Sneaker culture has surged in popularity; it has become a global obsession. A massive industry has built around the sneaker madness. It expects to reach a market cap of over 100 billion USD in 2025.
This article will discuss five benefits of how sneakers can benefit from NFC technology. If you don't know what NFC is, read our introduction to NFC first.
Sneaker brands have many stories to tell, whether it's a limited edition, a classic, or a collaboration with a high-profile celebrity or brand. Or simply introducing a new product feature or a new season inspired by the latest trends; brands will always have something to share.
Tappr Network identifies two opportunities for storytelling.
1. Educational content
2. Inspirational content.
NFC technology enables interactive content using rich media such as videos, animations, or interactive flip cards.
Educational content can explain to consumers what kind of materials are used or point out the unique features of an innovative design. Or what the benefits are of specific parts of the shoe when you wear them. This information can be beautifully integrated into an NFC experience and personalized to the brand, product and consumer.
The other opportunity for storytelling is for brands to inspire their customers. One way of doing this is to share the story that inspired the sneaker's design.
An example is a collaboration between Salehe Bembury and New Balance. Bembury is a well-known American footwear designer recognized for his luxurious streetwear style. He found inspiration for this sneaker by looking at the Antelope Canyon in Arizona. The sneaker uses earth tones to create a color palette on the suede and mesh, making the shoe one of a kind. At the same time, the midsole simulates the effect of the dirt after a walk in the American canyon. The side branding in blue, on the other hand, recalls the clouds that are part of the American landscapes dear to the designer, a lover of excursions and hiking.
An NFC tag integrated into the sneaker will enable brands to communicate the rich stories that inspired the design. NFC will bring these stories to the consumer fluently and frictionlessly.
Every year, consumers buy fake sneakers. Not because they want to, but because they believe they buy the real thing. Suppliers of counterfeit sneakers are getting smarter each year in bringing these fakes into the market.
An example of this is something we call super fakes. Super fake sneakers are higher quality fake ones that are even more difficult to separate from an authentic sneaker. In some cases, people can only tell the difference by measuring and comparing the weight of the sneaker.
The counterfeit market for sneakers will always exist. Some people do not care about the authenticity of a product or simply can't afford the real thing. There will (unfortunately) always be an opportunity to buy a fake product for those people.
A booming part of the sneaker market is the resell market through online marketplaces, trade shows, and Facebook groups. Here, people are looking for limited editions: the special projects. Sneaker fans are paying high prices for those hard-to-find sneakers. Unfortunately, this part of the market is infected by fakes. There is simply no assurance that the product on offer is authentic for those sneakerheads.
With NFC tags integrated into the sneaker, a consumer can scan the product and validate the sneaker's authenticity at any stage during the lifetime of the sneaker. Even after being sold 2nd hand or even 3rd hand. Because the NFC tag integrates within the sneaker, one can always authenticate.
At Tappr Network, we aim to protect consumers from buying counterfeit goods. We strongly believe sneaker brands should innovate and include NFC technology to protect their brand and consumers.
The resell market of sneakers is massive. The market is estimated at 6 billion yearly. Making the sneakers resell market almost 10% of total yearly market value.
First and foremost, fake sneakers are a real problem to the resell market. As explained previously, NFC tags help consumers validate the product's authenticity. We want to emphasise this unique feature of NFC as it would already justify using NFC tags for sneaker brands.
Every sneaker has its own identity and essentially becomes a platform with NFC. On this platform, consumers connect with their sneaker and the respective brand. This connection is formalised by allowing consumers to take ownership of their sneakers through registration. Every pair transforms into a unique item.
As every sneaker has a unique identity, a range of extraordinary use cases unlock.
- Show the owner history of a sneaker
- Map where the sneakers have been across the world
- Explain customization to the sneakers or repair history
- Show traceability information of production & materials
And at last, brands connect with both consumers when an NFC-enabled sneaker transfers from the old owner to a new owner. A consumer who just sold its old kicks probably has a budget to spend on a new pair of sneakers.
Brands that keep engaging with consumers after purchase drive more revenue. Brands can, for instance, encourage reorders or present related products.
According to research by Harvard Business Review, 83% of the shopping journeys are about repurchasing the same or a similar item. With NFC technology integrated into footwear, consumers have the fastest and easiest consumer journey to your store.
When directing consumers to a sales opportunity, you can drive them to any channel. Tappr Network has worked with sneaker brands that deliberately lead consumers to the channel where they initially bought their footwear. To appreciate the retailer and strengthen the partnership. But in other cases, consumers purchase your products from a marketplace, and you redirect them to your e-commerce channel. This decision depends on the brand's strategy, and there is no correct answer.
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, the footwear market, especially sneakers, is ramping up fast. Selling more sneakers directly to your consumers is not only interesting because you cut out the middleman (retailer).
Before diving into the extra benefits, let's look at DTC's sales history. Before, DTC was only a sales channel. For example, Adidas sells the majority through various retailers and wholesalers. But they also deliver directly to their consumers through their e-commerce or Adidas stores. DTC is just another sales channel.
Today, DTC has become a category, some brands are only selling through their e-commerce channels. Some call these brands' digital native'; a good example is Rothy's. The difference between traditional and digital brands is not so much in the products themselves. It is their opportunity and ability to harvest deep knowledge of their consumers. Their strategic advantage is to make product changes based on actual consumer demand. But also offering seamless experiences before, during, and aftersale.
To wrap up what Forbes says, brands with significant exposure to consumers have strategic advantages that wholesale focused brands have not. In addition to this, Forbes says, "Today, brands that fail to sell DTC not only give up control over their product, distribution and marketing efforts but also lose touch with their end consumer, arguably their most important asset."
With NFC technology in sneakers, brands directly connect with all their consumers, regardless of their distribution model. And this gives brands advantages beyond increased profit margins by cutting out the middleman.
We offer brands a SaaS platform that makes it incredibly easy to transform all their products into digital storytellers that drive more revenue.
Creative teams can easily replicate all brand stories and content by integrating with your existing e-commerce platform. Meanwhile, production teams can schedule an NFC order and deliver them directly to your production factories across the globe. At the same time, we forward all marketing-related data to your CRM & CDP to ensure your marketing team can start engaging consumers and gain an ROI.
If you're interested in using our services, feel free to reach out. We are always happy to talk you through the many opportunities NFC offers to your brand.