The Future of The eBay Authentication Service
2021 has seen a huge expansion of the eBay authentication service. Due to the rise in popularity of luxury watches and limited edition sneaker sales throughout 2020 eBay introduced this service to encourage buyers to part with their hard-earned cash in confidence.
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This authentication service recently rolled out to include designer handbags that are of a designer brand and have a sale price of $500 or more.
This service on paper sounds like a fantastic string to the bow of eBay and allows them to compete with the new kids on the block like StockX who offer a similar service for sneakers. Sadly this experience hasn’t been a plain sailing one for many eBay sellers or buyers.
How eBay Authentication Is Supposed To Work
If your item is eligible for eBay Authenticity Guarantee, it is automatically added to the authenticity program, free of charge with no opt-in or opt-out option.
Any items included in the eBay Authenticity Guarantee program display a blue Authenticity Guarantee checkmark badge. Buyers will see the badge on the search results page, the view item page, the checkout page, and their Purchase history page.
When a sale is made, the seller has to send the item to the authenticator’s address provided by eBay. Once the authenticator receives the item, the inspection is processed within 2 business days for watches and 3 business days for sneakers and handbags.
Once the authenticator confirms the item is consistent with the listing title, description, and images, they perform a physical authentication inspection. If the inspector cannot determine that the product is authentic, or if the product is not as described in the listing, the item will be returned to the seller and the buyer will receive their money back. If the item passes inspection, it will be shipped to the buyer with 2-day secure delivery, including signature confirmation.
Still Issues With The Authentication Service
Unfortunately, the eBay Authentication Service has been on the receiving end of some bad press since its release. We even covered this back in April when they were getting criticism for the service delivered for those authenticating sneakers.
The problems are still taking place to this day, with just a quick Twitter search highlighting a plethora of issues had by both buyers and sellers. Even the eBay forums feature a number of posts highlighting issues with the authentication program.
More seasoned sellers may actually remember that eBay launched a handbag authentication service back in 2017, we have no idea what happened to that program back in 2018 but it has now been resurrected for 2021. The question I think most sellers will have is if the authentication service is currently struggling to meet the demands and timescales when it comes to sneakers, is it wise to add a whole new product category to the service?
On paper, the eBay Authentication Service is a fantastic string to the eBay bow. Even after all the years that eBay has been around, they can still battle with the stigma of being a website where fake and counterfeit products are rife. Whilst eBay veterans know this is not the case, the Authentication service provided by eBay would go a long way to bring more trust to buyers of more high-end luxury items.
The thorn in the proverbial side is the customer service levels currently being experienced by both some buyers and sellers. If eBay can’t provide the service levels that eBay users are expecting or even what they are promising, then this is going to run the risk of turning users away from eBay.
The Authentication service is a fantastic addition to the eBay platform. On the news this week that eBay adding Handbags to their offering, the stock price of The RealReal dropped as they offer a competing service. StockX has seen success with its authentication service and eBay definitely has the same potential. It will all come down to execution and it feels like eBay needs to focus on the internal processes and ultimately the customer experience.
Whilst you could argue that customers might be more understanding when spending large sums on luxury items to ensure their authenticity, that understanding only stretches so far.
With so much potential hopefully, eBay can fix some of these processing times and expand the authentication service further.
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Dave is a Co-Founder of eSeller365. For over 10 years he has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant, he built an education platform called UnderstandingE that showed the world how to utilize Magento as the “Third Generation of Multi-Channel software”.
Dave has also created a YouTube channel dedicated to entrepreneurship and eCommerce as well as a podcast dedicated to mental health awareness. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include learning and playing Chess, researching the Crypto and NFT space, and trying to find the nearest beach.