Why your streetwear brand needs to beat the bots

Bot based cyber threats might not be the first thing you think about as a streetwear brand. But whether you’re Evisu, Supreme, Stussy or Yeezy Supply, it’s highly likely your website is consistently targeted by bots.

The activity of the sneaker bots can lead to disappointment for genuine customers, overloaded websites and a poor user experience – all things a consumer brand wants to avoid.

Not a good look

The main goal of the sneaker bots is to beat human buyers when it comes to new product drops, releases and raffles. People pay for bot services like CyberAIO to secure the most coveted items – such as limited edition sneakers – which they then sell on with a huge markup.

One of the earliest sneaker bot cases was in 2012, when Nike released the Air Jordan Doernbecher 9 sneaker via Twitter, with users reserving the shoe via direct messages to the company. Already then bots searched Twitter’s API and sent hundreds of DMs to reserve the shoes. 

Now, there are even dedicated streetwear resale sites like StockX, which the New York Times has dubbed a ‘Nasdaq for Sneakerheads’.

As well as unfairly profiting from your brand’s exclusivity, these bots annoy genuine customers who are left empty handed. Repeated issues with sneaker bots can impact the trust that sneakerhead community have in your brand – and in the longer term, damage your brand’s reputation.

Why your streetwear brand needs to beat the bots

Another reputational issue you’ll face as a streetwear brand is fake products. Stopping fakers from using bots to scrape information on new products, pricing and even branding from your website should be another priority.

Keep the lights on


Removing bots from your website traffic helps your site run faster and offer a better service to the human shoppers attempting to make a genuine purchase. 

When you launch new clothing or sneakers, you’ll normally experience a huge spike in traffic to your website, as people rush to order your latest apparel. But a significant proportion of this traffic – often 70 percent but sometimes even closer to 100 percent – is made up of bots. 

To give you a sense of the scale of the bot problem, one launch by Supreme resulted in more than 986 million pageviews and 1.9 billion purchase attempts in a single day.

This level of traffic can slow or even crash your site. 

Kicking sneaker bots into touch

Sneaker bots evade normal protection methods in several ways: 

  • by simulating human behaviour such as keystrokes and mouse movement
  • using resident IPs from compromised WiFi routers to make IPs appear clean
  • making low-volume requests to avoid triggering rate limiting software
  • and bypassing CAPTCHA. 

These all make it particularly difficult to block bots using traditional security solutions.

The best way for your brand to overcome these challenges and successfully defend against bots is to work with a security specialist that can help you filter out the bots. Taking this approach ensures that only humans are able to access your site in the first place, while removing the need for you to invest in expensive infrastructure or resources to cope with the traffic.

At Variti we can determine if a request is made by a human or a bot using hundreds of factors. Our software does this in real time, providing the rapid response needed to counter bots on product drops that can sell out in seconds – and with a 99.99 percent success rate.

Another benefit of this approach is that there is no need to block IPs or use CAPTCHA, meaning there is nothing to delay customers from getting to the item page to place an order before the item sells out. 

If you want your latest apparel and sneakers to make it to your most passionate fans, you need to beat the bots. And by using Variti’s expert solution to filter them out, you can make this happen.

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To understand more about how automated attacks can affect your business and how Variti solutions can help you combat them, get in touch today. 

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