Premium Footwear Could Be The Perfect Fit For Online Marketplaces

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John McPheters came from an era in which sought-after sneakers – and other products – weren’t easy to come by. Buyers and sellers connected through a variety of means, from eBay to person-to-person transactions.

Stadium Goods Co-founder and CEO John McPheters told PYMNTS.com in an interview, “You would go to great lengths to get [them]. There were all sorts of ways that you would go about getting your hands on these sought-after products.”

As a result, McPheters sought to bring better customer service, fulfillment and logistics to the premium-sneaker and streetwear business Stadium Goods. And he wanted to provide an experience that people could trust when buying a product, too.

An omnicommerce marketplace that sells premium footwear, apparel and hard-to-find items, Stadium Goods operates across eCommerce platforms and in a brick-and-mortar store in New York City.

Sourcing The Items

Stadium Goods works on a consignment model. Sellers can bring their items into the company’s New York store or they can print out a label and send the items to the company. When Stadium Goods receives the items, it authenticates them. Staff members hand review each item: They examine details such as labels, packaging and, in the case of shoes, how they are laced.

Even so, not all items that the company receives make the cut. But items that do can make it on the site fairly quickly, McPheters said.

Stadium Goods can sell items through a variety of channels such as, yes, eBay. “We have flexibility around where we publish – what items go where – and we use that,” McPheters said.

While the focus of Stadium Goods is on footwear, it also offers collectibles and toys – among other items. And, according to McPheters, the company plans to expand its product line over the next six to 12 months.

Brick-And-Mortar Stores

Stadium Goods’ New York brick-and-mortar store attracts a variety of customers. For example, many visitors from out of town visit the store. McPheters said, “We have a lot of tourists that come into our store that are coming to New York looking for this type of product.”

There are also other audiences, such as parents shopping for their kids. McPheters added, “[There are] a lot of different profiles.”

Either way, the store makes a good venue for displaying the merchandise. “It’s a great way to actually showcase the product,” McPheters continued. “You don’t get a sense of breadth until you’re sitting in the store.”

Though the company does have collectible items, it does sell some items below retail. The average sale, however, is $375, according to McPheters.

Stadium Goods’ store comes as other digitally-native retailers – even ones that focus on consignment – are turning to brick-and-mortar stores to reach consumers, too. For instance, thredUP sees its business model translate to brick-and-mortar stores and it sees them as an important part of its business.

“When we look at our piece of the retail pie — the percentage of retail that will be driven by resale — we think about how we can be an even bigger part of people’s lives,” thredUP’s CEO James Reinhart told Gloss.co. “That’s when you really start to see just how important the physical-retail piece is in the overall ecosystem. It’s about making it at as seamless as possible for everyone.”

Beyond brick-and-mortar, the resale industry is a booming business. Research from the NDP Group from 2017 shows that, excluding antiques and Goodwill stores, the resale industry in the U.S. generates annual sales of $9.42 billion annually. In footwear, NDP research found that new and used shoes generated $17.2 billion in sales in the U.S. alone.

The Road Ahead

Overseas, Stadium Goods is doing well in China. There, the company sells its products through Alibaba’s TMall.

The company’s inventory is popular there as brands make decisions on where to sell goods, and their decisions don’t always match up with local demand. Kids in China, for example, are often looking for goods that are sold in the U.S.

With authenticity concerns in China, Stadium Goods can also serve as a validator and guarantee that the products it sells are, in fact, genuine.

“People trust it,” McPheters said. “They know the source. They know what they’re getting.”

But Stadium Goods isn’t just focused on China. The company is looking at other international markets, too.

McPheters added, “You name it; we’re looking at it. It’s a big part of where we’re headed.”

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