How to build a website like GOAT

GOAT is an online marketplace for buying and selling the most coveted sneakers and apparel from the world’s leading brands. This guide explores how to design, build, and scale your own marketplace like GOAT.

Introduction: Why build a website like GOAT?

A pair of fake Jordans launched one of the largest sneaker marketplaces in the world. 

In 2014, Daishin Sugano had just opened his package from eBay with the previous year’s rerelease of the Air Jordan Grape 5s. As a former owner of the original release version when he was 10 years old, he immediately knew something was off. 

Sugano had just fallen victim to a scammer who sold him replicas for $400. Talking it over with his friend Eddy Lu, they were shocked that you could spend so much and wouldn’t know if what you bought was authentic. The two had cofounded many startups and were looking for new ideas, so they decided there and then to fill this gap in the market themselves. 

They launched GOAT a year later in 2015. GOAT is a consignment reseller marketplace that helps sellers facilitate exchange of their products with buyers. Sellers send their shoes and apparel to the team at GOAT where the items are then authenticated before being sent to the buyers. Even after expanding into offering many different services, growing to a $3 billion valuation, and raising over $500 million, the business still runs mainly on providing authentication services. 

GOAT has been successful in part due to its innovative approach to the sneaker resale market. The company has implemented features like a unique AI-powered authentication system to ensure the authenticity of all products, a user-friendly mobile app, and a wide selection of exclusive products. 

In addition, GOAT has established relationships with major brands such as Nike and Adidas to offer exclusive product releases. These features have made GOAT the go-to marketplace for sneakerheads and have enabled the company to become one of the largest and most successful online marketplaces.

How does a marketplace like GOAT work?

GOAT connects buyers and sellers worldwide, allowing them to buy and sell sneakers from various brands. 

The process is simple: users can search for the sneaker they want, view detailed product information, and place a bid. If the seller accepts the bid, the buyer can purchase the sneaker. 

What makes them stand out is that the seller then ships the item to a GOAT warehouse, where their team verifies the authenticity before shipping it to the buyer. GOAT also offers a secure marketplace payments and a hassle-free returns policy.

What is GOAT's business model?

GOAT bases its business model on a fee-based commission structure, where GOAT takes a percentage of the sale price for every sneaker sold on its platform. The main attraction of the marketplace for customers is its authentication service, which includes checking everything from the box to the tiniest details on the shoes to ensure they get the authenticity they want. 

Their AI combes through photos of different shoes first to eliminate obvious fakes. Then they have a team of workers trained to detect fakes take over and do a more thorough inspection down to the smell of the shoes—shoes from the replica factories apparently have a distinct smell different from the smell of Nike factory shoes, according to diehard sneakerheads. They also look out for things like dates of production, which factories sometimes get wrong on otherwise perfect fakes. 

In addition, GOAT’s platform provides services like shipping and customer support for buyers. GOAT also partners with select sneaker brands to offer exclusive releases, limited edition drops, and restocks. And they retail new products, which has helped them expand from solely(no pun intended) a sneaker marketplace to selling clothing and accessories.

They regularly collaborate with designer labels and recently exclusively launched the Alexander McQueen streetwear brand MCQ

Their business model allows them to maintain a steady revenue stream from both buyers and sellers while also providing a safe and secure marketplace for sneaker enthusiasts around the world. 

They have also expanded into apparel and brick-and-mortar sales through Grailed and Flight Club partnerships. And have more recently launched Alias to cater to global resellers and customers. 

How to create a successful alternative to GOAT

The idea behind GOAT was straightforward. Not only has it launched a booming billion-dollar business, but it has given rise to many similar ventures that are incredibly successful in their own right. 

GOAT’s success proves that the tried and tested method of finding a simple niche and building a solid model, then expanding outwards works perfectly. The focus should be on filling a gap in the market for the buyer or the seller. Start small and slowly build up your reputation and relationships with your customer base, and the growth will follow. 

Here’s an excellent guideline for how you can start building your marketplace small and grow it into the next great global powerhouse. 

  1. Identify a gap in the market: The first step to creating a successful alternative to GOAT is to identify a gap in the market. This could be a new product or service that GOAT and other similar platforms do not offer or a different way of providing the same services.
  2. Build a strong team: Developing a successful alternative to GOAT requires a strong team of experienced product design, marketing, and customer service professionals. This team should be able to identify customer needs, develop a strategy to address those needs, and create a product or service that meets those needs.
  3. Develop a unique value proposition: A successful alternative to GOAT needs to have a unique value proposition that sets it apart from the competition. This value proposition should focus on solving customer problems or providing an exceptional experience that customers cannot get from GOAT.
  4. Invest in marketing: A successful alternative to GOAT requires a strong marketing strategy. This strategy should include a variety of channels, such as social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, and more.
  5. Focus on customer service: Providing excellent customer service is essential for a successful alternative to GOAT. This means timely responses to customer inquiries, quickly resolving customer issues, and proactively approaching customer feedback.

Successful GOAT competitors

Below are some online marketplaces similar to GOAT that can be considered competitors:

  1. Stadium Goods: Self-titled as “The World’s Premier Marketplace,” Stadium Goods is a retailer that specializes in the resale of apparel like streetwear and aftermarket sneakers. This New York-based marketplace has an online store and a store and drop-off center, both located in SoHo.
Stadium Goods

2. StockX: StockX is one of the most popular marketplaces where users resell and buy the most sought-after sneakers, and can also buy or sell clothing. The platform also expanded into the video game consoles market amongst other electronic products like smartphones back in 2020.


3. Flight Club: This consignment and retail store boasts an aesthetic setting for customers to buy rare and popular sneakers. There aren’t that many marketplaces that can set up shop on the famous Broadway in New York, but Flight Club is part of a privileged few. They also have an online store to cater to a wider audience.

Flight Club

4. Kicks Crew: Founded in 2008, Kicks Crew is another New York-based marketplace that operates and ships globally. The platform allows customers to buy affordable authentic sneakers and get them delivered wherever they are. They also have clothing, sportswear, and accessories options for buyers.

Kicks Crew

5. Grailed: Grailed is a fashion marketplace similar to GOAT in a lot of ways, but a major difference is that while GOAT may lean more towards authentic sneakers—Grailed has become well-known for its vintage, designer, and streetwear clothing options—even though they still have a variety of sneaker options for buyers.


Ways to create a website like GOAT

When building out your GOAT-style website, there are many options to consider.

You can:

What the right marketplace development approach is for you will be driven by the features that you think your GOAT-style marketplace needs, the technical skills your team possesses, and the level of budget and time you're willing to spend on building your platform.

At Sharetribe, we have developed a marketplace solution with all that in mind.

Sharetribe is designed for launching a marketplace like GOAT fast. You can build your marketplace for free and launch it in one day. That jumpstarts your learning process.

When you want to develop your business further, or if your needs are so unique that you need a customized solution, Sharetribe allows you to extend and customize your marketplace infinitely. You can change the design and workflow completely, integrate any third-party services, build a mobile app, and more.

If you're interested in reading more about the steps it takes to build a marketplace, check out our How to start an online marketplace guide. It offers lots of expert advice for marketplace entrepreneurs that you can apply regardless of how you decide to build your website.

Good luck with your marketplace business!

Start your 14-day free trial

Create a marketplace today!

  • Launch quickly, without coding
  • Extend infinitely
  • Scale to any size
Start free trial

No credit card required