Andrew is a former sneakerhead who felt the pain of missing out on product launches more than once and, with the help of two former Google colleagues, decided to create a solution. EQL is an end-to-end platform built for retailers to reliably sell the most in-demand products to more customers, and get more value out of every launch by facilitating site reliability, accurate payments, scam prevention and helping to ensure a level playing field for customers. EQL have clients such as Sullivans Cove whisky, Footlocker and Culture Kings and were named as one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2023. In this chat, Andrew shares his insights on how to manage the chaotic conditions of an ecommerce hype drop, the tell tale signs that retailers are in need of launch support and the special sneakers that have formed his business milestones.
“It’s chaotic, it’s a frenzy, you get all your site load at the same time”Andrew Lipp
“When I was a kid, I was really into it. Back in my day – I sound like a grandfather – you had to have a friend or a parent’s friend that went to the US to get their hands on a pair of sneakers you wanted. My dad would know someone and they’d get me a pair. I grew up in the era of Jordan playing with the Chicago Bulls, I collected NBA cards, I liked collectibles, I’d got a bunch of comics. So I was a little bit in the collectibles, street culture and that world.
As I got older, I want to say older, call it five or so years ago, I was still in that sneaker world and trying to get my hands on things. But I was starting to become pretty disenfranchised by what was going on, right?
You would go online and sites would crash, scammers would clear out stock, you try to line up, you’d have to line up all day only to be the last one in the line that didn’t get the thing. Because everyone in front of you is getting the product, taking a photo, putting it on eBay and reselling it. I was getting really really frustrated.”
The value of the launch
“The thing about these launches is, it’s a honeypot right? Because with the launch, you get so much demand for not many products. How do you maximize that experience? How do you actually capitalize, not on just delivering the operational benefit, but giving a product the ceremony it deserves, giving the brand the experience it deserves, making the customers feel amazing, making your loyal customers feel even better?
It’s a real opportunity for customer acquisition and for insights and for being strategic. And at the moment it’s not being done in that way.”
Collectibles, apparel, tickets
“We started with sneakers. We now do sneakers, apparel, collectibles, alcohol. And we’ve done some tickets to retreats. So some fascinating hype that I think is interesting, like Messina ice cream cakes, right? They sell out. There is high heat for them. I met a company that does native animal brooches. And they do something like 85% of their revenue in three minutes a month. And it’s demographics skewed higher, but it goes nuts.
Tickets are a category that I think is ripe for the taking. It’s a very interesting category of players that have cemented themselves in this world, but you would argue the kind of appetite for fairness is really there from the consumer side. We’ve seen a lot of moments in the last six months in ticketing where the value of thinking and its delivery mechanic has fallen over. Look at Taylor Swift launches, Drake launches, Glastonbury sites crashing. It’s a world that I think consumers are really driving some change for.”
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