Stadium Goods CEO on global expansion, marketplaces and more!
Date: October 22, 2018
I had the fortune of learning about the premium collectable sneaker industry from John McPheters, co-founder & CEO of Stadium Goods. John has built an amazing company to address a consumer need I never knew existed. Here are some questions from our sit-down. These are different questions to those on the video so be sure to watch the video as well.
Josh: How did you start your company?
John: My co-founder Jed Stiller and I started Stadium Goods when we saw a major opportunity in the streetwear market. With a rise in the number of customers shopping for exclusive footwear and lifestyle apparel, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to buy and sell these sought-after products while experiencing best-in-class customer service.
Josh: When did you first decide to expand beyond the US? (Was it part of the original strategic plan?)
John: Expanding the reach of Stadium Goods beyond the United States was always part of our plans. I have worked extensively overseas and have witnessed firsthand the growing demand for the products we offer in international markets. From the beginning, we understood that an important part of the success of the business would involve making it as seamless as possible for international consumers to shop with us.
Josh: How did you decide which markets to go into and what did your priority list look like? which markets are you in current? What do your sales channels look like for each of these markets?
John: When we initially began exploring new international markets, we tried to identify the regions where our products were most in demand. What we quickly discovered is that Stadium Goods’ curated selection of footwear and apparel is sought after the world over. As a result, customers can now shop with Stadium Goods, either directly or through one of our partners, almost everywhere on the map.
Josh: What have you done to expand into China?
John: We partnered with Alibaba to expand into the Chinese market and the partnership has been incredible since day one. When we first launched on TMall, a division of Alibaba, there was a lot of interest in our brand. Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma’s stamp of approval helped us establish a relationship with Chinese customers who knew that they could trust us to deliver authentic merchandise in an efficient way. We’ve been successful on the platform by working collaboratively with the Alibaba team to understand the changing needs of their young, upwardly mobile consumers. Last year on 11.11, we offered discounts and coupons to drive substantial sales volume around a wide offering of product. We also did a live-stream video to engage with consumers on the platform. Through these efforts we were able to satisfy Chinese consumers’ high demand for the exclusive and hard-to-find sneakers and streetwear that our curated selection provides.t was one of our biggest days ever and we have only just begun to spread our wings on TMall. Since then we’ve fine-tuned our offering on TMall to offer a better array of products at stronger price points with content that’s more targeted toward Chinese consumers. Alibaba TMall Global is a fantastic partner and has been great about educating us on best practices for conducting and handling yourself as a business when growing globally.
Josh: Do you work primarily through marketplaces or also through cross-border direct to consumer strategies?
John: We leverage both a direct-to-consumer approach and partnerships with marketplaces to make sure that customers in almost every corner of the globe can access Stadium Goods. The question that we always ask first is, “What is best for the customer?” Once we understand that we are better able to tailor our strategy for a specific market.
Josh: What marketplaces do you work with throughout the world and why?
John: In addition to Alibaba, we also work with Amazon, eBay, and Farfetch. Those marketplaces allow us to reach a larger customer base overseas and also become better known as a global luxury destination.
Josh: How have you leveraged eBay to reach overseas consumers? Do you use the Global Shipping program? How can one effectively use eBay for overseas sales?
John: We have worked extensively with eBay both domestically and internationally and they have been a wonderful partner. The fact that consumers know that they can rely on Stadium Goods to deliver 100% authentic merchandise in a simple and efficient way has had a tremendously positive impact in all of our international opportunities.
Josh: Does your value proposition change from market to market? (fast delivery, pricing, inventory scope/range, etc.) In what ways in which markets?
John: Our value proposition and our brand values remain consistent no matter what market we’re in. We aim to deliver the best customer service coupled with a curated selection of the most sought-after styles for our shoppers. Data also informs everything that we do at Stadium Goods. When we look at how our extensive selection of sneakers and streetwear is suited to different markets, our product team is able to identify which items perform best on different platforms. But it goes beyond simply crunching numbers. There needs to be a human touch to make sure that the merchandise resonates with the demographic of that market. That is why we make sure to hand-select certain products so that our offering feels personalized and curated.
Josh: If you could have done something differently early on in terms of your global expansion strategy, what would it have been?
John: Stadium Goods has grown to become a truly global business. It certainly hasn’t been easy every step along the way, but we have learned a great deal from every challenge that we have faced and emerged stronger for it. I don’t think we would be in the place we are today if we hadn’t had to face some of the obstacles that we did, so I don’t have any regrets.
Josh: What markets are you planning on entering next? Why?
John: We have a long term strategy for expanding globally so we want to ensure every partnership is carefully selected and executed seamlessly. We are currently exploring a few different markets and are excited to see where Stadium Goods lands next.
Check out Stadium Goods on their site here: