Mike "Reezy" Rezendes II and three full-time employees scour Ross, Marshall's, and Nike Outlets for discounted sneakers and sell them for a slight markup on Amazon, making about $20 in profit per pair. Sam Cohen says he grossed about $1 million after mass-purchasing Nike products at 90% discounts when Sports Authority went under and selling them on Amazon. But Rezendes, Cohen, and others like them got some bad news this month, the Wall Street Journal reports in a long look at the shifting sands of retail. After years of holding out, Nike has agreed to add Amazon as a distributor and officially sell its shoes and clothing on the site. The change of heart came largely due to the success of third-party sellers like Rezendes and Cohen.
Retailers have long resisted partnering with Amazon because it means giving up control of how their products are presented and priced. "They consider it a site that sells items, not one that builds brands," WSJ sums up. But as malls shutter and Amazon continues to grow, more and more retailers have found them a necessary partner. "Amazon is the best, without any comparison, transaction platform in the world,” says the chief executive of Adidas, which saw its market share in the US increase from 7% to 11% after it started selling on Amazon in 2014. According to a recent survey, Amazon is now tied with Foot Locker as America's favorite place to buy sneakers. Read the full WSJ piece here for the details of Nike's deal with Amazon, which attempts to crack down on the site's third-party sellers. (Read more Longform stories.)