For anyone who has sold clothes through a reseller, selling fees are a natural part of the process, with platforms taking a percentage of a sale, a flat fee or a tiered fee based on a seller’s frequency of selling. But eBay, in a play to siphon sellers from other players in the sneaker resale space, has dropped selling fees for sneakers entirely.
EBay typically charges around 10% of the item’s sale value, with variations based on the product sold and the seller’s account tier. But as of Tuesday, sneakers no longer carry any selling fees for pairs sold for more than $100.
To support this change and bring more attention to its sneaker category, eBay began dropping a new colorway of the Yeezy 700 for below the retail price every day since Tuesday. It will have seven more mystery drops daily starting on Thursday.
The move comes as eBay is in the midst of trying to take back its prominence in the world of sneaker resale. After being the original spot that both collectors and flippers turned to to buy and sell coveted sneakers, eBay became just one of many in the space after platforms like GOAT, StockX and Grailed entered the market. As competition between all those players heats up, removing selling fees entirely is one way the company is looking to get back on top and stimulate its own internal sneaker economy.
“For our community of sneakerheads, eliminating selling fees allows them to turn their sneakers into more cash to fund future purchases, and results in a more robust sneaker inventory for shoppers everywhere,” said Jeff Chan, head of men’s footwear and apparel at eBay.
Sneakers are a key area for growth for eBay. In 2019, 6 million pairs of sneakers were sold through eBay, and $10 million worth of sneakers were sold on eBay in 2018, up from $2 million the year before. For comparison, StockX brought in about $700 million last year, though that includes its other categories, which make up a smaller portion of the company’s total revenue.
“Sneakers are having a moment and are a top enthusiast category on the marketplace: on average, a pair of shoes is purchased on eBay every 1.5 seconds,” Chan said. “What separates eBay from other sellers is our strong partnerships with other brands. On eBay, top sneaker stores like Stadium Goods are ‘always open’ to a global audience across every time zone, so you can check out their eBay store to browse and buy the latest must-haves.”
EBay isn’t alone in lowering selling fees as a way to bring in more customers, though it is among the only ones to completely forego selling fees for one category. When Vestiaire Collective’s new CEO Max Bittner came on board in November last year, one of the first things he did to grow the seller audience was lower selling fees by an average of 10% across all categories.
“By looking at our internal data, we believed this to be the optimal number to entice more sellers, knowing they will be able to sell at a faster rate while continuing to make a profit, and also offer buyers the pieces they desire at an attractive price,” Bittner said, noting that sales of lower-priced items nearly tripled after the change was enacted.
Competing on selling fees is also important since eBay does not compete with other resellers on authentication. For sneakers, there is no authentication process in place like the robust processes that StockX or GOAT have. These platforms have invested heavily in expanding their internal authentication teams, citing consumer trust as a valuable asset to cultivate. EBay said that, while it does not authenticate sneakers, there are a variety of ways to report fakes found on the site.