When Ronnie approached me a year and a half ago about helping to launch Kith’s online store, he had one request: “It can’t crash on release day”. With that in mind, we searched high and low for a platform that would help us achieve a goal that few online sneaker retailers have achieved. We settled on a product called Shopify, and have been thrilled with the results. After a brief stumble on launch day (not Shopify’s fault), we’ve been cruising ever since. Every release at Kith has seen more traffic than the one before it, and our online store has responded accordingly. No crashes. No downtime.
All that being said, there are still questions that arise during an online release, so I thought I would take the opportunity to answer them.
Q: There are still sizes showing in the dropdown box, but when I go to checkout, it says they aren’t available…what’s up with that?
A: As with most shopping carts online, adding a product to your cart does NOT put it on hold. The product is only put on hold when you click the “Checkout” button and get to the second step of the process (entering your payment information). At that time, we give you 5-10 minutes to complete the payment process. Since at this point, the items aren’t technically sold, they still show up in the dropdown boxes on the product page. In the event that someone completes payment, the item is removed from our inventory, and if that size is sold out, it will be removed from the dropdown box. In the event that the customer doesn’t complete payment (you’ve gotta have your money straight on release day, bro…), then the item will be made available to everyone after 5-10 minutes. In summary, be patient and stay with it. If you size is still showing up, there’s a chance that they’ll be made available again in a few minutes.
Q: I’ve tried 5 times and haven’t been able to purchase a pair. What’s the trick?
A: Unfortunately, there is no trick. There is substantially more demand than there is supply, and this means that more people will miss out than will get them. While these are far from “tricks”, my only suggestions would be:
1) Have a fast internet connection. If you’re using dial-up, you’re sunk.
2) Get familiar with the checkout process. Maybe purchase something from Kith on a day OTHER than a big release. Just sayin’.
3) Have your money straight. You’ll likely get one shot at it, so make sure you’re ready.
4) Keep trying. Mathematics is on your side.
Q: I’ve saved enough money, but I still got declined when checking out…what gives?!
A: Not only do you need to have enough room on your credit card or Paypal, but your billing address MUST match the address that you’re shipping the items to (we do this to reduce fraudulent orders). How do you ensure that this doesn’t become an issue? Talk to your credit card provider and look at your Paypal billing information, and make sure that it is identical to the shipping address that you’re entering in the system. The worst part of this mistake is that if you do get declined for this reason, it usually takes your credit card company 4-5 business days to move the money back to your account from being on hold. So yeah…make sure you know your address information. This will apply on a lot of online retailers, so even if you aren’t ordering from Kith, this is good to know.
Q: In the release madness, I spazzed out and ordered the wrong size…can you change it? Also, can you combine my shipping with the other item I ordered?
A: For a big release, neither of these are possible. There aren’t enough pairs to make swaps, and there’s just too many items being shipped out to start making these kind of adjustments. On a non-major release day, we’ll do our best to accomodate these kinds of issues. Our suggestion is to take a split second and verify that you selected the right size before you begin payment. It won’t take long, and it will save you the emotional pain of ordering the wrong size.
Q: Can you hook me up with a pair on the next release?
In closing, I’ll leave you with this: eCommerce is hard. The biggest retailers and manufacturers out there still haven’t figured out a way to do it effectively. There are very few products in the world (Apple releases and video game consoles are the only two that I can come up with) that command the same level of fervor at online release time as sneakers. The good news is that as Shopify continue to improve their checkout process, we’ll pass those improvements on to our customers.
Finally, as someone who has bought shoes for a LONG time, my advice to those that miss out is wait for the next release. There will always be something new and great around the corner, and if after 6 months you still NEED the missed pair, you’ll find a way to get them. The hunt is what makes this crazy sneaker thing fun.