What I learned from COVID’s Impact on Sneaker Retail and the Future

netmagnetism blog 0705 travis

Before all this chaos, who could have imagined a virus could put the whole world at a standstill for months?  I still remember the day stores started shutting down, people were expecting this to last maybe at a few weeks tops…and now we are more than 3 months in and we are still struggling to return to normal.  I said this before and I will say it again…this virus is probably going to kill just as much businesses as people once this all blows over.  From a sneaker perspective, we felt the impact all the way from the top with Nike having all it’s logistics and release schedule all messed up and it’s a no brainer that all the guys at the bottom of the food chain would also feel the impact.

Before all this, I never was very high on retail and brick and mortar space because to me not only is it inefficient to always have someone at the store at fixed hours, but also it’s evident consumers are changing their consumption behaviour.  Retail was already facing many challenges prior to this and with this haymaker, I don’t know if retail would ever be the same.  This is also why I set my vision very clear from the beginning and I told myself I would never have a storefront re-selling sneakers.  The sneaker re-sell model isn’t really meant to have a store front because in simple terms the margin simply isn’t enough.  I mean if you’re making only 10% spread on each sale, you better be doing a LOT of volume or else you’ll just be working for free to pay rent and hence only a few players are able to survive in this space.

Speaking from my perspective, being entirely online helped me mitigate a lot of business continuity risk this year and quite frankly the impact of Covid was very minimal for me.  In fact, business was actually better than the prior year, but aside from a little bit of shipping and logistics headaches here and there, it was basically business like normal for me.  The story could have been very different if I was a store front as opposed to online website.  A lot of re-sell shops I know don’t really concentrate on their online retail presence at all. Their main focus is the in store experience and this became a big problem when Covid came along and stores were forced to closed.  Building online retail presence and in store experience is VERY different.  One can’t just build a online presence overnight…it takes time to build the audience and the back-end operations.  With Covid coming in so hard with minimal warnings, many businesses didn’t even have the time to prepare.

At the end of the day, in my opinion Covid was a great test for all sorts of businesses in the world to see how diverse your business model really is. All businesses have continuity plans that anticipates certain scenarios from happening and what to do if it does happen.  I’m sure not many would have anticipated something as serious as Covid, but this helps businesses that are able to survive after this to plan better in the coming future because in my opinion if something like Covid can happen today, it can happen tomorrow.  As a business especially those that are heavy in brick and mortar retail, it might be a good idea to diverse the business model going forward.


One thought

  1. True all businesses with retail shops are suffering, practically they have no customers or very very limited customers , right now i feel sneakers are doing good only with a hope of everything being back to normal, because if its not normal people wont be buying sneakers and just wear at home everyday


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