eBay Partners With Sotheby’s Again, Trying Its Luck At High-Priced Auctions – 2nd Time’s The Charm?

EBay has once again partnered with Sotheby’s to venture into high-end auctions.

Apart from the knickknacks that eBay offers, the e-auction platform had partnered with Sotheby’s Auction House last summer, to introduce the elite auction house’s high-priced items. The section which will feature Sotheby’s is claimed to sport a much cleaner and streamlined interface. EBay plans to launch the section next month.

The Sotheby’s section isn’t new. Over a decade ago in 2002, the two companies partnered to launch a similar offering wherein some of Sotheby’s items would also be featured on eBay. However, within just a year, the duo had called it quits. This time around, the companies are better prepared, clarified EBay when asked why it will work this time.

“It’s just a matter of how much technology has changed,” explained a spokesperson.

Asked why it failed the first time, he continued, “That was a bit too head of its time, frankly.”

EBay is confident that, this time around, the partnership will be successful, owing to its internal statistics. It says that “collectibles” accounted for over $8 billion of its business last year. In terms of sales, collectibles clocked more than 3,500 auctions on each day, with prices well in the $5,000 and above bracket. Already launched last year, the “Live Auctions” sub-section has worked wonders for the company, “regularly selling art and jewelry in the $15,000 to $25,000 range”

Needless to say, Sotheby’s primary concern seems to be attracting eBay buyers who are willing to spend big bucks and it hopes the new venture will work in pulling serious art-lovers and enticing them to offer large sums to buy from eBay.

The intention though, from both eBay and Sotheby’s, is to make high-end auctions accessible to a broader audience. Sotheby’s already has an online bidding facility on its own site, but it is expected that eBay’s “mass appeal” will offer buyers a level of comfort that is important to complete high-valued transactions.

For the record, eBay has over 155 million active buyers that Sotheby’s can introduce these auctions to. As for the merchandise that Sotheby’s will sell on eBay, the offerings include a “variety of item types” like photos, paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, said Josh Pullan, e-commerce director for Sotheby’s,

“We’re really engaging and calling out the items for sale that may appeal to an online audience”

EBay promises that the redesigned platform will give people the “same rush” they’d get if they were present in an actual auction room. What that means is live auctions from Sotheby’s will have a number of items being sold in succession, and the auction page will switch from one to the next after each item is sold. Live video feed of the auction will be streamed on the page to enhance the feel of being in a physical auction.

Perhaps these “real-life” experiences will help buyers on eBay participate and pay handsomely for Sotheby’s items.

[Image Credit | Wharton]