StockX is an ecommerce platform redefining the future of retail. The platform is designed as a “stock market for things”, on which sellers can list excellent condition items and let the market of buyers determine the appropriate prices. StockX began as a shoe reselling site, but has expanded into additional verticals and has begun releasing products directly onto its site. Already valued at $1B, StockX has proven itself to be both scalable and sustainable in the increasingly competitive reselling space .
ALWAYS AVAILABLE. ALWAYS AUTHENTIC. NEVER SOLD OUT.
Finding an authentic pair of sold out shoes at a fair price was basically impossible before StockX. Buyers would have to sift through hundreds of unique listings just to risk receiving a counterfeit, and sellers would lose time and money trying to sell products of which they didn’t know the real value. StockX tries to solve these issues by bringing transparency, authenticity, and simplicity to the purchase process.
Sellers post products on the website and set an “Ask” amount that must reached by a buyer’s “Bid” for a sale to automatically process, or they can sell immediately to the current highest bidder for the product. All listings for a given product (e.g. Adidas Yeezy 700 V3 Azael shoes) are compiled on a single page where sellers can see past sale data and outstanding bids/asks, which they can use to inform their own submission. These platform features create value for sellers by providing anonymity and eliminating the need to take pictures or communicate back-and-forth with bidders. Additionally, StockX ensures that buyers are legitimate by tying purchases directly to their PayPal accounts and guarantees no returns .
Buyers also benefit from the site’s detailed information and one-page-per-product layout, as it reduces their search time and assuages pricing fears. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the platform, however, is its rigorous authentication process that happens after a product has been sold. Everything sold on StockX is guaranteed to be “deadstock” (i.e. brand new) except a limited number of luxury items, which must be in “pre-owned excellent condition”. The company authenticates all sales at authentication centers around the world, where professional in-house authenticators rigorously verify each product .
The value created by StockX comes at a price to sellers, with a 3% processing fee and a transaction fee taken from the final price of each sale. The transaction price depends on the type of product and decreases as sellers sell more/higher value products through StockX. The fee starts at 9.5% for items like shoes and goes as high as 14.5% for handbags .
NOT JUST FOR SNEAKERHEADS
StockX’s rapid growth can be attributed to its strong network effects and replicability across different product verticals. By providing significant value to buyers at no cost, StockX was able to rapidly ramp-up its base of bidders, making the platform more attractive to sellers. Additionally, many buyers are also sellers (and vice versa) so growth on one side automatically drives growth on the other side of the platform. Same-side network effects are also present, as more users provide greater pricing data accuracy.
The scalability of StockX’s business model has been proven through successful expansions into the watch, handbag, streetwear, and collectibles markets. The stock market model works for any supply constrained product whose current value is not equal to its original price. Additionally, StockX has been able to leverage its existing authentication processes to make expansion cost-efficient.
The next frontier for StockX’s growth will come in the form of IPOs, which are first-time product launches directly on their site using a blind Dutch auction. Companies that are currently selling limited edition products far below market value can alternatively do a StockX IPO to increase revenue while maintaining the exclusivity halo that comes from low volume product runs. The platform has already completed a successful IPO with adidas and expects to move more in this direction in the future .
HERE TO STAY
StockX is positioned to continue dominating in the resale market despite a growing number of competitors because of its early excellence and “sticky” platform design. The simplicity and transparency of StockX addressed key issues with incumbent platforms (e.g. Ebay, Amazon), and continue to differentiate it from newer competitors (e.g. GOAT, Flight Club, and Stadium Goods) . These newer platforms charge similar or higher commission fees, but don’t provide the same level of information to buyers or ease-of-sale for sellers. By offering a superior product early and continually evolving, StockX has managed to keep buyers from defecting.
Additionally, StockX has designed features to further help keep users just on their side. On the seller side, the transaction fee structure rewards loyalty with lower fees and the “My Portfolio” tracking features help sellers assess the value of all their goods and determine when’s right to sell. The portfolio feature is also appealing to buyers for similar reasons and so they can track their portfolios against others . Additionally, the platform’s new IPO feature forces users to only use StockX for certain shoe releases. The last powerful feature of StockX is that it’s hard to be disintermediated due to the financial risk, customer service, and authentication capabilities the platform provides. With all these features in mind, it’s little wonder why StockX has a promising future in online retail.