Sneaker Con: Making the “Greatest Sneaker Show” the Most Trusted as Well
Sneaker Con, a series of gatherings for shoe fanatics, brings hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of people to each of its events held in the US and worldwide. Thanks to Sneaker Con’s NFC-based authentication solution developed in conjunction with Smartrac and Blue Bite, buyers and sellers of the fashionable footwear now benefit from drastically improved counterfeit protection.
As sneakers have evolved into coveted collector's items as well as objects of speculation which have proven to become status symbols; specialized “Get-together” events and trading platforms have evolved.
Sneaker Con, describing itself as “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth” successfully provides both the ultimate sneaker culture community and trading platforms since 2009, including last year’s New York event that attracted 500 vendors and over 19,000 people, according to “New York Times." At each show, organizers offer an authentication service by experts based on a visual and proprietary testing product inspection – which apparently is a mere necessity; as regularly, one-fifth of the shoes inspected turn out to be counterfeits.
Fighting Counterfeits, Building Trust
On top of the proportion of counterfeits occurring worldwide, the tracking of the counterfeit shoes becomes difficult due to the number of times shoes can be bought and resold during the two-day events. Many times, shoes are not verified by a buyer and then resold and the last party buying the shoe at a higher valued price will check the legitimacy with an on-staff inspector. If deemed counterfeit, the buyer is responsible for sourcing the seller and getting his money back and the cycle to trace the counterfeit vendor begins.
To mitigate these problems, Sneaker Con teamed up with Smartrac and Blue Bite to bring its solution to life, a process that supports its anti-counterfeit efforts and hence boosts the trust in its commerce platform and at the Sneaker Con live events. This approach was streamlined at an earlier show in Anaheim, California. Sneaker Con’s expert inspectors tested the sneakers and – if deemed authentic – attached a Fixed Hard Tag with an embedded secure authentication CIRCUS™ NFC inlay from Smartrac to the shoe. The NFC tag facilitates future engagement and immediate visual authentication and carries a “Legit” lettering triggering the nickname “Legit Tag”.
During the inspection process, a SKU Look-Up (by box and shoe tongue) is conducted and referenced with a special Sneaker Con App for IOS or Android by tapping the phone on the hard tag. Thereby, with the support of Smartrac and Blue Bite, Sneaker Con has created a solution that performs a one-time token-based authentication, effectively “loading” the tag with information about the sneaker, including the model name, size, condition and SKU number.
“Legit Tags” Provide Enhanced Counterfeit Protection and Customer Experience
The Sneaker Con digital marketplace app was created for sneakerheads to enjoy the experience of the Sneaker Con convention at home. Once an authenticator certified a sneaker, an attendee could easily add it to their virtual closet by simply tapping the new LEGIT tag embedded with NFC. Since the app integrated with Blue Bite’s SDK, the app would display a LEGIT badge next to the product image, indicating that the sneaker was authenticated in person by Sneaker Con experts. Additionally, the only way to receive a LEGIT badge in the online marketplace was to physically tap an NFC enabled LEGIT tag.
Physically, the Legit Tags are attached to the sneaker through a shoelace hole and can only be removed with a pair of wire cutters. In turn, if somebody wanted to put on a fake pair, they would have to completely cut it off from a shoe, making it obvious that it had been tampered. The one-time token-based authentication performed by the Legit Tag solution ensures that the tag’s information cannot be usefully copied or shared. The Legit Tags’ cool look and the experience related to them made sure that 90% of the tags remain on to sneakers to showcase authenticity.
“We were happy to collaborate with Smartrac at Sneaker Con. The value that their NFC technology has brought to our Sneaker Con Authenticated brand and authentication system from a security and marketing standpoint is tremendous. Counterfeit sneakers have always been a threat to both vendors and consumers, and we are glad to enter the next iteration of our LEGIT tag in partnership with Smartrac”, said William Debord, Project Manager at Sneaker Con Digital.
To learn more about Sneaker Con and for any related inquiries please contact: +1 718-825-1500.
For further information about Smartrac's NFC Inlays & tags and solutions, please contact our Sales & Customer Service Team.