Tom Sachs at Kohl’s?

After having a highly successful release in June 2022 Tom Sachs General Purpose, everyone is surprised that a similar model is ending up at Kohl’s. Tom Sachs made a huge deal about wanting to make his shoes accessible to his “real fans” on the June 2022 release. It seems that Nike had a different strategy to reach “real fans” by selling out products on SNKRS and then shipping products to specific Kohl’s locations in the US. It seems it was a totally separate strategy from the issue of the bots getting all of Tom Sachs’s Products.

People are suggesting that bots bought up all the stock online and now they are all available at Kohl’s, which wouldn’t be the most shocking event of 2022.

User during original Tom Sach release

What many people don’t know is that Nike has a rich wholesale relationship with Kohl’s. Now, they are using that relationship to do neighborhood drops for cities without sneaker stores for exclusive releases and selling discounted shoes that were not highly popular on Nike.com. Recently, Nike has struggled with excessive inventory and began discounting its products. In order to sell more products, Nike has been giving more exclusive products to stores like Kohl’s. The strategy is to sell as much excess inventory as possible through their DTC and brick-and-mortar channels.

Nike has implemented a hybrid strategy of getting people to buy through SNKRS, and once sold out, or raffle is closed to entice customers to go to Kohl’s. Once at Kohl’s, customers are exposed to other Nike products that are less “high heat” and likely at a discount. It is a tactful strategy, as Nike uses their releases to get engaged online, check their local stores (where they do not have a Nike nearby) to buy products, and cross-sell them by having them in the stores. The one purchase per customer is a different story and will cause new resellers, massive returns, and more deadstock (another topic). Hey — at least you get Kohl’s cash…

This is an emerging trend, so do not be shocked when more “high-heat” items come to a Kohl’s by you — these products were likely over forecasted and/or using Kohl’s as neighborhood sneaker stores. If you are a brick-and-mortar reseller, you should know that Kohl’s has a flexible return policy.

At Yofi (previously BotNot), we know there was a bit of a flaw in the data calculation that caused these exclusive inventories to end up at Kohl’s. We know that Tom Sachs’ original release was done via raffle and heavily botted. Let’s say the raffle entry had 350k entries (this is just a guesstimate). They could look through the raffle entries and eliminate the egregiously bad bots (e.g., basic fuzzing, putting your bot handle in address line 2, etc.). Let’s say that brings it down to 200k entries. How do they discern the Alex GoodActor vs. Alex BadActor?

Realistically, they will randomly pick users they’ve purchased on the site. This becomes problematic because they can justify and say, well, we had 200k entries that could be good, and get reported to Nike that there was high demand for these shoes and we need more inventory.

From there, that goes into the forecasting of how many shoes should be released for the next drop in the next colorway. Obviously, the yellow-orange colorway will be harder to move, but that’s accounted for in the consumer demand and “heat of the shoe” (heat being how much need it has).

The bad customer experience stemmed from bots buying out the previous inventory of the original colorway and skewing the perception of customer demand. Now you need to go in stores to buy a sneaker that was supposedly sold out on SNKRS. I am all about the OG sneaker releases (scavenger hunt and more). However, this seems to stem from not only knowing the number of inventory to allocate, where your customer base is (which seems like random drops), and how to effectively reach your customers. I won’t plug Yofi (previously BotNot) too much, but @Tom Sachs can help you with this.

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Yofi-AI

Yofi-AI

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Yofi empowers brands and retailers better understand their customers, their intentions, and the best way to interact with them.