Twitter Redefines Online Shopping

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Photo courtesy of sneakernews.com

A controversial topic that has arisen in recent years has been the popularity of Michael Jordan’s ‘Jordan’ brand sneaker line, and the ways in which retailers have chosen to release limited edition styles and colorways.  Beginning in 1984 with his signature shoe the Michael Jordan 1, Jordan has built an empire with Nike that started with shoes, and has since transformed into a total lifestyle brand.  Jordan Brand is the epitome of class, style, and basketball culture, that has transcended many other sports and has found a way to carve out a very unique space in the sportswear and lifestyle brand market.  Nike struck gold in using Jordan’s superstar status and potential when he first entered the NBA in turning it into what it has become today, and it started a new standard for shoe companies endorsing athletes.  It may be impossible for another athlete to surpass what Jordan and Nike have created over the past 30 years, but with great accomplishments often come unique issues as well.

The popularity and exclusivity of Jordan sneakers has created a dangerous culture when it comes to consumers getting their hands on a pair of these iconic sneakers.  In recent years the brand has been incredibly successful in “re-releasing” certain styles of their sneakers, but it has proven to be a dangerous business for some.  The typical model included stores setting a date and time when a shoe style would be released and where consumers could find them.  Often times there are limited quantities available, which causes the demand to sky rocket, and some people’s morals to plummet.  Any given shoe release could see hundreds of people camp out outside of stores for their shot at purchasing a rare pair, despite the long lines or brutal weather conditions, and similar to the horrific Black Friday stories we hear of each year violence is not an uncommon side effect.  Jordan’s and violence is by no means a new phenomenon, and unfortunately dates back to May of 1989 when 17 year old Michael Eugene Thomas was gunned down during an argument that started over his sneakers.

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Over the years the problem has not gone away with violence breaking out all over the country, leaving many trying to figure out what the solution could be.  Strictly online orders left many people with no products as automated purchasing services and re sellers would buy up all the inventory and resell the product at an incredibly high and unfair price.  I think social media has produced a way to reach the consumers in this market in a safe, secure and fair way.

A Philadelphia based retailer named City Blue decided to take a different approach. After announcing that they would be re-releasing three pairs of sneakers, they created a unique way to do it.  First, they tweeted that they would tweet a link at some point on Monday, March 21 with a form for all interested purchasers to complete.  Their strict rules would disqualify anyone using automatic payments, duplicate forms to increase their chances and incomplete forms.  I don’t have exact figures, but they significantly increased their Twitter followers throughout the day and managed to stay engaged with all of their followers with cheeky responses to the myriad questions about when the link would finally be shared.

They eventually released the link and have since been manually sorting through their replies to e-mail each winner a notification and invoice.  It seems they have been quite busy with the manual labor and have yet to contact all winners, but it seems like this has been a very successful way for them to connect with their customers and keep them safe.

This may not be something that can be used on a wide scale, but for this one particular issue it seems as if social media has created a perfect solution.

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2 Responses to Twitter Redefines Online Shopping

  1. sydhavely says:

    Sneakers, an iconic athlete, huge demand, sometimes violent, and social media. A perfect storm. And evidently, when given some thought, as City Blue has, let out some of the potentially explosive pressure. Well done, Mike.

  2. Bruce Warren says:

    This is a great story of social media where pop culture, marketing and consumerism completely intersect. Good case.

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