It’s 12:15am Sunday morning, I can’t sleep for trolling the net still pissed that I haven’t copped anything from this Saturday’s drop. If you are not sure what I’m talking about, stay with me.
Saturday 14th April 2018 witnessed a heavyweight retail battle like none before. (Nike vs adidas) Virgil and Kanye sparring off who’s got the better colab - OFF-WHITE vs YEEZY a family now divided (formerly Kanye's Creative Director). A community brought together to see who can (try) and cop the hype sneakers. This is basically a behemoth in modern culture bringing street, art, music, fashion all colliding to bring you a sneaker. This still blows my mind. Even with everything going on in the world, the atrocities in Syria, Trump commonwealth games yet #OFFWHITE and #YEEZY were the top trending tweets people are talking about.
It’s now 12:37am and I’m queuing up to get into an online store! How does this even work? I am shopping on FOOTPATROL website and because of the millions of people trying to shop you are placed in a waiting room while the traffic is marshalled and given time to shop.
Wait!!! Online is supposed to be the speedy, uncomplicated killer to the physical retail experience, taking out the stress, time and sometimes obnoxious sales associate. Now we have online waiting rooms. This is not a new thing and has been used in other platforms before mainly ticket resale - think Glastonbury and V-festival etc. I was very dubious and thought about getting my precious sleep before the children wake me up. I have to continue now, I’ve gone this far and who knows I might be in with a chance of copping a hype sneaker to add to my collection. You see I had already invested so much time, insta following, tweeting, subscribing and waiting to see if I can possibly be in with a chance.
My alarm set and phone charged ready for the game. You see it’s a game now. It’s a hustle, a grind to be in with a chance of owning the latest release. (I will do another feature on the real sneaker game soon, this piece is about the "retail experience)". So my strategy is set. Go to the adidas website for the YEEZY 500. So I’m in the queue and then jump to the SNEAKRS app to enter the draw for the VaporMax Flyknit x OFF-WHITE and then switch back to adidas. It’s important to have a strategy so you can shop efficiently. Maybe it’s me but that’s how I have generally shopped. I know where I want to shop, and most of the time what I want to buy.
Oh no major curve ball!!!! My ticket hasn’t been entered!! On the SNEAKRS app you have 30 minutes to enter the draw and then you are (supposedly) picked at random. I quickly try and refresh the screen check on Twitter the holy grail of knowledge to see if anyone else has trouble. Quick back to adidas join the queue check SNEAKRS app, still problems tweet @NikeUK and complain that the service I am receiving is not acceptable - it’s software, come on!
After about 24 minutes of this frantic back and forth I’m in!! My entry is in to purchase them with 2 seconds to spare, back to adidas and, of course sizes are selling out quick. Again, placed in a virtual holding pen waiting for time in the sneaker pit. Ok, by now I’ve sneaked away to check all the other boutiques in my contact lists no joy, most have these virtual waiting areas...
Your entry is not selected for the VaporMax Flyknit x OFF-WHITE. Not a surprise, L is probably the most used letter in isolation on Twitter. Who copped an L?
Millions reply distraught and frustrated, wait, wait I’m in. I’ve got the OFF-WHITES in my cart check out quick. Come on!
That’s exactly what I received - blank space and air time. The cart has frozen. I’m so close I can see my usual delivery driver handing them to me on a cardboard platter whilst I think how can I sneak these past the wife. You see she doesn’t understand my obsession and it has become that. It’s like a drug and can give you incredible highs but also devastating Ls.
Another failed attempt, trying to cop sneakers. The traffic to hundreds of platforms are just insane. Billions of people across the world vying to cop these kicks. Whilst the brands and retailers celebrate at letting us ramp up the hype to fever pitch and drive traffic to their own sites and add currency to their virtual accounts (I know I can’t believe it myself) and I love it. The only other way to describe this online shopping experience is to compare it to the famous next January sales or Macy’s Black Friday sales. Thousands of people sleeping over from the previous night, hours, sometimes days before the store opens in the hope they can grab the bargain of the century. I used to laugh at those people saying I will never do that yet I’ve just done exactly the same from the passenger seat of the car whilst my wife drives obliviously unknowing of the stress I’m going through trying to buy a pair or two of sneakers. L O L
I give up all hope of trying to purchase now. There is a relatively small window when you can cop and my window had closed firmly shut or so I thought...
12:57am now and I’m still queuing, my mind wondering, thinking I should just go to sleep, my eyes are getting heavy, but the indication bar is almost complete. I must keep going now. After all my pal has just copped the same pair 45 minutes before me. Keep going - come on!! By 1:01am I’ve spent about 2 mins of actual shopping. I found the coveted YEEZY 500 Desert Rat, added my details, checked out, received the confirmation, happy with my purchase and off to bed I go.
What a crazy day of shopping! The highs and lows are unreal and would appear to resemble an addict. My name is Cory Barrett and I’m a sneaker head!!!
I chat with my boys at the club and they have had the same dramas, frustrations and Ls . Everyone jokes at having to have some retail therapy to take your mind of the stresses of life but now retail is the cause and not the answer to a problem we are giving the brands and the marketeers exactly what they want and that’s increased traffic, followers, likes, retweets and money at the end of the day.
Online shopping (in particular mobile, which has accounted for nearly 60% of Ecommerce sales) has given so much to the retail experience and shouldn’t be seen as destroying the physical retail experience but seen it as enhancing the entire experience. Now more than ever experiences are what sets you apart. Most companies will have access to the same tech but what is hard to re-create is that human, instinctive, tactile emotional connection we can have with people, clothes, sneakers and each other.
If you ask Siri what she thinks of these sneakers? - (try it)
She says “It’s your opinion that counts Cory”
We thank FOOTPATROL for at least giving us a level shopping field. And I cannot wait to receive my parcel.
As I write this article - ping email notification from FOOTPATROL
Unfortunately you order was unable to be fulfilled
Delivering me the biggest