Starting a Sneaker Revolution with Stadium Goods

Stadium Goods came to us with the idea of revolutionizing the online sneaker consignment space. SUMO Heavy was contracted to build the entire site from the ground up, and today Stadium Goods one of the largest sneaker consignors worldwide.

What we did

  • Growth & Iteration
  • Discovery
  • Agile Planning

Winning The Game by Being Quick on their Feet

Stadium Goods came to us with the idea of revolutionizing the online sneaker consignment space, and were on a mission to do just that. SUMO Heavy was contracted to build the entire site from the ground up, and today they are one of the largest sneaker consignors worldwide.

Challenges

Stadium Goods came to SUMO Heavy with the challenge of building a new store from the ground up. It would first launch online, then retail, and would need to be built for fast growth. In their first 18 months, Stadium Goods had deals with some of the largest sneaker news outlets in the world, a successful retail store, and a website catering to a global audience. Once established, they raised $4.6 million from one of the most successful eCommerce VC firms around – Forerunner Ventures.

Challenge – A Startup with Processes

Stadium Goods was not a project that had a year or two scheduled to build. It had to be done quickly and efficiently. This, combined with custom inventory models, non-standard integrations, and a small team was the first challenge.

To overcome this challenge, we set them up to be agile from the beginning. This was not a technical challenge, rather one of process. Many startups in their infancy will choose to forgo process, and “do what needs to be done”. This is often a mistake, leading to tremendous technical debt later on. Rather than take this route, we worked with Stadium Goods to implement a solid Kanban process that would promote iteration. Features were built that would definitely change later, but were built in a way to allow that change rather than need to be rebuilt from nothing.

Challenge – A Global Audience

Stadium Goods saw something special in TMALL, a massive marketplace spun out of Taobao. They wanted a real-time integration with TMALL, which is no easy task. To start, TMALL prefers that a partner builds the site. This can be a long and drawn out process due to time zone differences, unfamiliarity with the eCommerce platform that the partners’ client is running, and even language barriers.

This is where SUMO Heavy stepped in and worked with Stadium Goods to build the integration. After many late-night calls with TMALL in China, working with translators, and even translating documents and API calls on our side, we were able to have a working integration on-time for when Stadium Goods needed it. This integration has grown with Stadium Goods, and they have even been featured on Alibaba video.

Challenge – Multi-channel

In addition to TMALL, many other integrations are needed. One of the goals of Stadium Goods is to allow consignors to easily list and sell everywhere under a reputable brand. In fact, Amazon, eBay, and other markets are making it harder for smaller sellers to list their products because of rampant fraud issues within the industry. For example, Amazon now charges a fee to new sellers to be able to sell specific brands. Due to Stadium Goods’ positive reputation and selling status, sellers have an easy time getting their product out on the market with a real chance to sell.

Since Stadium Goods is a consignment shop, they sell individual products on behalf of different consignors. This means that if we have two pairs of the same shoe in the same size, each could have a different price or condition.

We worked with Stadium Goods to develop a sync mechanism that keeps all channels up to date upon every sale. This means that if one of those shoes sells on one channel, all other channels are notified and the necessary changes are applied.

These systems change over time as Stadium Goods grows, and new challenges in real-time sync are presented. It is an interesting challenge that we continually work on improving in terms of timing, performance, and accuracy.

Challenge – Serialized Inventory

Stadium Goods required a non-standard inventory model, using that of inventory serialization. It needed to be efficient, and constantly updated. Every instance of a shoe can belong to a different consignor, have different pricing, conditions, and even live in other warehouses. We had to pull this off in a way that didn’t make the catalog larger than necessary, so having one SKU per shoe would not be feasible.

Because thorough processes were implemented, we were able to work together alongside Stadium Goods and their ERP vendor to implement a model on top of their eCommerce platform that provided serialized inventory that integrates with not only their backend systems, but other retail channels as well.

Summary

By implementing formal planning, development, and deployment processes early on, Stadium Goods was able to launch in a timeframe of approximately 6 months. Since launch, the company has had extensive growth, and has expanded into global markets.

SUMO Heavy continues working with Stadium Goods as new challenges are presented, including new business requirements, integrations, and efficiency iterations.

StadiumGoods was acquired by Farfetch in December 2018