Many self-proclaimed prophets were sure about twenty years ago that the internet has no chance of changing the way people buy and sell. They were sure nothing could replace the good old store, the clerk and the checkout counter. Well, it’s safe to say that they were wrong. In the everlasting battle between physically going to the store and online shopping, it seems the former is becoming an underdog. And, while it’s important to understand why this is happening, we think it’s much more important to realize the effects of this shift from the street to the World Wide Web.
In order to do so, we chose one specific product and one specific merchant. If you haven’t heard of Yaniv Bar yet, now’s a good time. Yaniv Bar is a true sneakerhead who owns a successful online shop for quality sneakers. He’s also launching a marketplace app for buying and selling sneakers these days, but more on that later. We talked to him about selling quality shoes, about what the internet did to shoe shops, and about how to be careful when buying shoes online.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your story
“I started collecting kicks (sneakers, for anyone who didn’t know) back in 2016. About two years ago, I decided to turn my hobby and passion into a business, so I set up YankeeKicks, an online store with everything sneaker related. Today my store is well known across the world and its Instagram page has over 170K followers – and that’s just in two years!”
Why did you decide to go online? Why not open a store?
“Well, it was clear back then and it is clear now – the internet is the future of commerce. Think about it, an online store costs much less to operate and its business potential is much greater. People can buy anything over the web today without hesitation, so why not shoes?”
But aren’t people afraid to buy sneakers without trying them on first?
“At first, people had their doubts about that. But today it’s much easier to know how a shoe fits you, using all kinds of methods. And, if worse comes to worst, you can always return what you bought. The advantages of shopping online outweigh the possible disadvantages. This has always been my belief and it has proved itself up to now.”
OK, but still, how do you know you can trust the seller on the other side of the screen?
“Good question. As opposed to physical stores, it’s much easier for crooks and scammers to try their luck online – especially in the field of quality sneakers, where counterfeit shoes are sadly not an uncommon thing. There are, however, a few ways you can tell that you’re buying from a trusted source.
“One of them would be to look at popularity levels. If a lot of people buy from a certain website and write good reviews, that’s obviously a good sign. But it’s not only about that – check out how this online retailer is doing on social media, for example. Inquire about refund policies. Ask to talk to a live representative if you have doubts. Consult with friends. Bottom line: Don’t make a purchase if something looks shady to you.
How do you, Yaniv Bar, know that the products you are buying and selling are real?
“Well, I’ve acquired experience in the field of sneakers, but I also have a few handy guides on the YankeeKicks website on how to spot and avoid fake kicks. As I said, the best guarantee is to get to know who you’re buying your shoes from and how you, together with the seller, can make sure you’re not making a bad deal here.”
This naturally leads us to your recent project, SnkrsDen. Tell us about that!
“Basically I was looking for just what we were talking about – a way to give the phonies a fight back. What we’ve created is a virtual marketplace for buyers and sellers of sneakers to meet up, communicate and do business. The buyer gets the extra assurance that the person they’re buying from is not a fraud, thanks to our standards and regulation, and the seller has their reputation to gain from this deal since it will probably lead to more deals.
“We’re pretty much finished working on an app to go along with it, just a few touches left and we’re planning on launching in December. Till then, you’re more than welcome to check out SnkrsDen’s website and social media accounts, and see the shoes everyone’s talking about these days.”