LiveAuctioneers and eBay have jointly announced a new partnership that will expand selling opportunities for auction houses in the art and collectibles sector. eBay say that LiveAuctioneers’ technology and client database of more than 5,000 premier auction houses combined with the eBay marketplace will form the infrastructure for a “Buy It Now” after-sale venue set to launch this spring.
“With the goal of bringing exceptional art, antiques, jewelry and vintage collectibles inventory to the eBay platform, we’re excited to partner with a highly regarded industry leader in LiveAuctioneers. LiveAuctioneers’ partners will benefit by having their coveted goods accessible by eBay’s large global customer base.”
– Katerina Frank, Category Manager of Art and Antiques, eBay
Auction houses that use LiveAuctioneers’ online live-bidding platform will have the option of exposing auction inventory to eBay’s 180 million global active buyers. eBay gain inventory of fixed-price art and high-quality collectibles that previously would have been available only via the live-auction route, with anticipated prices ranging from $50 for a vintage toy to $200,000 for an original Impressionist artwork.
Cutting through the blurb of the press release, a number of points jump out. As it’s an ‘after-sale venue’ it suggests that only items which fail to receive their reserve price are likely to be offered. More importantly for eBay, in their last Investor Call they announced the program of buying sales of higher value items through coupons has ended. eBay need new programs to attract high value sales on the site so exclusive access to relatively expensive fine art, antiques and collectibles appears to fit the bill.
What we’ll be watching for is the conversion rates and the volume of product listed for sale. For this to be significant in terms of eBay GMV, it needs to ramp up to be a multi-million flow of sales for it even to start to be significant in terms of eBay results. In terms of attracting new buyers to eBay, the partnership isn’t a bad idea, but it remains to be seen if fine art buyers will convert to buying more general goods on eBay.
LiveAuctioneers and their client services division will manage all bidder communications, payments and fulfillment on Buy It Now purchases, just as they do now for auction houses that use the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform. On the eBay side of the collaboration, designated team members will serve as points of contact in technology and project management to ensure items are discovered by buyers.
LiveAuctioneers is currently in the process of enrolling the charter auction houses that have been chosen to participate in the program. More sellers will be added in the months to come.