Beyond the products

Ask Phill's take on the streetwear drop that's got everyone talking

Ask Phill's take on the streetwear drop that's got everyone talking

Alexine Maurin

6 minute read21 Nov 2023

At the D2C Summit, kicking things off with one of our cases is a tradition we, at Ask Phill, hold dear. This year, the theme was "People buy stories, not products." What better illustration for this than the story behind the Nike x Corteiz high-volume drops? When one of the most disruptive brands teams up with an industry titan, it's a signal for a new chapter in how streetwear is sold. This talk dives into how solid storytelling and community-building can ignite desire in the digital age. Not only that, you will also see how Shopify is definitely a great choice when handling these types of high-demand releases.

Our co-founder Martijn Wijsmuller and Head of Tech Tico van Beurden took the stage to share the ins and outs of this unexpected collab. Watch it again below to catch all the details.

The Nike x Corteiz Drop

The drop was all about Nike & Corteiz coming together to launch a new take on the Airmax 95'. A landmark moment for Corteiz, signaling their first big collab. Before the online release, the buzz was already off the charts due to offline drop events in Paris, London & New York. 

If you are curious about these offline drops, check out our detailed case study here.

From the streets to the screens

When the offline buzz was loud enough, it was time to bring the noise online. That's where we, at Ask Phill, stepped in. In these types of high-volume drops, there are a few big challenges to consider. First, there's the expected high traffic; we knew many would be trying to get their hands on the limited products at the same time, with a risk of overloading the website. Then, we have the bots to deal with. These software tools help resellers grab the limited editions and resell them at higher prices before real fans can get them, fueling a whole resale industry.

Triumph over traffic

The clients envisioned three distinct releases for different customer groups: friends and family, early access, and the official drop. The goal of early access was to let the loyal fans shop first. Then came the official drop, where everyone got a chance to buy a pair.

Tackling these challenges required a mix of technical expertise and creative strategy. Facing a high-traffic scenario, we leveraged Shopify's native features to the maximum. We used Shopify's customer segments to identify loyal fans for early access, sending them a unique password via Shopify Email. A special script ensured only these fans could make a purchase, even when the password was shared on social platforms. 

Come to the official drop, we activated Shopify Bot protection to manage the massive traffic and keep bots at bay. This created a digital queue, ensuring a smooth purchasing process for the nearly 100,000 live visitors and 50,000 + active carts.

The entire process was executed natively on Shopify, demonstrating its tremendous capability to handle high-demand releases without any custom front-end coding. 

Nike air max 95 Nike air max 95

Key takeaways

In our view, this presentation pinpointed two main takeaways:

  1. Shopify shines: This entire drop was pulled off on Shopify, with zero custom coding on the front-end. It's living proof that regardless of your brand's size, Shopify can manage high-volume drops without a hitch or the need for hosting upgrades.
  2. Your brand is your badge: Bear in mind the platform is merely a tool; your brand is the actual driver of creativity. Invest in your brand, nurture a community around it, and witness a loyal customer base flourish. This is the pathway to generating a magnetic attraction towards your products, reducing the reliance on large ad spending to drive sales.

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