eBay combines online and real auction experiences with the recently launched eBay Live platform, where people can chat and interact with sellers via Livestream video and buy their products. The service is currently in beta and will launch with “coveted and rare” trading cards, such as a “1998 Kobe Bryant Skybox That’s Jam PSA 10” from eBay seller Bleecker Trading starting June 22 at 3 p.m. ET. The event will be hosted live by avid collector DJ Skee, and interested buyers can join in on the official eBay Live page or sign up through the eBay app.
“As the community of collectors grows, we are providing a new live platform that combines an engaging environment with incredible ease, allowing our community to come together over shared interests and merchandise,” said eBay’s VP of Collectibles, Dawn Block. The service will also continue at real trading card conferences, including The National from July 27 to 31 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Gen Con from August 4 to 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
While the service is apparently now in beta, there’s nothing available to buy yet, and we’re not seeing any sign of it in the eBay app yet. The only preview we have of the new experience is a short clip showing someone on an Instagram-esque livestream holding shoes and visually reacting to people chatting about the products. We asked eBay if we can expect anything for the June 22 event and if regular eBay sellers can expect access to the platform, but eBay was unable to provide an answer at the time of publication.
This isn’t eBay’s first foray into live events, the company has held at least one live-host auction and has hosted an eBay seller convention in the past – also called “eBay Live.” However, eBay is late with the game; Selling live streams is already a huge business, especially in China. Amazon launched its live service for influencers in 2020 and Facebook/Instagram now also has shopping platforms. Last year, TikTok began broadcasting live video infomercials after partnering with streetwear company Hype. Businesses are responding to an increasing popularity of the format with young people — and sometimes that means aspiring influencers hooking their viewers up to multi-level marketing setups like LuLaRoe, but hopefully companies like eBay can keep the business sane with carefully curated events.
eBay has doubled the ways to sell collectibles, especially with the boom in the popularity of trading cards during the pandemic. This month, the company launched the eBay Vault, a real place where you can send your trading cards for safekeeping – as well as buy/sell them directly, giving owners only a digital view of the collectible, a bit like NFTs (although you can actually withdraw the physical item and have it shipped to you).