eBay to guarantee the authenticity of collectible sneakers

Discussion
Photo: eBay
Oct 13, 2020
George Anderson

A pair of sneakers is sold every 1.5 seconds on eBay, and the site wants its customers to know that they can make purchases without worrying that the kicks they are buying are not as advertised.

The online platform announced that it will fully vet and verify all new and preowned sneakers. eBay is applying the Authenticity Guarantee this month to most of the most popular sneakers sold on the site with plans to have it cover all shoes in the category sold for $100 or more by early next year.  The move by eBay follows an earlier announcement that it was canceling selling fees on sneakers bought in the same price range.

“eBay operates the world’s most diverse sneaker marketplace — with the widest selection and best prices — and by removing any uncertainty with the buying process, our community can buy and sell with total confidence,” said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP and general manager of eBay North America, in a statement.

With the Authenticity Guarantee program, sneaker sellers ship purchased shoes directly to a facility operated by Sneaker Con, an independent third-party facility, that authenticates the items and expedites shipment to customers. For sellers who are part of the program and accept returns, eBay verifies any sneakers that are sent back as well as the condition in which they are being returned.

The decision by eBay to offer its sneaker guarantee follows a similar program covering watches sold in the U.S. for $2,000 or more.

“Authentication has become an expectation for today’s consumers in categories of high passion and high value, and this program makes eBay the most attractive platform for enthusiasts in these categories,” said Mr. Sweetnam.

Earlier this year, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D- NY) introduced legislation known as the SHOP SAFE (Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce) Act 2020 that had five co-sponsors, including two fellow Democrats and three Republicans. The legislation, if passed, would shift liability for the sale of counterfeit goods to online platforms unless they performed a set of best practices designed to identify and take action against bad actors.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee increase consumer trust in buying sneakers on the site, and will this lead to more sales? Will other authenticity guarantees become commonplace on online marketplaces?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Authentication of both sellers and merchandise is only going to increase in importance as online shopping grows. "
"I would love if eBay would authenticate all “collectable” merchandise. No fakes or frauds."
"eBay is going beyond the SHOP SAFE Act, which requires seller screening, verification and attestation."

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9 Comments on "eBay to guarantee the authenticity of collectible sneakers"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Sneaker resale is a massive business with both casual purchasers and serious collectors contributing to significant uplifts in sales over the past few years. Platforms like Goat and StockX generate massive traffic volumes and have helped fuel the boom. As such, while eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee is sensible, it is a little late to the game and will need to fight hard to win customers from more established vendors.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

Authentication of both sellers and merchandise is only going to increase in importance as online shopping grows. It will be doubly important in high value fashion categories. With multiple teenage boys around the farm these days, I have seen several instances of outright fraud.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

I agree with Neil – while this is a smart move by eBay to guarantee authenticity, StockX, GOAT and others are where the re-sell sneaker action really is happening. eBay is late here.

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

Product authenticity for all online sales will only grow. Counterfeiting has a huge head-start and, while this is a positive move by eBay, more will be required going forward for shoppers to feel comfortable making high dollar purchases.

George Anderson
Staff

Red Points, coincidentally, has just issued a report on counterfeiting heading into the holiday season and, no surprise, consumers who buy fakes do not look kindly on the seller or the brand in these instances. Here are some stats that it posted:

+ 26 percent of respondents have purchased counterfeits on Black Friday.
+ More than half of respondents claimed they would ask for a refund.
+ Almost half would write cautionary reviews about where they purchased it from.
+ 25 percent of respondents think removing counterfeits should be done by the brand.
+ More than 40 percent of respondents would complain to the original brand.

Dan Frechtling
BrainTrust

I applaud this move. eBay’s Authenticity Guarantees are rigorous. Sneakers are handled by Sneaker Con’s multipoint inspections. Watches are even more meticulous, with multipoint inspections by expert authenticators in “clean rooms.”

eBay is going beyond the SHOP SAFE Act, which requires seller screening, verification and attestation. In addition, eBay is addressing more discretionary categories where fraud is rampant. The Act only applies to “goods that implicate health and safety.” Of course, tripping over substandard shoe laces or being late for a date due to a faulty minute hand might implicate one’s health or safety!

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I would love if eBay would authenticate all “collectable” merchandise. No fakes or frauds. As for sneakers, I had no idea the power of the eBay marketplace for sneakers. Good for them … stepping up to make a very customer-focused decision. This will set the bar for other online marketplaces.

Matt Cebulski
Guest

They are a little late to the game and the predominant purchasers in this category are Millennials and Gen Z who mainly use specialty platforms such as StockX. If they can expand this authenticity guarantee to other segments such as sports memorabilia they could do well, however this will not launch eBay into becoming a significant player the sneaker marketplace.

Kim DeCarlis
BrainTrust

Collectible sneakers — particularly the Air Jordan and Yeezy brands — are hot commodities and sell out very quickly when released. This is often the result of automated bots that buy up inventory and resell them at significant profit on secondary sites like eBay. The challenge is understanding which products are authentic — and perhaps worth the premium price — and which are counterfeit. This step by eBay is admirable and will win them more loyal customers and revenue. It will also raise the bar for authenticity guarantees on other limited edition products and premium brands. It’s important that other online retailers get in front of this consumer expectation and build a plan, quickly.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Authentication of both sellers and merchandise is only going to increase in importance as online shopping grows. "
"I would love if eBay would authenticate all “collectable” merchandise. No fakes or frauds."
"eBay is going beyond the SHOP SAFE Act, which requires seller screening, verification and attestation."

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