different color listings, you may miss out on buyers who would be willing to purchase the XYZ sneaker in beige if the white one was unavailable in their size, or those who would have gone ahead and purchased both because they ended up liking more than one color.

Increase Your Sales

Giving buyers the option to buy more than one unit, or to buy several versions of an item, is one of the more reliable ways to increase sales. The hassle of buying is generally the biggest deterrent for online shoppers, so removing that hurdle from the start makes it far more likely that buyers will purchase more. Instead of making your buyer go-to two separate listings to get both colors of sneakers, they can add them to cart from one listing and complete a single checkout.

Simplify Your Inventory Management

From an inventory management perspective, variation SKUs offer a smarter way to manage products that come in multiple versions. They enable you to create one parent SKU, which acts as the master SKU for all its variations, storing major product attributes. The associated variation SKUs, called child SKUs, are connected to this parent SKU, and take their core attributes from it. This is particularly useful if you have new versions of a product; you can add new product versions, with their unique product identifiers (such as MPNs or GTINs) and attributes, as child SKUs under the main parent SKU, saving you time and simplifying your inventory management processes.

Maintain Listing History and Search Rankings

By far the biggest benefit of multi-quantity and variation listings is the fact that they retain their sales history. If you were to create a new listing for every unit once the previous unit has sold (since you cannot have duplicate listings on eBay), rather than list several units and/or variations in one listing, you'd lose out on sales history because the listing would end each time an item is sold. Aside from being tedious, this gives your listings a far weaker starting point when ranking in buyer search results, thereby hurting your future chances of making a sale.  

How to Set Up a Multi-Quantity or Variation Listing on eBay

how to list multiple item ebay listing with 3Dsellers

There are two different approaches for creating multi-quantity or multiple variation listings on eBay – using eBay's interface or using a third-party eBay listing tool like 3Dsellers. While both methods enable you to sell multiple items via a single eBay listing, most sellers prefer to use third-party listing tools like 3Dsellers to more easily manage their multi-quantity or variation listings. In this section, we'll go over how to list multiple items in one listing on eBay using eBay's built-in listing tool, how to list multiple variations in one listing, and how to use 3Dsellers' listing tool to create and manage these types of listings.

Creating a Multi-Quantity Listing

When creating a multi-quantity listing on eBay, you'll need to select the "Fixed Price" option for your listing format. This this because multi-quantity listings cannot be in auction format, as each unit could then be sold at a different price. Next, you'll need to input the Buy It Now price for each item, then input the quantity of the items you have available for sale. Once your listing is live, eBay will keep track of the inventory and end the listing once your stock sellout. You'll then need to complete the rest of your listing information: product images, description, title, product identifiers, compatibility lists (if applicable), etc.

While this process is simple enough for creating a single multi-quantity listing, it becomes rather impractical for creating multiple multi-quantity listings, much less managing them when orders start rolling in. Another drawback is the fact that you'll need to either share your entire stock with eBay or go back and manually update your listing quantity every time a unit sells. In our experience, sellers have a difficult time maintaining quantity manually, and oftentimes find themselves with ended listings because they failed to update quantity intime.

Creating a Variation Listing

Creating a variation listing is far, far more involved than creating a multi-quantity listing, since you're essentially listing multiple distinct items for sale in a single listing. This is incredibly tedious when done through eBay, and requires you to add product details, images, attributes, pricing, and more to each one of your variations individually. This creates an incredibly challenging listing to not only create but maintain whenever a unit sells or when new stock becomes available. You’re essentially creating up to 250 listings within one listing and maintaining each variation SKU individually.

Using 3rd Party Tools for Bulk Listing

The simplest and safest way to create both multi-quantity and variation listings is with a third-party listing tool like 3Dsellers. 3Dsellers enables you to create optimized multi-quantity listings with professional listing templates and gives you the ability to manage your stock the way you want. You'll set a limit for how many units can be listed on eBay to keep your inventory private, and 3Dsellers will update your listing up to your defined number of units.

Pro Tip: Set your eBay quantity limit to 2, and eBay will display "Limited Quantity Available" on your listing to entice buyers to make a purchase!

For variation listings, 3Dsellers also helps you more easily create and manage your variant SKUs. Creating variations is a breeze with 3Dsellers interface, but you'll also have the option of using CSV uploads to even further streamline your workflow. Or, if you prefer, you can create a copy of an existing product and use it as a starting point for creating your new variation listing.

Finally, if you want your variations to be different combinations of items (i.e. a camera sold with multiple kit options: a set of lenses, a tripod stands and lenses, a strap and a tripod, a strap and lenses, etc.), you can much more easily create and manage them with 3Dsellers Bundles & Kits feature. This tool enables you to make SKU bundles as variations of a given listing, while also selling those SKUs individually on separate listings. 3Dsellers monitors the stock of each one, and makes individual variation bundles unavailable if one of the SKUs that makeup the bundle goes out of stock.  

Best Practices for Selling Multiple Items on eBay

best practices to create multiple item ebay listings

Now that we've covered the more technical aspect of how to list multiple items on eBay in one listing, we'll need to understand what makes a successful multi-quantity or variation listing. Aside from the obvious (your variations should be actual variations of the parent product, not unrelated items, and you should always ensure that you're listing only available stock), there are many factors that go into creating a multi-quantity listing that sells. Below, we'll give you a few insider tips for multi-quantity listing success based on our 15+years of experience with eBay. Keep reading to find out how to create listings that convert, how to leverage promotions to your advantage, and how to ensure that your listings remain successful over time.

Accurate Item Description and Photos

While this is true for all eBay listings, ensuring that you have an accurate item description with plenty of product images is even more important when you're listing multiple items in one eBay listing. There are several reasons for this; firstly, you'll receive feedback on each item purchased by the buyer (if they choose to leave feedback). This means that for every transaction, your risk of negative feedback multiplies based on the number of items sold. Plus, some buyers might even leave multiple negative feedback for a transaction even if there was an issue with only one item, and while you can resolve this with eBay in some cases, it's an unnecessary hassle that brings your seller rating down. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you have an accurate item description and product images that accurately represent what's being sold. This is particularly important for variants, which are essentially different products being sold through a single listing.  

Another reason is that ensuring that you have an accurate item description and plenty of product images is an important factor for ranking in search results. It's one of the things that eBay looks at when assessing the quality of your listings and has a direct effect on what buyer searches your listing matches, as well as the ranking of your listing in relation to competing listings.

Setting Competitive Prices

Pricing is always a tricky part of selling online, but maintaining competitive pricing is one of the main factors that determine your listing's conversion rate. No matter what you 'reselling or what type of multiple item listing you have, the fact that your listings must be fixed price means that you'll need a solid pricing strategy for your items. To do this, you'll have to conduct some market research on your competitors and see what they're selling and for how much. Note if they have frequent sales or discounts, see what they offer in terms of shipping costs, and use these to create a competitive pricing strategy for your multi-quantity and variation listings.

Offering Discounts and Bundles

Discounts and bundles are a solid marketing strategy, and they're particularly useful for multi-quantity listings. eBay sellers can create a variety of discounts and promotions through the Promotions dashboard of their Seller Hub, known as Seller Hub Promotions. These promotions, which include volume pricing (a discount of X% on orders of Y units) are especially suitable for multi-quantity listings, and area great way to nudge buyers towards buying more.

In terms of bundles, eBay's interface is far more limited. Buyers can in request a discount if they've added multiple products from your store to their cart, but it's far from a practical choice for multi-quantity listings. Instead, you can use 3Dsellers' Bundles & Kits tool to create pre-set item kits for buyers to purchase. This way you can manage them as a variation listing and avoid the hassle of having to manage best offers and counteroffers on multi-item orders.

Managing Inventory and Fulfillment

If you're looking to list multiple items in one Bay listing, chances are that you already have an impressive product catalog. While this is great for attracting buyers and making sales, it can be difficult to manage your inventory as your product catalog grows, particularly if you sell with multi-quantity and variation listings. This is why many sellers opt to use a third-party service like 3Dsellers to manage their eBay catalog and listings. 3Dsellers integrates your product catalog and listings, and functions as a one-stop-shop for inventory, listing, and product data management, so you can manage your stock more reliably and more efficiently.

3Dsellers also enables you to fulfill your orders more efficiently, especially if you sell through multiple eBay selling accounts. 3Dsellers' order management system brings together all your orders into one simple interface and enables you to upload tracking, change order status, and monitor orders across all your eBay selling accounts.

Dealing with Returns and Refunds

Returns and refunds are an inevitability of online selling, and they can and will happen even when you do everything right. The important thing is how you deal with returns and refunds when you get them, and it has a much bigger effect on your eBay selling account than you might initially think.

Firstly, eBay might not require sellers to accept returns across the board, but it strongly encourages them to do so by giving better seller protections to those who do. Furthermore, sellers are required to accept returns for certain reasons, including damaged items or items not as described in the listing. In cases like these, your seller metrics may also be affected by the very fact that a return request was opened. Returns and refunds must therefore be handled quickly and with strict adherence to eBay's policies – process returns and issue refunds on time, and make sure to use each return as an opportunity for improvement. If you're getting a number of returns for damaged items, it may be time to change shipping companies or look into better packing materials; if buyers are frequently returning the same item due to mismatches between what they received and the item listed, you may need to make changes to your listings to more accurately represent your item.

Final Thoughts & Key Takeaways: The Power of Multi-Quantity and Variation Listings on eBay

Knowing how to use multi-quantity and variation listings one Bay to your advantage is an important step towards building a successful eBay business. There are many benefits to multi-quantity and variation listings which will affect your selling success across the board – from retaining listing history to boost your search rankings, giving you a way to more easily upsell, to enabling you to offer your buyers a more streamlined shopping experience.

Now that you know how to sell multiple items on eBay in one listing, learned the ins and outs of a successful multi-quantity and variation listing, and discovered the best way to create and manage your listings and inventory, you too can harness the power of multi-quantity listings and variations to boost your sales and get more out of your eBay Store.

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