At the recent Allianz Consulting Alumni meeting, two amazing young men (15+) from amazing tubeconnect (“The Gen Z agency”) presented their work. The introductory question they were given was “If I were manufacturing sneakers, how would I address my target group Gen Z?”.
Well, my own answer came as a reflex … and luckily (it made me feel a little not-so-much Gen “Digital Latecomer”) mine mirrored their answer: you enter a collaboration with Supreme, “drop” your sneakers next Thursday at an already excessive price and watch the re-sell price rising to ridiculous levels … . We’ll get to the pitfalls of this approaching a second. The only reason I had (and have) access to this world of Supreme and Off-White and … is because I have a teenage son. Otherwise it would be hidden in a parallel universe. But with him it’s all the hype.
Actually, the two of us (here comes the pitfall) recently wanted to enter the re-sell business. It works like this: Thursday noon (CEST), there is “Supreme Drop”. You prepare thoroughly for that event. The layman’s version is using some autofill mechanism of your browser, copy paste your credit card data, push through the captcha and pray. The advanced version is letting all of this (neglect the praying) be done by a bot you built or bought. The point is: for the really interesting items you have less than ten seconds from when the shop is updated (12 sharp) to hitting the buy button, sometimes sell-out time is 5 secs only. For some items the re-sell price immediately triples the retail price, sometimes it skyrockets.
A tale of Folding Shovels and Levis
Objects of desire vary. Sneakers, headbands, hoodies … but even folding shovels, rags or snow globes.
We were prepared (no bot – but still) and got our sneakers (9 secs). Along with the sneakers came as giveaways two Supreme (“box logo”) stickers and one rubber ball. Re-selling these items proved rather promising for my son. Yet, the sneakers were a different story. I’m not sure whether it was the size or the model as such, re-sell price didn’t rise above retail price. Anyway, my son traded them fo a hoodie at a specialised fare for these items (yes, there is a fare for such things; yes, they take entrance fees; yes, they even sell VIP tickets …). Now the hoodie is at sale. We might finally end up with a lump of stone as in the famous German tale of “Hans im Glück” … .
Beyond our little private adventure, what’s the point? One way to look at it is: As many ever more products are becoming commodities (being even sold by discounters), you have to find new ways of selling them at a price. Overcharging brands and artificial scarcity are such ways. The parents’ way of looking at it is: “Why do the tempt our kids to buy things they could have cheaper and with no less quality at these excessive prices???”
Well, even that might not be so new. I remember fighting with my mom over a pair of Levis then … .