/   June 25, 2020

‘An incredible return to activity’: StockX CMO Deena Bahri on how sneakerheads are still spending

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Business lost to the pandemic has rebounded for StockX, an online marketplace where people selling and buying items — sneakers, mainly — negotiate on a price before StockX provides authentication and shipping.

“We’ve seen an incredible return to activity in the marketplace,” StockX CMO Deena Bahri said on the Modern Retail Podcast. “By mid-April we started to see an incredible return back to normal — and even better than normal — shopping behaviors.”

That’s the case even though the company cut its spending on “anything that’s not directly attributable to measurable growth,” Bahri said. StockX reduced its spending on linear TV and marketing at cultural events.

“The more conservative stance on marketing spend has not had a negative impact on business, very fortunately,” Bahri said.

The Detroit-based company was founded in 2015 with an exclusive focus on sneakers. It’s diversified into other streetwear, watches, trading cards and electronics. But shoes are still the main attraction.

Sneakerheads and other consumers may even be turning to shoes as smart investments. A scrolling tape across the bottom of StockX’s homepage announces which footwear is up or down in the market. “Our trend partners that we work with, and some of the things we’ve observed on our own, indicate that people are more prone during a time like this to spend on things that are investments, classics, items that will endure,” Bahri said.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Exclusive events no more
“We had a huge screening planned in LA to debut this film, and obviously we had to shift gears, so we made it a digital event. We got several hundred thousand views and lots of PR coverage. Even though it was very different from originally intended, it was a really engaging event online. Suddenly an event that might have ben exclusive, only accessible to people in a given city — that even tis open to everyone, no matter where they are in the country or in the world. Everyone can dial in from home. That’s one example of where we took something that was very physical, planned to be in LA at a great boutique screening location, and we opened it up to everyone thanks to having to be online.”

Turning to esports
“Obviously in sneakers, sport is a huge passion point. We partnered with many brands — the Cleveland Cavs, the All Star Basketball game — it’s a big part of our calendar. One of the pivots we’ve had to make as those sports have been on pause is going online to [esports], which is incredibly opportune if you think about what’s going on with Gen Z today and how many people are gaming. It’s opened up a whole new world to us that we might have been slower to turn to. With that new world comes a lot of scale and reach. While you’re not going to get to touch and feel the product the way you would at an all star event, you get to engage with us in a different way.”

A time for classics
“Obviously The Last Dance, the [Michael] Jordan and Bulls documentary series, has had a huge impact on our industry. With that came this slew of releases and re-releases of classic silhouettes. Those have been incredibly popular. It reflects a consumer mindset that we’re observing at large, which is this return to classics and investment pieces. Our trend partners that we work with, and some of the things we’ve observed on our own, indicate that people are more prone during a time like this to spend on things that are investments, classics, items that will endure rather than the crazy splurge piece that may be a passing fad.”

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