“How eBay’s authentication process pulls in the most dedicated sneakerheads” by Katishi Maake via Retail Brew

“How eBay’s authentication process pulls in the most dedicated sneakerheads” by Katishi Maake via Retail Brew


To date, eBay has authenticated more than 4 million shoes globally, and on average, there are 1.7 million listings on the site each day, the company said.

Talk to any sneakerhead and they’ll tell you authenticity matters (and what they copped in the latest Jordan drop).

The practice of buying, trading, and reselling sneakers has become its own market, but the worst-case scenario for buyers is paying for something that’s not the real deal.

As we’ve previously covered, eBay historically was the place for consumers to buy and sell rare products and collectibles, but the company has faced increased competition from emerging online marketplaces like StockX and Grailed. Even Nike launched its own refurbished resale business in 2021.

It’s why eBay has gone all in to court the most dedicated sneakerheads, by building its authenticity guarantee program, which ensures that every transaction made on the site is vetted by experts before shipping off to a seller. And it’s a strategy the company will employ as it seeks to build out its streetwear offerings as well.

“This is a group that, without trust, you really can’t engage with them,” Garry Thaniel, global general manager of sneakers and streetwear at eBay, told Retail Brew. “They have to trust that products are real, [and] they know their products as well.”

Prove it to me: Items that are eligible for authenticity guarantee—which also include watches, handbags, and trading cards—are automatically added to the program. Products have a blue check mark that badge buyers can view on the product page. When a sale is made, the item is sent to the authenticator’s address, and once it’s inspected and approved, it’s then shipped to the buyer.

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  • Ebay is also using near field communication (NFC) tags buyers can scan to view a landing page that shows who, where, and when a sneaker—or any product—was authenticated.
  • Plus, in 2021, eBay introduced 3D True View, an AI-powered technology that gives owners a high-definition view of a sneaker to more carefully examine everything from marks on the soles to creases on the toe box.

As with eBay Refurbished—the company’s program that sells repaired goods—athleticwear companies like Adidas, Puma, Reebok, and New Balance also have their own pages on eBay’s website where shoppers can buy directly from them.

“People want to trust the shopping experience, and that’s what we’re really trying to lean into,” Thaniel said. “We’re trying to make sure that from an enthusiast standpoint, people who care about certain categories, we lean into those categories.”

Got ’em: The US retail sneaker market is worth nearly $24 billion, with the resale market valued at over $2 billion, per Statista. Thaniel believes there’s a bigger slice of the pie for eBay to capture and build on its growth.

  • To date, eBay has authenticated more than 4 million shoes globally, and, on average, there are 1.7 million sneaker listings on the site each day, with 14 pairs sold every minute, the company said.
  • The general enthusiast shops eBay an average of 30 times a year and spends more than $3,000 annually. Enthusiasts are valuable to eBay because they also spend ~$5,000 annually outside of their “passionate category,” according to Thaniel.

EBay plans to introduce its authenticity guarantee to streetwear whose customers have a similar profile to sneaker enthusiasts. As a professed sneakerhead, Thaniel said he dabbles in streetwear and trading cards as well and believes there are many more people who do the same.

“What we try to do is make sure that where we see those enthusiast overlap opportunities, we speak to them, both very targeted within our categories, but also broadly as we think about where else do they like to shop,” he said.

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