Scarcity in Sneaker Culture (UX) –

The scarcity principle is a social-psychological phenomenon that causes people to assign high value to things that they deem as less available.

I personally find myself falling victim to the scarcity principle extremely often because

  1. I like sneakers.
  2. I love having sneakers that everyone else doesn’t have
  3. Getting limited release sneakers is becoming more difficult and companies have to figure out ways to make sure that sneakers end up in the hands of the consumer and not resellers

I’d like to present my ideas on the best practices for sneaker companies to continue to benefit from scarcity, while making sure that items are sold to customers and not bots.

I’ll be contrasting two companies that have high value/low supply releases, Nike and Adidas. Their target demographics are athletes or people that enjoy athletic wear age 18–29 based on, but when it comes to their most coveted releases, it’s hypebeasts ages 18–29.

The Goal

Create an efficient platform for purchasing high demand/low supply releases from the manufacturer that gets the product to consumers (not resellers or add to cart services).

Adidas and Nike’s User Flow’s have all the same components at the moment, a queue page, a size selection page and a checkout page.

Adidas’ Problems

Queue Page

  • It’s frustrating to wait on the queue page for long periods of time. On Adidas releases it’s even more frustrating because you can get passed the queue and your size is sold out
  • Too similar to the size selection page, at least on the black and red V2 release on February 10th

Size Selection Page

  • On the black and red V2 release it took me about 30 seconds to realize that I had moved past the queue page, they look too similar and the constant refreshing leads to ‘transition blindness’
  • The message that a size is on hold is hard to notice and the customer just looks at it like ‘why isn’t the page moving’

Nike’s Problems

Queue Page

  • Nike uses a queue system, but let’s you select your size then wait in line, this reduces customer frustrations, but increases the chance of bots purchasing the sneaker since they can wait in line
  • Sometimes it labels actual customers as bots and kicks them from the queue

Size Selection Page

  • When there’s a countdown timer for the release customers don’t know whether they should refresh or let the timer finish

Author: Kyle Osborne

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