Sneakerboy rocks retail

Sneakerboy“Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won’t win a game or a battle; the win comes from basic blocking and tackling.”
– Naveen Jain

“Love this business” not because it is contemporary, innovative, fun, hip, omnichannel, clever and functional (well, yes that too) but because it makes a statement.

Great retail, as a wise mentor once said to me, is about theatre, owning the space, being the top dog and above all being loud and proud.

Plus it’s Aussie, in a sea of globalisation and imported retailers here we are growing innovation in our backyard. Welcome to the Melbourne-born “Sneakerboy” which began as an omnichannel retailer. Not adapting per se, rather symbolising the new generation of home-grown omnichannel.

Sneakerboy (born 2013 – current – future)
Renowned for being the store with no inventory, Sneakerboy’s unique concept is as efficient and convenient as a website, but as tangible as a retail store.

With stores in Melbourne and Sydney, in true omnichannel fashion, the Sneakerboy experience customer journey most likely begins on your mobile or tablet, as you wander up and down George Street in Sydney wondering where this unique store is hiding! As you follow your Google maps and enter Temperance Lane, the unique retail experience begins.

From the limited natural light, to the minimalist monochrome Sneakerboy posters and odd bit of graffiti guiding you down what looks like the back entrance to a restaurant. There in front of you, you see a spaceship-like tunnel entrance to the store.

As you enter the store an attentive sales assistant greets you to explain the retail process. There is no POS, there is no inventory, and don’t expect to walk out the store with your new kicks. You will still find traditional rows of sneakers on the shelves, however once you’ve tried on a couple pairs, and made your decision on which to purchase, you are guided to an instore tablet to make your purchase which will be sent to your home address.

Some may question whether this takes away part of the thrill of shopping, the instant gratification of buying a new item of clothing, however you still get this through the act of being in such an inspiring environment and making the purchase on the tablet. Then you go home and perhaps forget about your purchase as you get on with daily life. A couple days later the product shows up at home or at your office and it’s almost a surprise. It’s almost a double thrill, you still get a buzz.

The brand caters to the new luxury consumer. No longer does luxury consumer mean a woman in her mid-40s strutting down the Champs Elysees but more a kid in Shanghai inspired by the likes of Kanye West. This new luxury consumer, whilst tech savvy and embracing digital retailing, is still human. As humans we seek to engage all of our senses in the shopping experience, and this is where this concept excels.

The physical shop is where the action is, if you do it with inspiration, excitement, discovery, building on the human experience of what it is to be human. The seamless integration of digital and physical platforms in such an inspiring setting makes Sneakerboy a leader in omnichannel strategy, and yet, it’s not even a set strategy, it’s simply a way of life.

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group. Brian can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or




  1. Paul Middleton posted on September 9, 2015

    Whilst the visuals and theatre are obviously covered, I can't help but think that the target 'luxury' customers will not appreciate the loss of #1 draw card of retail, which is the instant gratification?

  2. Dave Samson posted on September 10, 2015

    Unorthodox, but the pleasant surprise of an item arriving in days is like a gift to oneself. Instant gratification is fast fashion, not luxury.

    • Paul Middleton posted on September 10, 2015

      I agree, Dave Samson, receiving a delivery is a pleasant surprise. I just don't believe customers (luxury or otherwise) would prefer this over receiving their purchase instantly. I don't understand why you'd incur the expense of a retail location, but not support it with stock. Where is the benefit for the customer?

      • Dave Samson posted on September 11, 2015

        It's a fact that there's been a paradigm shift with the way we consume as more and more retailers, and customers are turning to this online version of instant gratification. Statistics mean nothing to the average shopper but I believe it's all about getting accustomed to a new way of doing something. It may not be suited to all age groups at the moment, but going forward will likely become more of the norm. From what I can see they are able to maximise the amount footage used for merchandising as opposed to using it for stock storage. It also maximises manpower to be more efficiently used purely for customer service as opposed to stock work. As for the customer, it's one of the only places in the world where you can shop the brands side by side and with the ability to try them on. For me that's a benefit enough.

        • Paul Middleton posted on September 14, 2015

          It's certainly an interesting and innovative model, and I'm not saying that it won't work, just that it's not consistent with my experience in retail. I do understand, though, that these things are constantly changing. Does anyone know what their refund/returns policy is?

  3. Taylor Adams posted on September 10, 2015

    I have purchased from Sneakerboy. As a customer, the benefits I experienced were: 1. A selection of styles that you could not find in a traditional retail store any smaller than a department store. (Obviously due to them not having to store full size ranges on site). Their fit matrix is very clever,. 2. I was shipped a brand new pair, as opposed to store stock which had been handled and tried on. 3. I didn't have to carry paper bags and boxes around the city, far more elegant going to lunch knowing my purchases were being delivered. My experience with this brand made me question what the benefit of the traditional retail model is to me as a consumer.

  4. Jamie posted on September 11, 2015

    They should offer the option of both instant gratification and delayed gratification. Let's see what happens ;-)

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