In case you haven’t been paying attention, sneakers are big business. The sneaker industry is estimated to be a $55 billion-dollar industry. The sneaker resale market is about a $1 billion-dollar industry. Sneakers are no longer just about functionality; they’re about cultural currency.
Foot Locker, one of the top footwear retailers in the US, hopes to start influencing this culture in a more meaningful way. Earlier this year, Foot Locker announced the launch of Greenhouse, its answer to consumer-driven marketing. Greenhouse is designed to be an “incubator” of sorts for the footwear retailer. It will allow Foot Locker to have meaningful collaborations with current vendors like Nike, Adidas and Puma. It will also enable Foot Locker to identify and collaborate with up-and-coming sneaker designers who otherwise wouldn’t be given an opportunity in a larger retail space.
Greenhouse also increases Foot Locker’s relevancy with its consumers. It’s been able to design and sell sneakers that are customized and relevant to local markets. Because the sneakers are sold on the Greenhouse app, Foot Locker and their collaborators can afford to create and produce designs that are more niche and strike a chord with sneakerheads.
Greenhouse has also been able to partner with companies like Pensole Footwear Design Academy, and GOAT, which specializes in the secondary sneaker market. The idea is that by focusing on what consumers want and utilizing resources that currently exist in the sneaker culture, Foot Locker will not only be selling sneakers, they’ll be driving sneaker trends.
This consumer focus makes “shopping” for sneakers a different experience. The hope is customers will seek out these retail spaces because they offer much more than just sneakers. According to their press release, Foot Locker intends for its Power Stores to be “a hub for local sneaker culture, art, music and sports,” giving customers an experience that goes far beyond transactional.
The idea is a radical shift in retail, but one that may just be necessary in the age of Amazon. Foot Locker’s Greenhouse mission is to look ahead and anticipate, even create needs for their customers by truly understanding the consumer and what’s important to them. Foot Locker president and CEO, Richard Johnson told Forbes, “We have to really think about how we honestly put the customer at the center of everything we do and say, ‘Hey, we get it.’”