StockX – a.k.a “The Stock Market of Things” – is an online platform where you can buy and sell sneakers, streetwear and other luxury items.
Here’s how StockX works for sellers.
Sellers list their items by placing an Ask. Buyers then “Bid” for the items.
When there’s a matching Ask and a Bid, StockX will go ahead and lock in the sale. Alternatively, sellers also have an option to sell the highest active Bid on the platform.
Sellers then have 2 days to ship out their items out to StockX’s HQ in Detroit. StockX will verify the items, and then ship them out to the buyers.
The whole concept sounded simple enough. So I decided to give it a try.
Flip a pair of Air Jordan 1 Royal Toes on StockX for a profit. You can read more about the whole experiment went here.
As a first step, I went ahead and created an Ask on StockX, and then I started waiting for a matching Bid. I waited for a day. A whole week. And then a few more weeks. Nothing happened.
My spidey senses started tingling so I knew something was obviously off. I figured I did something wrong on my end, so I started clicking around.
After a few hours of clicking around, I realised that StockX is simply broken. They have major flaws in their UI/UX and their business model. Most alarming of it all, they’re not upfront about it.
It’s straight up scary.
Here’s what I found:
1. For starters, the Highest Bid StockX displays isn’t the Highest Bid at all.
On each of StockX’s product pages, you’ll find 2 buttons. A green button and a red button.
If you’re looking to get your hands on a pair of sneakers at the lowest price, you simply click the green button. This way, you don’t have to create a bid and wait endlessly for StockX to pair you up with a buyer.
Simply click the button, make the payment, and get your sneakers. Hassle free.
If you’re a seller on the other hand, the red button is for you. By clicking the red button, you can sell your sneakers to the highest bidder.
The only problem – you’re technically NOT selling to the highest bidder. Nope, not at all.
You’re actually being tricked into selling for a lot less. Let me show you.
If you look right under the red button, you’ll see a hyperlink called “View All Bids”.
Click this link, and you’ll see a list of all the active bids on the platform for a particular item. You should see the highest bid on top of the list.
Here’s what you’ll notice. The highest bid on the list doesn’t match the “highest bid” on the red button.
What this means is that there’s a someone out there that wants to pay you more money for your sneakers. But StockX is actually stopping you from selling to that person directly.
Why? I don’t have a clue. But it does make me wonder.
How many sellers sold off their items on StockX by clicking the “red button”? They probably thought they were selling it to the highest bidder but actually they didn’t!
2. Even if there’s a matching bid, StockX might not lock in the sale
According to StockX’s website, here’s how a sale is made. “Once your Ask meets a Bid, the transaction is captured automatically.”
The reality though is much different.
As you can see from the screenshots below, I was selling my pair of Jordans for USD$333.
This was my active ASK for a few days.
During that time, I clicked on the “View All Bids” a couple of times, and I noticed that there was a matching Bid for the same amount.
Yet, the system didn’t capture the transaction automatically.
Needless to say, I was quite puzzled especially since that’s how StockX is supposed to work. That’s the whole concept of the app.
I got in touch with their support to see what the issue was.
I exchanged a total of 13 emails with the StockX support team before getting a valid answer.
Basically, StockX deployed an update where they match European buyers with European sellers to keep the processing fees low.
The problem though is that they didn’t have any disclaimers about this on their website. I didn’t see a single mention of this when I was signing up or when I was creating an Ask.
So I had no idea that Stock was never going to pair me with buyers from an entire continent.
This hurts sellers, especially the ones based outside of Europe. By cutting you off from an entire continent, StockX dramatically lowers your chances of actually making a sale on their platform.
Had they been upfront about this, sellers like me would’ve managed our expectations and our risk better.
At the end of the day, as the “stock market of things”, these are the very things they need to be proactive about!
3. Their customer service
I got in touch with StockX’s customer service as soon I spotted problems 1 & 2.
Maria Camila (StockX’s team) got back to me almost instantly. As soon as I replied her, I got a response from Luisa.
And then Alejandro:
Ender decided to hop in onto the convo without reading the first email exchange with Maria, and started to explain how the whole thing worked.
At this point, I had to reattach all of the screenshots that I submitted to their support in the first place. I had to go through the entire process all over again with the hope that I’d bump into Maria again.
I exchanged a total of 13 emails with StockX’s support. Out of these 13 emails, 7 of them were from StockX’s team. 6/7 were written by a different person. And each of them understood the problem differently.
I just stopped replying after the 13th email. I was quite tired of the whole back and forth.
On top of the annoyingly lengthy back and forth, I felt like they had no urgency to fix any of the problems I raised.
For example, when I brought up the discrepancy in bid amounts, here’s what they said in the second email.
“I can see that this is a bug and our engineering team is aware of this situation, they are working on this inconvenience to have it fix as soon as possible. For this you don’t have to be worried, this is going to be solved eventually.”
Even though they suggested that the bug would be “solved eventually”, it’s been more than 2 months, and the bug fix is no where in sight. Neither have they updated their website about their SOP for European buyers and sellers.
At the end of the day, I don’t expect StockX to change the way they do business. The only thing I expect from them is transparency especially since they brand themselves as “The Stock Market for Things”.
Just be upfront with your users.
If you’re not letting them sell to the highest bidder by clicking a button, don’t say that you do.
If you match buyers and sellers in the same continent, just say that. This way, new users know exactly what to expect. They won’t take unnecessary risks based on false information that results in them loosing money.
StockX can fix these issues by just being upfront. Plain and simple.