GOAT succeeds in its ambition of providing the safest and most trusted marketplace for buying pricey and limited-edition trainers.
Its model is near fool-proof and could well have significant implications for the luxury sector and its growing issues with counterfeit goods.
Despite this, the dramatic measures taken to ensure complete trust from its buyers, make selling an arduous and often costly task. Though you can be certain what you’re getting is legit, it’ll come at the expense of time and efficiency and may persuade more casual buyers to shop elsewhere.
What is GOAT?
A goat (or Capra aegagrus) is an agile and hardy mamal with four-chambered stomachs which play a vital role in digesting, regurgitating, and redigesting its food, often found on the side of a mountain.
GOAT (or Greatest of all Time) is a sneaker resale app which has taken the market by storm, allowing savvy traders to make thousands of dollars thanks to the appreciation of limited-edition footwear.
Last month it received a $100 million investment from the sneaker retail giant Foot Locker, demonstrating the footwear industry’s confidence in GOAT as an effective and financially viable model and elevating the brand from the world of hype-beasts into more mainstream territory.
It has earned a reputation for being the most reliable marketplace for purchasing genuine goods and weeding out any fake or counterfeit items, imposing stringent and often cut-throat requirements for its sellers.
Its trademark system sees every purchase be sent via a GOAT authentication facility, in which the shoes are given a thorough inspection by professionals to ensure they’re the real-deal.
Though it is primarily a re-sale platform, GOAT also offers new shoes and ones sent directly from third party retailers.
Charged took a closer look to see how it did.
As you’d expect from a streetwear app, the design of GOAT is sleek, modern and most importantly easy to use and navigate.
The excessive white space rightly gives prominence to the shoes in question, and the uniform photographs make browsing a pleasure.
What’s most refreshing for an app with a fairly complex buying and selling process, is that each step and every consideration is explained in plain, clear terms.
Parting ways with hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds for a pair of shoes you haven’t seen in person will always pose risks, but a couple of simple additions made by GOAT make this process a little less scary, and other marketplaces will be kicking themselves for not thinking them up.
First is a feature you’re presented with upon registration, which asks you not only for your shoe size, but which country and brand that size applies to. Everyone knows a size 8 Nike is a little different to a size 8 Adidas, and this simple feature will convert every size to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying.
Next is an addition called “On Feet” which allows users to upload pictures of themselves wearing the shoes to give an idea of how they look in situ. Its common on many websites to see shoes modeled as part of an outfit, but this gives a broader and often more realistic impression for the buyer.
The app’s bread and butter is of course its authenticity guarantee, which it goes to great lengths to make possible.
Aside from its core concept of filtering everything through professional authenticators, it puts its sellers through stringent checks to ensure they are both accountable and reliable.
Sellers must be accepted by GOAT in a process which can take over a month, and requires them to provide personal details, even their social media accounts. Once accepted their given a base rating of 90.
Every time they make a sale they’re awarded two points, and can go as high as 250. However, for every cancellation they’re deducted 10 points. As a sellers rating gets lower, the commission they pay on their items increases and if you drop below 50, you’re banned from selling.
Customers will get a full refund if the shoes are found to be fake during authentication and can return new items or shoes purchased through GOAT’s Clean scheme.
Though GOAT makes an effort to ensure sizes are translated accurately into locally recognised equivalents, all items on GOAT are listed in US dollars.
This means than anyone buying from the UK or any other country other than the US will need to use a currency converter in order to compare prices.
GOAT says it updates foreign exchange rates on its site daily, but adds that it takes “no responsibility for the accuracy of any foreign exchange rates applied to your purchase”.
GOAT is actually known for being significantly cheaper for buyers than rivals like Flight Club, but in other areas it takes a pretty significant cut.
First off its “Instant Ship” option, which ships new shoes directly from its facility cutting delivery time as items have already been authenticated, are often significantly more expensive than other local sites. Charged checked five different shoes on GOAT’s Instant Ship platform and found that the majority of sizes on all of the items could be found cheaper elsewhere.
What’s more for countries such as the UK, international shipping costs $40 (£30) and can often take a number of weeks to arrive.
Sellers too are charged pretty steeply for the privilege of selling online. Initially they will pay a commission of 9.5 per cent, roughly the same as Ebay. However, if their rating gets downgraded this can rise to 20 per cent.
This rises to 30 per cent if a seller uses GOAT’s Clean service, in which they’ll professionally clean the shoes before they’re shipped.
Furthermore, when a seller manages to sell an item, funds are delivered into their GOAT account. In order to “cash out” money they have made, they’re charged 2.9 per cent.