eBay combines online and real-world auction experiences with its new eBay Live platform, where people can chat and react to sellers via live video and purchase their products. The service is currently in beta and will launch with “highly coveted and rare” trading card deals like 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 participate via the eBay app.
“As the community of collectors grows, we’re delivering a new live platform that combines an engaging environment with incredible ease, allowing our community to come together around common interests and wares,” said Vice-President. President of eBay Collectibles, Dawn Block. The service will also continue at real-world trading card conferences, including The National July 27-31 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Gen Con August 4-7 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Although the service is apparently live now in beta, there’s nothing available to buy yet, and we don’t see any sign of it in the eBay app yet. The only glimpse we have of the new experience is a short clip that shows someone on an Instagram-like live stream holding shoes and visually responding to people discussing the products. We asked eBay if we could expect anything before the June 22 event and if regular eBay sellers could expect access to the platform, but eBay was unable to respond to the time of publication.
This isn’t eBay’s first foray into live events, the company has held at least one auction with live hosts and the company has hosted an eBay sellers convention in the past – also using the nickname “eBay Live”. eBay, however, is behind the game; live sales are already a massive business, especially in China. Amazon launched its influencer live service in 2020, and Facebook/Instagram also have shopping platforms now. Last year, TikTok began running live video infomercials after partnering with streetwear company Hype. Companies are responding to the format’s growing popularity with young people – and sometimes that means aspiring influencers connecting their viewers to multi-level marketing setups like LuLaRoe, but hopefully, with tightly organized events, companies like eBay can keep the business healthy.
eBay has doubled its means of selling collectibles, especially with the surge in popularity of trading cards during the pandemic. This month the company launched eBay Vault, a real place where you can send your trading cards to a safe place – and also allowing them to be bought/sold instantly, giving owners only a digital image of the card. collectible, much like NFTs (although you can actually collect the physical item and have it sent to you).
Correction on June 17, 9:51 a.m. ET: An earlier version of the article suggested that the live stream can be accessed on eBay’s eBay Live website, but eBay tells us that the site only points to the eBay app, where the live stream will occur.