At least three retail trends — the need for social distancing during the pandemic, the fight against marketplace counterfeiting, and the ongoing rise of omnichannel — have combined in eBay’s latest commerce effort.
The San Jose, California-based online marketplace says it has converted an iconic gas station in East Hollywood into a drive-thru 'Authentication Station' – offering people a safe and socially distanced way to evaluate and sell their sneakers, watches and collectibles, without leaving the comfort of their cars.
The Authentication Station, a first of its kind, comes on the heels of the launch of eBay's Authenticity Guarantee, a new offering changing the way people shop and sell on the marketplace. Authenticity Guarantee uses independent experts to fully vet and verify items through comprehensive inspections, and is currently available for sneakers and watches – two of the marketplace's largest and most popular luxury categories.
With this new drive-thru location in Los Angeles, eBay is inviting consumers to experience first-hand how items are appraised – with the option to sell on the spot, while never stepping out of their cars.
"The community response to authentication on eBay has been incredible, and we wanted to find a way to really bring this to life ahead of the holiday shopping season," said Tirath Kamdar, general manager of luxury, eBay North America. "eBay's first Authentication Station gives attendees a look under the hood, and follows a simple formula: get your item evaluated by experts, find out what it's worth and fill up your pockets, all while staying in your car."
These new eBay moves come as retailers of all types are stepping up the fight against retail counterfeiting. While that battle is nothing new, the rise of pandemic e-commerce is no doubt providing more opportunity for online criminals.
To push back against that, Seattle-based Amazon, for instance, has made a big deal of recent anti-counterfeiting lawsuits that it has joined or filed — part of the company’s efforts to not only build more trust for its marketplace sales, but also respond to political pressure over that part of its retail operations. Meanwhile, the The Washington, D.C.-based Buy Safe America coalition is encouraging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act to modernize consumer protection laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic seller information and having sellers provide that information to consumers.
As for this new eBay push, third-party authentication partner Sneaker Con, which bills itself as "the world's premier sneaker show," as well as top eBay sellers, will review every item that comes through and advise what each might be worth on the marketplace. From the casual enthusiast to the avid collector, eBay's Authentication Station and its new Authenticity Guarantee offering let buyers and sellers shop and sell with total confidence.
Here's how the new eBay service works:
- Drive up with the item that you want to sell (i.e., a pair of Jordans, a Rolex watch, a Clayton Kershaw card)
- Stay in your car while an eBay attendant takes your item inside for inspection
- Once your item is verified, decide whether to accept the offer – with the option to drive away with the money
eBay's Authentication Station at 4450 Beverly Boulevard will be open from Nov. 19 through Nov. 21 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time, and is free for attendees. Appointments aren't required.