This year eBay will be launching eBay Authenticate™, a new program designed to boost consumer confidence when purchasing high-end merchandise on the site.
eBay is boosting its standard for operating a trusted and safe online marketplace, devoting substantial resources in a variety of trust and safety initiatives, including its new authentication program, eBay Authenticate™, a service powered by a network of professional authenticators.
The company says it’s another step up in raising the standard of e-commerce, but also to help its 165 million plus global active buyers to shop its platform with confidence.
Laura Chambers, vice president of eBay Consumer Selling talks about the new program:
Q: Tell me more about this authentication program.
Laura: eBay pioneered buying and selling online. We created the first ever e-commerce trust infrastructure at scale, making it safe and secure for consumers to transact. We’re currently developing a service that will further benefit both buyers and sellers on our marketplace. We know that many shoppers may be hesitant to purchase high-end products online. This service is designed to help quell some of those concerns, and in turn, enhance the opportunity for our sellers to get top dollar for their items.
Q: How will the authentication program work?
Laura: Throughout the course of the year, we’ll be testing and building out the foundation of the program, but the basic premise is there will be an authentication service powered by a network of professional authenticators that sellers and buyers can take advantage of.
eBay sellers who sell certain types of inventory, such as high-end handbags, will have an opportunity to opt-in to the authentication service for a fee when listing a product. In return, there will be messaging on their listing that highlights that the item will be reviewed by a professional authenticator before it’s delivered to the buyer. If the item sells, a professional authenticator will examine the item for authenticity. If the item passes inspection, the item will be forwarded to the buyer. To further bolster consumer trust in this program, if a buyer receives an item following inspection and it’s found to be inauthentic, eBay will refund the buyer two times the cost of the original purchase price.
For listings within specific categories where the seller hasn’t adopted the authentication service, the buyer will still have the ability to utilise the service for a fee.
Q: Is there a certain category of inventory this service pertains to?
Laura: We’ll initially be focusing on areas within the fashion category, such as high-end handbags, as we know this particular set of inventory causes some consumers apprehension in their purchase journey. Based on our learnings, we’ll look to broaden the service out further.
Q: Who does the program benefit?
Laura: For buyers, the service adds another layer of trust to allow them to shop confidently. And for sellers, the service will be most beneficial for those who are looking to part ways with their high-value items, but don’t necessarily have a long established selling history on eBay. For our more established sellers, the service may not be as meaningful given they’ve likely established a trusted reputation, but it will certainly be available to all sellers.
Q: How does this program tie into eBay’s anti-counterfeit efforts?
Laura: We view this program as an extension of our existing industry-leading anti-counterfeit initiatives. We utilise a combination of sophisticated detection tools, enforcement and strong relationships with brand owners, retailers and law enforcement agencies to present our customers with a safe, trusted shopping experience. Back in 1998, we launched our best-in-class Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program, which allows more than 40,000 rights owners to quickly report possible counterfeit goods. Less than a fraction of a percentage point of all items listed on eBay were identified as potentially counterfeit. This program simply helps our buyers have more confidence on the great, authentic inventory that we have on the site, and enable our sellers to benefit from that confidence.
Q: What is the timing for launching this program?
Laura: We’ll be piloting various elements of the program in the coming months, and aiming to make this broadly available toward the end of this year (2017).