E-commerce is becoming increasingly hot and important for the greater retail landscape, and the sneaker marketplace is no exception.
Here, Footwear News profiles some of the top players in the industry, focusing on the online shopping platforms with stellar functionality, digital innovation, merchandise mix, content lineup and storytelling abilities.
Check out the ones you can expect big things from in e-commerce in 2018.
Ronnie Fieg and his Kith retail empire dominated sneaker-related headlines in 2017. But the boutique standout isn’t resting on its laurels and will follow its strong showing last year by increasing the focus on digital shopping platforms in 2018. In November, the retailer started the pursuit of appeasing consumers who are on the go by launching the Kith app. And this year, Fieg’s firm plans to improve its overall digital shopping process through all available platforms via enhanced personalized shopping experiences. Consumers will be able to add preferences to their accounts, for instance, to avoid looking at items that are sold out in their sizes.
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Concepts’ successful 2017 campaign will undoubtedly lead to a prosperous 2018. Last year, the retail boutique opened a co-branded store with Adidas in Boston, completed its first year with its flagship door in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and delivered must-have collabs with brands such as Nike, Vans, Mephisto and New Balance. Those wins and several others are sure to keep the Concepts name top-of-mind among today’s web-savvy consumers, who can find reimagined looks from top footwear brands, the best in athletic and fashion-focused footwear, and limited pieces from its private-label collection on Cncpts.com. And for the streetwear specialist who has to be in the know at all times, the retailer has a consistently updated blog with release info and a curated selection of compelling original photography to showcase all its kicks.
Sneaker culture in the U.S. may be most prominent on the East and West Coasts, with New York and Los Angeles having a major influence on what’s hot in the marketplace, but one of e-tail’s best athletic shops is from the South. Louisiana’s Sneaker Politics has developed a stellar name for itself since 2006, with three stores in the state. Its website, Sneakerpolitics.com, will drive growth, delivering a robust offering of kicks from top athletic-inspired lifestyle brands including Asics, Diadora and Saucony, as well as the usual suspects (Adidas, Nike and Jordan). And the site’s compelling imagery is sure to keep the attention of sneaker fiends.
The West Coast-based city retailer has a strong web presence with Shoepalace.com and offers a far different range for sneaker addicts than its East Coast counterparts. The store sells looks from today’s top brands such as Adidas, Nike and Jordan, but it’s the niche labels in the portfolio that separate Shoe Palace from competitors. Companies including Brandblack, Creative Recreation, PF Flyers, Supra and Clear Weather are also available for consumers looking for something unique to add to their collections, and performance-based brands such as Mizuno, Anta and Brooks will help a collector have a complete roster of kicks.
If you’re not close enough to hit one of Bait’s many stores in California, Washington or Oregon, its diverse and eccentric product offering — including sneakers, apparel, toys and collectibles — can also be found on Baitme.com. The retail standout delivered several collaborations throughout 2017 that kept sneaker fans eager for more, including a “Stranger Things”-themed execution on a Reebok silhouette, multiple drops with Puma and a pair of “Astro Boy” looks with Diadora. And if its 2018 collab schedule is anything like last year’s, its website traffic this year should be immense, especially since you need to use Bait’s online raffle system to secure a pair.
With 100 years of retail knowledge behind it, Packer Shoes clearly knows how to navigate an ever-changing marketplace. The New Jersey-based retailer, established in 1907, has managed to not only survive the changes of sneaker selling but also thrive in the competitive landscape and has capitalized on today’s digital shopping habits with a robust online business. In addition to its must-have collabs (which turned heads throughout 2017), the boutique offers top-tier athletic-inspired lifestyle kicks from labels such as Adidas, Nike and Jordan Brand, and heritage names including Ewing Athletics and Fila. And its up-to-date blog, which boasts original photography, release information and more, keeps its online audience current on what will be in-store and on Packershoes.com.
Australia-based retailer Sneakerboy — with five doors in Sydney, Melbourne, Chadstone and Broadbeach — offers one of the most well-rounded assortments of kicks found at any sneaker store in business today. The boutique boasts high-end designer styles sitting next to athletic-inspired looks, all under one roof — and also on one website, Sneakerboy.com. The store is always on top of the current trends, which is sure to appease today’s web-savvy consumers heading into 2018 (there are plenty of chunky sneakers and sock shoes right now to choose from). The retailer stocks luxury labels including Fendi, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and more for the shopper with expensive taste, and athletic-inspired models from brands such as Nike, Y-3 and Adidas for the traditional sneakerhead.