StockX, the Detroit-based online platform for reselling sneakers, streetwear, and collectibles, has opened an authentication centre in Toronto, marking its first brick-and-mortar presence in Canada. As well as introducing new features for local buyers and sellers, it signifies the company's first push in bigger growth throughout the country.
Ahead of the centre’s launch we spoke with Scott Cutler, StockX’s CEO, on what we can expect to see, and why there’s no better time to start flipping sneakers.
Why did you choose Toronto? What was the thinking behind that?
We chose Canada first, and Toronto was the natural city for us to set up the authentication centre. It’s part of our strategy of launching our business to international customers. The Toronto facility is one of three new authentication centres we’re launching this quarter, which increases our global network of these centres by 50 per cent. But importantly, a local authentication centre allows us to provide our Canadian customers with access to local supply coming from Canadian sellers, and being able to match that local supply with local buyers at a lower fee with faster service.
We do that with the addition of a technology called all-in pricing, and this feature allows us to match a local buyer with a local seller. It really will unlock a tremendous amount of growth and, ultimately for the buyer, lower prices for great product.
What are some of the key features for buyers and sellers when it opens?
When a buyer comes to the platform in Canada, we will—in more than 70 per cent of cases—match that buyer with a seller in Canada. That will reduce their import duties or other fees, and allow that buyer to get that product from a seller much faster.
For a seller, as we’re able to increase the amount of local matching, we’ll increase their velocity of selling on the platform. They’ll be competitively priced relative to sellers from other regions around the world and when those customers have access to all this product, it delivers the best in-class experience for both sellers and buyers, which is the flywheel of the StockX experience.
That’s pretty holistic.
We’re uniquely positioned to deliver this experience because we start with a live bid-ask market. We supplement that with authentication centers in key regions around the world, and supplement it again with an order matching engine that leverages all of these things with technology to deliver to buyers the lowest price. We’re super excited about what this means for buyers and sellers in Canada.
How important is authentication today? Do you feel it’s more important now than ever before?
Consumers expect to get access to great product from great brands, but authentically. When we’re delivering an experience that’s leveraging hundreds of thousands of sellers in a sophisticated supply chain where we don’t own that inventory, what we’re doing is ensuring a seamless buying experience. We’re authenticating it’s the right size, colour, order, not a damaged box, it’s got the original packaging, and if it’s real or fake. We’re really just ensuring buyers on the platform are getting a great customer experience.
How has the pandemic changed things for StockX?
Even as we’re going back into lockdowns in Europe, our number one priority is the safety of our team, and that our team is able to operate in a safe environment and that, for customers, we remain open and stable as a platform. Since COVID-19 we’ve experienced record growth. May, June, July were record months for the company. We surpassed $2.5 billion in lifetime gross merchandise value in June alone, and after the first waves we saw massive growth in unexpected product categories. Puzzles grew 600 per cent, slides were up 400 per cent, face masks by 300 per cent.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start selling?
Selling is an economic opportunity on StockX, and we make a very seamless experience for sellers. You don’t have to have a seller rating or pre-qualify to be a seller on the platform. You don’t have to upload a photo or description. We simply ask one question: What do you want to sell a product for? When we match that seller with a buyer, the seller sends the item to one of our authentication centres.
What’s next for StockX and Canada? Is there anything else in the works you can share?
The authentication centre in Toronto is our eighth globally and the first in North America outside of the U.S. This global network, now including Canada, is an important part of our supply chain. We’re building out a dedicated team in Toronto and expanding that team over time. This team will be responsible for authenticating sneakers, streetwear, and collectibles at the time of launch, and we’ll be adding watches, handbags, electronics, and other categories over time.