The market for hype stuff will always be there
It has been over two months since Metro Manila was placed under community quarantine. As we enter the month of June, Metro Manila will be placed under a more relaxed General Community Quarantine. While this means that people can visit their favorite shop, we are not going back to the usual scenario just yet.
The new normal means that stores cannot accommodate as many people as before, and that they have to be mindful of their sales—both in-store and online. Aside from Shoe Game Manila, Cop Garden also launched its own web store a few days after the lockdown started. While engaging in E-commerce did help them keep up with sales during the quarantine period, owner Adrian Garcia said that the experience is still different from buying sneakers in physical stores.
“They enjoy going to the store seeing the item in hand, browsing the shelves, trying it on, and going home with it.”
With the new normal limiting the number of customers entering stores, owners have to make adjustments to comply with social distancing guidelines. For Garcia, they are implementing an appointment system—similar to what Titan has for all of its stores—to control the number of people entering their shop.
Unique to Cop Garden is a drive-thru pick up system—a system where a staff of Cop Garden would hand over items purchased to customers while inside their vehicles.
Online is still essential
Despite physical stores offering a unique experience to customers, Garcia adds that having an eCommerce aspect to their business is important. One of the benefits of eCommerce is that it can cater to customers who cannot physically visit their store. “It’s nice to see the places we have shipped to since the online store started,” Garcia said.
For Katipunan-based store Sole Republiq, owner Lerwin Yap said that they are working on their own eCommerce platform to supplement their physical store sales. Aside from selling, Yap wants their eCommerce business to include a seller tab that aids customers in consigning their hype items. Given the unlimited potential of the digital space, Yap adds that it is important to have a solid marketing plan in order to make it work.
Speaking of online, both Garcia and Yap agree that social media has been helpful for them in generating sales and gaining new customers.
Is there a market for hype products in a post-COVID-19 Scenario?
With Cop Garden and Sole Republiq getting their fair share of hype products, the answer is definitely yes. Regardless of current circumstances (like shipping delays), both Cop Garden and Sole Republiq are doing their best effort to acquire these sneakers and other hype items and sell them to their customers at competitive prices. “We believe that consumers are still buying sneakers and streetwear as long as it’s hype,” Yap adds.
Things will be a little different, however: reeling from the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yap thinks that buyers will be wiser and more responsible in discerning which sneakers to cop. Garcia agrees with Yap’s sentiments: while it will take some time—some say months, others say maybe a year or two—there will always be demand for anything hype. “Things will be different for quite some time but eventually the hype will be back, 100%.”
With physical stores slowly opening their doors to a (controlled) public, it will be a learning curve for the majority of them in adjusting to the new normal. It is hard at first yes, but businesses will need to make the necessary adjustments to adapt to the rapidly-changing environment.