Merchant Innovation

eBay and Sotheby’s Launch Live Auction Site (At Last)

Today (March 17) will be marked by two things – wearing green and bidding online. The former is because it is St. Patrick’s Day, the latter because, after a long run-up, eBay and Sotheby’s are finally getting their combined online auction site off.

Sotheby’s live auction page will go live on eBay today – this will mean that “real world” auctions will be going on live and will be tied in, real-time, to the eBay platform.

This natural enough seeming partnership – Sotheby’s is known for its rare, highly valuable inventory while eBay has a decade’s worth of online auction technology – was announced last summer. The pairing carries benefits for both sides. Sotheby’s gets to tap into a younger and more digital client base, and eBay gets a chance to expand both its user base and its inventory.

“We’re seeing appetite for high purchase points across the site,” says Megan Ford, director of eBay’s live auctions. “We went into the bullion category at this high price point and we went into the vehicles category, and every time we move up market our buyers come with us.”

Sotheby’s and eBay’s union carries more than a platform for buying – the UI also includes upcoming auctions, alongside artist interviews, articles, and other content created by Sotheby’s editorial team. The vision apparent is to make the digital auction resemble more closely the real-world experience.

To keep the offline auction in sync with its online counterpart, each online bidder is paired with a representative to place bids on the online client’s behalf on the auction floor.


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