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How Foot Locker Is Battling Bots and Supply Chain Delays This Holiday Season

This holiday season, Foot Locker wants everyone to get the shoes on their wish list.

The retailer announced on Tuesday a revamped model for its launch reservation system to help keep product access away from bots and maintain fairness for consumers.

Through the new system, online inventory will now be available for launch reservations. Shoppers looking to purchase sneakers will be prompted to use Foot Locker’s mobile app launch reservation system to participate in select drops.

“We’ve really listened to consumers and their feedback on this,” said Foot Locker Inc.’s CMO Jed Berger. “And I feel really excited about what we have coming.”

Bots, or software applications that expedite the checkout process for products online, have been a constant struggle for retailers like Foot Locker that carry in-demand products, such as high end sneakers.

Foot Locker’s new system comes at an opportune time. Supply chain disruptions are making product shortages more likely, which means demand will outweigh supply even more than usual. This means that bots pose an even greater threat to consumers this year.

Now, via the Foot Locker app, shoppers will be able to pick up their purchases from a nearby store or have it shipped directly to them. Users can also sign up for drops in advance of launch dates to help mitigate consumer and bot traffic on those days.

“That is being done with the objective to get as many individual pairs of launch and coveted product to as many individual feet as humanly possible,” Berger said.

Foot Locker will continually roll out updates to the platform over the next several months in an effort to thwart bots that try to flood the site. Foot Locker rewards program members will have the chance to further improve their chances at winning by trading in points for “head starts” in launches.

Bots aside, Foot Locker has also not been immune to the slew of supply chain problems plaguing the footwear and retail industries. But Berger is still optimistic about being able to meet consumer demand and expectations this season.

“I feel really good that we’ll have strong product that’s in demand,” Berger said. If a launch does need to be delayed, Foot Locker’s goal is to communicate that to the consumer as quickly and clearly as possible.

Like many other retailers, Foot Locker is closing its doors this Thanksgiving Day to give its associates time off with their families. The retailer will open on Black Friday at 6-8 a.m. local time.

BEST GROUP Photo by Angelo Lanza Sponsored By ITA

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