eBay’s combining online and real-world auction experiences with its newly launched eBay Live platform, where people can chat and react to sellers through Livestream video and buy their products. The service is currently in beta release and will launch with “highly coveted and rare” trading card offerings like a “1998 Kobe Bryant Skybox That’s Jam PSA 10” from eBay seller Bleecker Trading starting on June 22nd at 3PM ET. The event will be hosted live by avid collector DJ Skee, and interested buyers can join in via the eBay app.
“As the collector community grows, we’re offering 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 into real-world trading card conferences, including The National from July 27th–31st in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Gen Con from August 4th–7th 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 preview we have of the new experience is a short clip that shows someone on an Instagram-like livestream holding shoes and visually responding to people chatting about the products. We asked eBay if we can expect anything before the June 22nd event and if regular eBay sellers can expect to access the platform, but eBay was unable to answer at time of publishing.
This isn’t eBay’s first foray into live events, the company has operated at least one auction with live hosts, and the company has organized a convention for eBay sellers in the past — also using the “eBay Live” moniker. eBay is late to the game, though; live stream sales are already a massive business, especially in China. Amazon launched its live service for influencers in 2020, and Facebook / Instagram also have shopping platforms now. Last year, TikTok began broadcasting live-video infomercials after partnering with streetwear company Hype. Companies are responding to a rise in popularity of the format with young people — and sometimes that means aspiring influencers plugging their viewers into multi-level marketing setups like LuLaRoe, but hopefully, with closely curated events, companies like eBay can keep the business healthy.
eBay has been doubling down on ways to sell collectibles, especially with the rise of trading card popularity during the pandemic. This month the company launched the eBay Vault, a real place that you can send your trading cards to for safekeeping — and also enabling them to be bought / sold instantly, giving owners only a digital image of the collectible, kind of like NFTs (though you can actually withdraw the physical item and have it sent to you).
Correction June 17th, 9:51AM ET: An earlier version of the article suggested the livestream is accessible on eBay’s eBay Live website, but eBay tells us the site only points to the eBay app, which is where the livestream will happen.