Lululemon is dipping its toes into the booming resale market.
The athleisure clothing giant, which is known for its $100 workout leggings, announced Tuesday that it is launching a new resale initiative known as Like New.
Starting in May, customers will be able to return “gently used” Lululemon clothing to certain stores in California and Texas in exchange for a gift card to spend online at the brand.
These items will be washed and then available for other customers to buy back at a discount. A company spokesperson told Insider that the level of discount will depend on whether the item is in “like new” condition or “gently used.” Any items that don’t make the cut will be recycled. Lululemon said it is partnering with resale operations expert Trove to roll out this new service.
Lululemon is among the first major retailers in the US to make moves into the $30 billion resale market. Analysts say that there an immediate opportunity for companies to cash in on this growing market, while also showing customers and investors that they are more sustainability-minded.
Jefferies analysts recently estimated that the secondhand market will represent more than 10% of the apparel market over the next 10 years.
“Legacy retailers should start to take note, and find a way to participate,” these analysts wrote.
Offering resale options is especially important if Lululemon wants to attract younger customers, who are spending more on resale than any generation before, according to Jefferies.
Nike has launched a new program to clean and resell sneakers that have been used and returned by customers.
The athletics-wear giant announced Monday that “Nike Refurbished” would see “gently” or hardly worn shoes, or shoes returned with cosmetic flaws, cleaned and sold again at discounted prices. The shoes must have been returned within the company’s 60-day returns period to be resold.
In a press release announcing the news on Monday, the company did not say what would have previously happened when these sneakers were returned. Insider asked the company for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
The refurbished shoes will now be sold at its factory and outlet stores. This initiative is currently available at 15 US stores, but the company said it planned to add Nike Refurbished to more stores, to boost its sustainability and reduce waste.
While it promises to “help keep shoes out of landfills,” the new service also means Nike can stop some of its products reaching booming sneaker resale platforms such as StockX or GOAT.
You can almost smell it in the air. Selling season is here. This time of year, people start to liquidate piles of stuff that have accumulated in their basements, garages and storage spaces. Selling season means negotiating season. After nearly three decades of buying and selling vintage goods, I’ve seen every bargaining strategy in the book — some innocent, some insidious. If you’ll be selling at…
There are a few of reasons people will regularly miss out on hyped sneakers drops. But odds are, it’s because of a bot.
In the sneaker resale world, a “bot” refers to a software application that expedites the online checkout process and helps resellers nab hyped pairs in seconds – including limited-edition drops and collabs.
When sneakers are released in limited quantities, it’s often a race to see which sneakerheads can input their credit card information on a website or app the fastest in order to checkout before the product sells out. Bots are specifically designed to make this process instantaneous, offering users a leg-up over other buyers looking to complete transactions manually.
Though bots are notoriously difficult to set up and run, to many resellers they are a necessary evil for buying sneakers at retail price. The software also gets around “one pair per customer” quantity limits placed on each buyer on release day.
As the sneaker resale market continues to thrive, Business Insider is covering all aspects of how to scale a business in the booming industry. And bots are a major part of that. From how to acquire and use the technology to the people behind the most popular bots in the market today, here’s everything you need to know about the controversial software.
Acquiring a bot
Bots, like sneakers, can be difficult to purchase. Most bot makers release their products online via a Twitter announcement. There are only a limited number of copies available for purchase at retail. And once sold out, bots often resell for thousands of dollars.
Some private groups specialize in helping its paying members nab bots when they drop. These bot-nabbing groups use software extensions – basically other bots – to get their hands on the coveted technology that typically costs a few hundred dollars at release.
Once the software is purchased, members decide if they want to keep or “flip” the bots to make a profit on the resale market. Here’s how one bot nabbing and reselling group, Restock Flippers, keeps its 600 paying members on top of the bot market.
While bots are relatively widespread among the sneaker reselling community, they are not simple to use by any means. Insider spoke to teen reseller Leon Chen who has purchased four bots. He outlined the basics of using bots to grow a reselling business.
Most bots require a proxy, or an intermediate server that disguises itself as a different browser on the internet. This allows resellers to purchase multiple pairs from one website at a time and subvert cart limits. Each of those proxies are designed to make it seem as though the user is coming from different sources.
For example, “data center”proxies make it appear as though the user is accessing the website from a large company or corporation while a “residential proxy” is traced back to an alternate home address. Whichever type you use, proxies are an important part of setting up a bot. In some cases, like when a website has very strong anti-botting software, it is better not to even use a bot at all.
While most resellers see bots as a necessary evil in the sneaker world, some sneakerheads are openly working to curb the threat. SoleSavy is an exclusive group that uses bots to beat resellers at their own game, while also preventing members from exploiting the system themselves. The platform, which recently raised $2 million in seed funding, aims to foster a community of sneaker enthusiasts who are not interested in reselling.
We spoke to one of the group’s founders to hear about how members are taking on the botting community.
In many cases, bots are built by former sneakerheads and self-taught developers who make a killing from their products. Insider has spoken to three different developers who have created popular sneaker bots in the market, all without formal coding experience.
Splashforce, a bot that services nearly 4,000 customers, was created by an 18-year-old who had previously described himself as “dirt poor.” The teen founder and co-owner of Adept, another major sneaker bot, initially earned money via a paper route. Meanwhile, the maker of Hayha Bot, also a teen, notably describes the bot making industry as “a gold rush.”
Each of these self-taught bot makers have sold over $380,000 worth of bots since their businesses launched, according to screenshots of payment dashboards viewed by Insider.
Beyond Air Jordan, a slew of interesting new releases this year also fueled the hype.
The controversial Ben & Jerry’s-themed “Chunky Dunkys” and the Grateful Dead SBs are still fetching more than $1,100 and $700 on StockX, respectively.
Thus far, the $2 billion sneaker resale market has proven to be somewhat pandemic-proof. GOAT, a leading sneaker resale platform, saw a surge of new sellers joining the app at the start of pandemic. StockX, another leading sneaker resale platform, announced in a July report that it had surpassed 10 million lifetime sales and had its two biggest sales months ever during the months of May and June.
As 2020 draws to a close, Luxury consignment retailer The RealReal shared a roundup of the most expensive sneakers to sell on its platform in 2020. From the always popular “Back to the Future” themed Nikes to the Tom Sachs Mars Yard, here were the top sellers:
10. Nike Air Force 1 Low Scarr’s Pizza
Sold for: $5,000
These sneakers were a result of a collaboration between Nike and Scarr’s Pizza, a New York City restaurant. The shoes were released for friends and family in August of 2019 and were inspired by the restaurant’s retro look.
9. Nike SB Dunk Low “Reese Forbes Denim”
Sold for: $5,250
Released in 2002, this sneaker marked skateboarding legend Reese Forbes’ second Dunk collaboration. The denim-on-denim silhouette has made this pair iconic.
8. Nike x Tom Sachs Mars Yard Shoe 1.0
Sold for: $5,300
Designer Tom Sachs collaborated with Nike to launch this sneaker that was inspired by his experiences with NASA scientists. The sneaker initially launched in May of 2012 and was re-released in 2017.
7. Jordan 1 Retro Legends of Summer Red Glitter
Sold for: $6,500
These glittered sneakers launched during Justin Timberlake’s and Jay-Z’s fall 2013 “Legends of Summer” tour. At the time of the release, only a few pairs were given to fans.
6. Nike Air Force 1 Low G Dragon Peaceminusone Para Noise
Sold for: $8,000
This low-top sneaker features a yellow leather Nike swoosh and daisy embroidery on the tongue.
5. Jordan 1 Retro Legends Of Summer
Sold for: $8,000
These limited edition Jordan 1s are were also from Justin Timberlake’s and Jay-Z’s fall 2013 “Legends of Summer” tour. This pair only surfaced on the resale market about a year after it dropped at the concert.
4. Nike MAG “Back To The Future”
Sold for: $9,995
The shoes inspired by the ones Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly wears in”Back to the Future Part II” was released in 2011. A product description on the Stadium Goods website describes the shoe as “perhaps the most sought-after sneaker of all time.”
3. Jordan 3/8 Retro ‘Kobe Bryant’ PE Pack
Sold for: $11,875
The Jordan brand released these special-edition Jordans on February 14, 2016, to celebrate basketball legend Kobe Bryant. These sneakers are a tribute to Bryant’s 20 years in the NBA and feature the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Amir Azarcon, The RealReal’s sneaker and streetwear expert, this limited edition pack became even more popular after the sudden death of Kobe Bryant in January.
2. Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior
Sold for: $16,500
Designer Kim Jones collaborated with the Jordan brand for this iconic Dior sneaker, which Azarcon described as the sneaker of the year. Launched in April of 2020, this pair represents a successful cross between sneaker culture and the luxury fashion space.
1. 2005 Parra x Nike Air Max 1 Hyperstrike Albert Heijn Amsterdam
Price sold for: $20,000
These sneakers were one of two pairs designed by Dutch artist Pieter Jansen (Parra Patta) that were inspired by his hometown of Amsterdam. The colors on this pair represent Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket chain.
“This is one of the most coveted Air Max’s in the world, and this pair sold in less than 24 hours on our site,” said Azarcon.