How This Online Marketplace Treats Streetwear Like The Stock Market
PSFK sits down with StockX's CEO to discuss the site's unique approach to sneaker culture and its foray into brick-and-mortar
- PSFK chatted with Scott Cutler, the newly-appointed CEO of StockX. His online marketplace acts as a middle man between streetwear buyers and sellers, offering a curated, verified selection of hypebeast-approved shoes, apparel and accessories.
- Unlike other sites, StockX leans into a stock market-like experience, raising and lowering prices based on demand and driving engagement with a live ticker at the bottom of the site.
- The brand recently launched its first permanent retail space in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, providing it with a place to interact with its customers one-on-one.
PSFK: What makes StockX's model so powerful? Why does it resonate so strongly with consumers?
Scott Cutler: It starts with the notion of the product experience, so literally coming to the site and searching for the product that you want. On that one page, we have the opportunity for you to purchase directly or to provide what we would call the bid. It's an executable bid that would say, “I'm interested in praying this price for it.” That way of interacting, in terms of a buy or a bid, is very unique. It's something we're familiar with in financial markets, but less so in a commerce experience.
You have the opportunity to buy a sneaker that's been out of circulation for three months or 10 years or longer. That is dramatically different than what you have with any retailer, with any brand, with any other marketplace. Then when you layer on top of that experience, the notion of us authenticating, to putting our stamp of approval of verification on that.
In the past, you've partnered with brands to release products directly on StockX. Do you see these partnerships continuing to grow?
Clearly, the distribution channel for a brand is under massive disruption. We already know what's happening in the retail landscape. There's still a lot that's happening in the retail to online transition that we're certainly benefiting from. As a result of that, from a brand perspective, how do you reach the consumer directly? With our traffic and with our active buyers that we have already today, we have a very strong value proposition to a brand as a choice in distribution and as a choice to reach the consumer directly.
The challenge in working with us is more associated with just us being a marketplace and us having this notion that pricing is a function of supply and demand in the marketplace, not as a function of what any one party would either desire or want that to be. It's a perfect reflection of supply and demand, which means that if you're selling into it, you need to be comfortable with dynamic pricing. It's either an obstacle or an opportunity, depending on how you look at it.
You recently opened a permanent, physical location. How has the StockX model has been translated into the in‑store experience?
We've been experimenting with how to create tangible experiences with our customers and the brand beyond what we're doing from the marketplace. We've had, for some time, experimented with pop-ups as a strategy in creating a unique experience.
Those people walking in the store see the hundreds of people that are coming in every day dropping off inventory. Then they're looking at the experience that we're providing about what we do as a marketplace—that's more educational. We look at New York as trying to prove out this model of what it looks like to be in both the supply side as well as the demand side of a marketplace.
We have a history around creating activations around places where we've got enthusiast communities, whether that be events or conferences. We have a really strong community of enthusiasts and passionate buyers and sellers.
Are there any plans to continue to further diversify your product categories?
As you look at it today, sneakers, streetwear, handbags, watches—category expansion is certainly something that we're going to continue to look at. We already have another category that's traded that's within streetwear: It's in the collectible areas.
Supreme, beyond being a streetwear brand, also has a lot of collectible categories—an ice sled to a lighter to a tent or a hatchet to a toolbox. The notion of having a product, the notion of tradable value, and that there is a liquid market for it, is probably the category that we would look at for natural expansion.
Lead image: Matt Marzahl/StockX
In Brief:PSFK chatted with Scott Cutler, the newly-appointed CEO of StockX. His online marketplace acts as a middle man between streetwear buyers and sellers, offering a curated, verified selection of hypebeast-approved shoes, apparel and accessories. Unlike other sites, StockX leans into a stock market-like experience, raising and lowering prices based on demand and driving engagement with a live ticker at the bottom of the site. The brand recently launched its first permanent retail space in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, providing it with a place to interact with its customers one-on-one.