Cutler discusses how StockX has adapted during the pandemic, why it’s betting big on web3 and how it’ll grow over the next decade.
Over the last several years, StockX has established itself as one of the biggest players in the crowded resale and authentication market for everything from sneakers and apparel to collectibles and NFTs.
The brand had a unique presence a few weeks ago at NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland, joining the Cavs’ pop-up shop selling apparel and NFTs while running and organizing workshops. At this pop-up shop inside Downtown Cleveland’s May Building, Boardroom had the chance to catch up with Scott Cutler, StockX’s CEO.
Cutler runs a company that less than a year ago raised $300 million at a staggering $3.8 billion valuation. We discussed how StockX has adapted during the pandemic and where the brand is headed.
Shlomo Sprung: How has StockX’s business changed over the last year or two during the pandemic?
Scott Cutler: When you think of the journey of StockX going back to 2016, we started with this vision of really being a next generation platform for this next generation of consumers. I actually feel like the last couple of years, managing through explosive growth, through the pandemic, through social injustice, managing a business that’s continued to evolve globally and in other categories has been exhilarating.
SS: What innovations would you say you’re most proud of?
SC: I’d say expanding our business to customers around the world with a consistent customer experience, which has not really been done on any other e-commerce platform. I think that, plus we’ve expanded so dramatically to other categories. We’re super excited about the trading, the digital part of our future, which has been really only realized in the last month or so. We’ve launched into NFTs and digital products.
SS: Why is it so hard to keep the customer experience the same regardless of where they’re from?
SC: If you’re a customer in any country, you want to be able to experience and read something in your own language. You have to use your local payments. If you have an issue, you want to speak to somebody in your own language. And so everything from the experience, to the language, to the currency are all technology investments to deliver all those.
SS: How have you adapted to the constantly growing amount of competitors in this space?
SC: It’s always been a competitive space. I think what we’re really focused on is a seamless customer experience for anybody around the world, to get access to products and get access to current culture that you can’t get from any other platforms. And that’s how we compete.
SS: Why even bother going into NFTs, crypto and the metaverse?
SC: It’s actually simply a bridge to the 3.0 world. Our products today — the NFT-evolved products — gives you the right to possess a product that we have in our physical possession. And so it’s really unlocking the opportunity for you to trade an item that you don’t have to own or have to physically possess. It’s as simple as that. And I think that is a revolutionary concept, but a real strong use case for NFTs that are tied directly to physical products.
SS: I assume you can’t talk about the ongoing Nike NFT litigation?
SC: No comment
StockX provided the below statement to Boardroom:
The lawsuit filed against StockX lacks merit and is based on a mischaracterization of the service StockX offers through our NFT experience. Our Vault NFTs depict and represent proof of ownership of physical goods stored in our vault that customers can trade on our platform. We undoubtedly have the right to provide our customers with this new and innovative approach to trading current culture products on StockX, and plan to vigorously defend our position. StockX Vault NFTs are not digital or virtual sneakers. We do not state or imply that our Vault NFTs are associated with, sponsored by or officially connected to any third party brand. In fact, we clearly and expressly state the opposite. We are confident that our customers understand the difference between our Vault NFTs and the third-party products to which they correspond.
NFTs are a dynamic and growing part of today’s global commerce landscape, and while the NFT market is still fairly new, StockX Vault NFTs deliver real value for our customers as they help unlock new trading opportunities anchored by lower fees and storage capabilities. For years, StockX customers have traded a range of products on our website, trusting StockX to verify their authenticity and shipping products back and forth upon each trade. Now, Vault NFTs provide our customers with an exciting new, faster, cheaper and more efficient trading experience. Because each Vault NFT is tied to a physical good already stored in the StockX vault, a buyer no longer has to wait several days before they can resell, and they do not have to pay fees associated with multiple legs of shipping and physical authentication. Just as our platform does with physical goods, NFTs provide safe and secure access for our customers to buy and sell in the digital secondary market without costs, delays and risks that can be associated with physically shipping goods upon each trade.
At StockX we care deeply about providing the best experience possible for our customers. Unlocking access to current culture products – both physical and digital – is StockX’s mission, and we will continue to fight to provide such access to our customers.
SS: Obviously you guys are doing a lot of collabs. This one right here with the Cleveland Cavaliers, G-League Ignite, Paige Bueckers. What do you gain from all these deals?
SC: I think if you actually look at all of the different partners that we’ve worked with, it’s been a conscious strategy to go about those differently to reach our core audience. And so whether that be doing something with Paige, something in the G-League, we’re reaching our core audience and we’re going to where our customers are at. And I think that’s where we’re focused from a marketing standpoint and brand perspective.
SS: How would you define your core market and core audience?
SC: Our core audience is under the age of 35 anywhere around the world. And we’re expanding that demographic and we’re expanding that reach to all corners of the globe.
SS: What demos have you seen the most growth in?
SC: Of course, that demographic for us is the core customer base. But since that customer tends to set trend, we’re seeing growth among older demographics. We’re seeing growth in the female demographic. We’re seeing growth in other countries that are essentially building on the momentum we built here. So it’s really been explosive in all those areas.
SS: What would you say your biggest obstacles are right now?
SC: For us, for me as CEO, the things I’m focused on are really our strategies for driving growth, our culture and how we keep our team engaged and motivated, and then really driving an innovative customer experience. That’s my focus as the CEO of the company, and that has been fraught with all sorts of different challenges in the last couple of years.
SS: Lastly, what are your short- and long-term goals as a company?
SC: I really only think long-term. I think about where we want to be 10 years from now. And when we look at our vision as a company, to be a trusted global platform for consuming and trading current culture, it gives us an incredible opportunity to expand the places where our customers are at, the categories that we’re serving, geographies and then obviously unlocking a digital future. And it’s exciting.