• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

eBay is growing in the collectibles space

BySamuel M. Craig

Oct 7, 2022
eBay is launching an exclusive Shuri Funko Pop! on its website. | Source: eBay/The Pop Insider

Calling all trading card enthusiasts! eBay dominated the collectible card space this year by establishing new ways for fans to protect and sell their cards. The online market has taken New York Comic-Con (NYCC) to highlight its partnerships with Funko and OneOf; acquaint fans with the eBay Vault; and present the new eBay-exclusive Shuri Funko Pop!, inspired by marvel’s upcoming movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The Pop Insider sat down with Bob Means, director of trading cards at eBay, to learn more about the company’s new ventures. Check it out below!

The Pop Insider: eBay has made great strides in collectibles this year. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s presence online and at the NYCC? What can fans expect this weekend?

Bob means: First of all, we’re super excited to be here. Comics are a huge part of our business, as well as anything that seems to go with comics. I see art there, I see games there. All in all, the collectibles industry is just a major part of eBay’s business. So we’re super excited to be here. We’re also excited to bring some things that are themed.

We currently have NFTs for sale on the site which is an exciting new technology for us to get involved with. It’s a very easy way to buy a part and works like an eBay checkout. It’s all about Slam Girl, and we’ve got the creators here to teach us all about it. We also have exclusive Funko Pops! that we distributed. They went very fast, so if anyone wants to have them, come here early. We also sell exclusive comics at New York Comic Con. There are two store variants and two Spider-Man variants. The Spider-Man ones are really cool because it’s like a three-way collaboration between us, Marvel, and Funko. It’s Spider Gwen and the Black Panther, both in some sort of Funko finish. This is very fun!

PI: eBay recently updated its eBay Vault, where trading card fans can safely buy and sell cards worth over $350. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?

BM: The eBay Vault is an exciting development for us. Again, we think this is ultimately a big chunk of the collectibles business. What it effectively does is allow you [safely] put your cards in there. So I have a few in there that I don’t intend to sell – I have them in there just for storage. But if I want to sell them with one click, I can activate them and now they are sellable. If someone wants to buy them, they can stay in the vault and we can just remove them from the vault. So there are advantages to that. We see a future world where comics could be in there, art could be in there, anything could be in there! It’s just a way to fix some issues people might have from a storage perspective. The security is there, the temperature control is there, and it’s a great place to store your cards as your collections get bigger and bigger. Gone is the grip of the garage and cupboards as collections often do. We’re super excited about the vault right now, and again, we’re working on it with trading cards. For the future, who knows, but comics seem like a logical place to go, as well as art.

PI: How can buyers and sellers of trading cards best use this platform?

BM: I’ll talk about the seller’s side first. I think it’s great for sellers to take their listing seriously, to give good factual information. Of course, make sure you have great photos and also make sure the person knows the exact quality they are getting. This is probably the most important thing you can do on the buy side.

New York Comic Con is interesting because there is such an opportunity to get all types of merchandise. I’ve already scoured the floor, I’ve found art, I’ve found cosplay, I’ve found maps, I’ve found games. It’s very hard to do [in the outside world]. And here in New York, yes, there are game stores, card stores, and comic book stores that still do well. But if you’re in a more rural part of America, eBay offers you all that inventory. You can chase your passion for anything. So if you like anime or something, eBay has it. If you like specific comics, eBay has it. And that’s the niche we see ourselves filling. We help brick-and-mortar stores stay in business by expanding the audience they can sell to.

eBay has partnered with Funko to bring more collectible Funkos to market. | Source: The Pop Insider

PI: eBay is embarking on partnerships with OneOf and Funko. Can you explain why eBay enters into these partnerships? What can fans expect from these collaborations?

BM: Well, OneOf is all about NFTs. We have a few live NFTs on the site right now. And the fun thing about the OneOf relationship is that the transaction is really easy for people who haven’t messed around in the NFT space. It’s an eBay payment, then you get an email that says “Go here to activate your [NFT].” And then OneOf takes care of all the hard work of creating the blockchain and the token for you. We really love this relationship. Funko is just in our blood. Funko has been an important part of eBay. This is a perfect item for eBay. And we think the relationship with Funko just helps us get even more collectible Funko to market faster.

PI: With all the changes to non-fungible tokens, how is eBay working to change the NFT space?

BM: We want to make NFTs easy to understand. We want this to be something anyone can do and engage in the NFT space. We think NFTs are important. We believe that the physical world and the digital world can co-exist and we want people to be more comfortable with that. We believe in exclusively digital products. We believe in physical-only merchandise – and we believe physical and digital can be stacked together and create a really cool moment. So our goal is to bring NFTs to everyone and make it easy for people to understand the process, understand where they own them, and understand how they can redeem them in the future.

PI: Can you comment on the state of the collectibles market in general? What’s new and what can fans expect in the coming months?

BM: Collectibles are as strong as they’ve ever been. We continue to see a lot of energy and enthusiasm in various areas of the business. There are [still] new collectibles appear. I was telling someone the other day that I was trying to find the BMX bike I had as a kid. The pristine BMX bikes of my childhood are now worth 10 times what they were when I was a kid. They are rare, uncommon, nostalgic and fun. So at all times there are emerging markets and niche markets across the spectrum of collectibles. But yeah, comics make great sports cards and great trading card games. This is the reason why we entered into a relationship with Funko. I mean, Funko is awesome and more and more people are learning about them.

PI: Do you have anything else to add?

BM: I’m so glad eBay can be here at New York Comic Con, and if anyone hears this in the four days before we leave and you have a problem with your account, come see us. If you have questions about anything, we’d love to hear feedback. We’d love to talk to you.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.