Case Study: Reebok Crowdfunds Unique Shoe Designs

Project Overview

Reebok is an iconic shoe brand, known for its cool and comfortable sneakers. They design and sell everything from professional sports shoes to stunning street shoes for die-hard sneaker-head collectors. They are experts at awesome shoes.

The team from Reebok reached out to IgnitionDeck regarding a special project that was brewing at their Boston Headquarters. Intrigued to receive an inquiry from a world-renown brand, we engaged with the Reebok team on what they were looking to do, and what features they needed to accomplish what they wanted to do.

Welcome to First Pitch by Reebok

Cool shoe designs get an equally cool platform

The real way to give sneaker lovers what they want? Make them vote with their $$$ to say which shoes should get made and which should be scrapped. The solution is First Pitch by Reebok: a revolutionary end-to-end Kickstarter-like microsite experience where sneakerheads can commit to a shoe tailored to their unique interests, one drop at a time. If a shoe doesn’t get enough backers, it’s ditched and the process starts over.

Allison Penn, Copywriter @ Reebok

The Vision

Reebok wanted an innovative platform to pitch new limited-edition shoe designs to shoe-lovers. They had a unique concept of a Kickstarter-style website for sneakers, where the price would start at $1 and go up by one dollar for each shoe ordered, up to the maximum retail price. They also needed to ensure the messaging connected with their audience, ensuring their creative was on point.

From there, customers would pay the retail price until the shoe sold out or the campaign ended. Only shoes with enough orders would get produced. So Reebok’s concept was for a hybrid pricing approach: dynamic pricing up to the retail price, and static pricing from thereon.

The Challenge

The fashion industry at large has a problem. Waste. It accounts for roughly 4% of the world’s waste every year. Manufacturers often produce clothing lines and accessories based on prior sales figures and trending data. While that can help with forecasting, it doesn’t paint a true picture of what will sell. I mean, the fashion industry, like other industries, isn’t great at predicting the future after all. 

That’s when the good folks at Reebok asked What if. What if there were a way to create fashionable and unique designs for only those individuals who wanted them?

Reebok flipped the script altogether and decided to approach things differently—sustainably.

E-commerce websites all tend to work the same way, with static pricing – each item has a fixed price. There are a few other kinds of websites, including crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, where the pricing is dynamic – different people pay different prices. But could an e-commerce site have dynamic pricing? Furthermore, could that website incentivize super-fans to commit to a concept that hadn’t been made yet? 

Could the marriage of do-good ethical manufacturing and technology help Reebok produce something wildly daring?

Crowdfunding + Ecommerce Integration

Reebok’s team looked at a number of solutions on the market (e.g. Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, etc.) but found them limited in both scope and flexibility unless they wanted to shell out for a custom solution. Ultimately, Reebok wanted a crowdfunding platform that was flexible enough for their needs and one that seamlessly integrated with popular e-commerce platforms and content management systems. 

IgnitionDeck was the answer that the Reebok team was looking for. It runs on WordPress, allowing brands, artists, and entrepreneurs the ability to create crowdfunded campaigns — all without locking them down to a single WordPress theme. In other words, it’s highly customizable, which is exactly what Reebok required. 

Having solved the crowdfunding piece, the transaction handling piece was a no-brainer. After proposing a few solutions, they landed on WooCommerce as their open-source e-commerce platform — seeing it runs on WordPress and integrates nicely with IgnitionDeck’s crowdfunding capabilities. 

The Solution

Reebok is an expert at cool shoe designs and has a strong e-commerce support department but wanted an out-of-the-box approach to selling boutique collectible shoes. IgnitionDeck was able to check many of the boxes that Reebok was looking for a solution to. By using IgnitionDeck’s integration with WooCommerce, Reebok was able to leverage a world-class, tried-and-true, e-commerce platform to handle sales and orders. IgnitionDeck was able to handle much of the heavy lifting for the crowdfunding side of things.

DigiSavvy was brought in to build out a custom WordPress site powered by WooCommerce and IgnitionDeck for Reebok. And to succeed at the challenging vision, DigiSavvy built Reebok a custom WordPress plugin to implement hybrid dynamic-then-static pricing. Of course, we also made sure that transactions on the new site are secure and that the user experience is excellent. The site went live in August 2020.

The Results

The first campaign that Reebok launched sold out in fifteen minutes! Their site was crushed with traffic but Pantheon was able to sustain the load of traffic and not crash, with server resources scaling on-demand.

Reebok ran four campaigns as part of their proof of concept and every shoe sold out! Together, Reebok and IgnitionDeck were able to create a robust crowdfunding platform that exceeded everyone’s expectations.

All in all the project was delivered by a team of fifteen people, from Reebok and DigiSavvy, spread across six timezones. It took a lot of collaboration, coordination, and flexibility to deliver the exact solution that Reebok asked for.

Reebok was all too happy to announce the launch of First Pitch and share the results of their campaign.

What will you build with IgnitionDeck?

This project was built in 2020 and was live through 2021 and since decommissioned. While the website is no longer up you can see an archive of it here.

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