How does eBay France digitize art auctions? Interview with Celine Saada-Benaben, Managing Director

Meeting with Celine Saada-Benaben, Managing Director of eBay France.

On February 15, eBay launched “Live by eBay”, an online auction platform for works of art and collectibles. How does the digitization of the art market open up to everyone in an environment that was very elitist?

Celine Saada-Benaben: Live by eBay is our new platform: an online, live auction experience that takes place one Sunday a month at 6 pm Each month, approximately thirty items are offered for sale in a “popcorn” auction format. An item is auctioned within 60 seconds, and the timer will start again within 30 seconds with each new bid. If there is no new offer, the item is sold at the final price indicated, if the seller wishes. The platform is accessible to everyone, all you need is an eBay account to bid.

Live by eBay allows easier access to art objects and better price transparency. This platform aims to be reassuring for users: they can bid from home-where galleries and auction houses remain scary and fuzzy for neophytes-and we give them all the information on each one of the items sold. Each item has previously been reviewed and estimated by independent experts recognized in the art and collectibles market. Items for sale are estimated at between € 100 and € 2,000 to make sales accessible to everyone. Finally, successful Live by eBay sales (ads and best bid prices) are available on, buyers can compare previous sales before buying. Transactions are secure. We guarantee a high quality buying experience with our 25 years of experience in online auctions.

In summary, Live by eBay allows us to expand the base of buyers – or at least those interested – in larger numbers and democratize access to art and collectibles, both in terms of price. and price. format, fun and secure: I don’t have to travel to feel the frenzy of auctions and I can try to get something extraordinary at an affordable price.

Celine Saada-Benaben: Unlike other marketplaces, eBay does not sell anything on its own account, so we do not compete with sellers registered on our platform. Conversely, eBay is paid through sales.

A face-to-face auction works differently than an online auction. The sometimes tense, always strategic face -to -face encounter of participants encourages the involuntary dissemination of information revealing their intentions. Wouldn’t an online auction be more obscure?

C.SB. : On Live by eBay, there is also “face to face” because, even if users have nicknames, they see others bidding and they have to fight and be quick to win a good item! What also characterizes the experience is the “popcorn” auction format which makes the experience unique and exciting.

To make the experience as transparent as possible, even online, all items sold in ‘Live by eBay’ auctions are pre -selected by independent art market experts, a security guarantee and a point of reference for our consumers who want to protect themselves from fraud. on the Internet – but also for eBay which is relentlessly committed to fighting counterfeiting.

We are also very clear about our pricing policy because the buyer has no additional cost to pay, which really differentiates us from our competitors: the indicated sale price is the final price – and for many items it is still free. the delivery.

Overall, our goal was to simplify transactions as much as possible, hence the birth of another project launched in September and also a resounding success: ‘eBay estimation’. In partnership with France Estimations, the goal of this service is to allow users to know the value of items they own in the home and where the rarity they may not be aware of. So we make this market accessible to everyone, everyone can be a seller and sell something art with complete legitimacy thanks to our estimation service. This guarantees the sale at the right price relative to the market and therefore have more chances to convert the sale!

EBay reached an important milestone at the end of July 2020 with the launch of payment services on its platform, following the expiration of its operating agreement with PayPal. Today, eBay is able to extend payment services to all of its sites

EBay was created in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar, a Franco-Iranian entrepreneur. EBay’s culture remains different from its competitors: sales of second-hand products, a marketplace model that serves small merchants, an insistence on environmental values. How would you summarize eBay’s company culture into three core values?

C.SB. : EBay defends three core value economic opportunities for all, support and non-competition with our sellers, and recognition of a role it must play in society and the responsibilities associated with it.

First, we have a goal at eBay, to connect businesses of all sizes with opportunities on a global scale. That is, from the first moment a seller opens their virtual store, we support them at every stage of their development. Wherever he is, in the heart of Paris or in a small rural village, and whether professional or private, every seller can thrive anywhere in France and around the world. EBay helps develop the economy in regions far from city centers. Today, eBay supports more than 52,000 jobs in France.

Unlike other marketplaces, eBay does not sell anything on its own account, so we do not compete with sellers registered on our platform. Conversely, eBay is paid through sales. Therefore, we all have an interest in attracting sellers, supporting them and satisfying them. Finally, our marketplace activity is based on strong ethical values.

EBay’s competitive advantage is based on innovative payment methods. Facilitating transactions by going virtual is why eBay was founded. In the 2010s, both cryptocurrencies and data changed the world of transactions, by making it possible to avoid national currencies and by making it possible to predict (even create) demand for products and services from individuals. and groups of individuals. . How does eBay continue to evolve to continue to lower transaction costs?

C.SB. : Since its inception, eBay has always had international activity. This is a topic for us: if one of our American sellers sells to a Japanese buyer, the currencies, payment methods and banks are different and the transaction can be complicated. Especially when the buyer is not satisfied and wants to return the product and get paid. Therefore, the question of payment has always been a major topic for eBay, driving us to constantly adapt to changes in payment methods.

EBay reached an important milestone at the end of July 2020 with the launch of payment services on its platform, following the expiration of its operating agreement with PayPal. Today, eBay is able to extend payment services to all of its sites, giving buyers more choice and flexibility in payment methods and making it easier for sellers to do business. EBay continues to launch the program gradually, with the expectation that most sellers will use it in 2021 and the transition to be completed this year, in 2022.

It offers many benefits, including a wider selection of payment options: in addition to the bank cards and PayPal already available, we’ll offer Apple Pay as a payment option on iPhone at iPad. Google Pay will also be available on the eBay site and in the eBay Android app. Similarly, eBay Payment Services allows more fluidity in exchanges during and after transactions, by incorporating VAT, therefore it facilitates international exchanges between countries that do not use both currencies or payment methods.

A major barrier to the growth of online commerce is the mistrust between buyers and sellers. The lack of product homogeneity creates a familiar need for product quality assurance, which can be solved by standardizing products and services or creating links between sellers and buyers. How does eBay build the trust needed to grow its marketplace?

C.SB. : We realize that trust can be critical between buyers and sellers, especially with our 1.6 billion listings available online. It is for this reason that since 1995, eBay has been committed to building this trust, first by being the first to create a rating system for sellers with stars – now taken on all sites. of e-commerce and other apps-allowing us to instantly identify “malicious” sellers.

We also handle all buying and selling processes, for example: calling various verification services, cooperating with the authorities in the fight against counterfeiting and trafficking of cultural products. Our live by eBay and eBay appraisal programs also create this environment of trust and equity that allows for the safe sale and purchase of art and collectibles.

Millions of sellers and buyers trade their goods on eBay every day, and they trust us, so we’re committed to providing them with a secure and always on online marketplace. Because as we said before, we are not against our sellers, we win when they do so we do everything we can to ensure maximum security in their transactions.

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