StockX has been the fastest growing sneaker resale platform created. The company was launched with influencers and the “Now You Know” ads featuring Wale and YouTubers like Foamer Simpson to gain credibility with the sneaker community. They then landed in a Super Bowl commercial with Rocket Mortgage. Following these marketing strategies, the platform rolled out commercial spots during WNBA games and they eventually became the sponsors of the NBA’s Ignite G League team. StockX didn’t stop there. One of their latest tactics was to sign women’s college basketball star Paige Bueckers to a NIL deal. The range of strategies implemented by the company has led to the most explosive growth among any reselling platform. Today, a comparison with the website traffic of StockX’s competitors reveals the extent of their advertising spend. Below are charts comparing StockX with GOAT and Stadium Goods. To better understand why this article is written, I also share Foot Locker’s traditional retailer traffic:
Marketing and corporate branding are becoming increasingly complex. Digital media is multi-layered with floors in a building where social media is the first level (the simplest, but least measurable tool focused on branding vs. action), traditional media (television and print), which have gone digital through apps, on the second tier (ads placed in shows with product placement), content media systems on the third tier (such as blogs which in many cases , have usurped print media) and fourth-tier video platforms (social media rooted in video content created by both hobbyists and mainstream news services recognizing the power of this format). StockX has been actively involved in both branding and marketing, taking an elevator to each floor in an attempt to find what works. All brands and retailers are actively moving between floors in search of the perfect combination to drive engagement. There is no one method that works. Marketing requires constant testing and results to inform strategy. There’s no publicly available data to show StockX’s marketing budget, but watching the startup navigate explosive growth reveals a series of tests. In light of StockX’s ongoing lawsuit and recent layoffs, it was interesting to see their current strategy take shape.
The video and image above are on the fourth floor of the brand and marketing building. Video content is key to meeting the consumer where they are. The image is of considerable importance. In the process of adding movie reviews to this site, I was pulling YouTube trailers to supplement the content. Note the number of open tabs and the type of movies searched on YouTube. During the search, an ad appeared showing StockX. This ad was interesting because it couldn’t be skipped (a more expensive option when advertising) and it added to a trend I had noticed. The platform was stepping up the promotion of various categories apart from the streetwear and sneaker sections. The ad was a colorful promotion for handbags and watches that clearly appealed to a demographic not typically associated with StockX. The notifications I receive are often for toys and trading cards, not sneakers. Now consider the Rose Anvil video. Rose Anvil is one of the most watched stations on YouTube. The chain is famous for its authentic take on shoe quality. Rose Anvil began by breaking down handcrafted boots and leather goods. The owner, recognizing the growth opportunity by breaking down sneaker construction, pivoted and the chain’s growth was explosive. In a completely unexpected alliance, StockX sponsored the above comparison video by Rose Anvil. Although the two marketing strategies here are completely different, they both serve to elevate StockX in the mind of the consumer. Advertising aimed at women with handbags offsets the target on their backs placed there by Nike’s lawsuit. The ad with Rose Anvil tells viewers that StockX can be trusted, again offsetting Nike’s claims that the site sells counterfeits.
StockX has been aggressive in driving website traffic. Lately, they’ve focused on ads that establish platform credibility. This is essential because Nike has nibbled the site. For the first time in two years since the site hit over 40 million monthly visits in 2020, StockX fell below the 30 million hit mark. What is at the heart of the slowdown is debatable, but inflation and sites’ effectiveness in removing resale barriers are certainly contributing factors. Nike’s lawsuit against the company is also a factor. Can marketing and branding add up to offset the negatives and help StockX regain its footing? It’s to do. Have you noticed any changes in the marketing of the sneaker industry?