With sneakers no longer a faux pas to wear in the office or to weddings, the shoe demand continues to grow at a rapid rate. And no one knows that better than GOAT, the world's largest platform for buying and selling classic and rare sneakers. They also know that when the demand goes up, so does the need to streamline selling practices to meet the demand. So, how do they do it? With Apple and Jamf.
Fashion-forward style and technology
Sneaker culture is alive and well. And no one knows that better than GOAT, the world’s largest digital platform for buying and selling classic and rare sneakers. With 10 million registered users leveraging its digital purchasing platforms, GOAT acquired Flight Club in February of 2018 to expand its footprint and open retail stores in Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
From the boardroom to the warehouse, GOAT has always been an Apple device shop. The founders saw the power and flexibility of the Apple ecosystem early on, and that mentality has continued with each new hire along the way.
In mid 2017, as GOAT exceeded the 50 Apple device mark, Ryan Colley was brought on to serve as IT Director. At the time, GOAT did not have a dedicated Apple device management solution, so finding the right one was Colley’s first order of business.
“I’ve used just about every device management product on the market throughout my career,” Colley said. “So, I brought Jamf in with me.”
Streamlining sneaker selling with Jamf
Jamf Pro, the gold standard in Apple device management, has a proven track record of integrating with Apple services and helping businesses maximize their technology investments; something that’s not lost on Colley.
“Being able to use Apple’s business tools in conjunction with a tool like Jamf lets us be really fast, really flexible, and use a small team to manage all devices across our 12 locations,” he said.
How small of a team? GOAT manages its entire fleet of more than 1,000 macOS and iOS devices with only two people. And these devices don’t just have one use case (or one lifespan).
Lacing up devices for one more run
Employees are all given new Apple devices to ensure they are using the technology that makes them most productive. While Apple hardware already has the longest lifespan and greatest residual value of any technology hardware, GOAT has taken Apple longevity one step further.
Once it’s time for an employee to refresh their hardware, GOAT moves older models to the warehouse and uses them for kiosks. It’s normal for five, six or seven-year-old devices to continue to serve a purpose in a new environment.
“In one warehouse, we still have MacBook Air devices from 2010 that are in use, so it really allows us to stretch the lifetime of those computers and get maximum use out of them,” says Colley.
Record onboarding speeds for GOAT employees
With sneakers no longer a faux pas to wear in the office or to weddings, the shoe demand continues to grow at a rapid rate. As a result, so does the need for more headcount and work stations. GOAT now has a tool in Jamf to address both.
In Q4 2018 alone, GOAT added 80 new work stations and was onboarding five new employees a week. To say it was a constant barrage of new equipment and new deployments is an understatement.
With efficient workflows on their side, GOAT delivers a zero-touch device deployment experience to each new employee. After HR drops a help ticket alerting IT of a new hire, they quickly gather a subset of the device needs based on the individual’s role and configure the device.
On the employee’s first day, they are handed a cellophane-wrapped Apple device and all necessary accessories. The user simply unboxes, powers on and walks through the standard Apple Setup Assistant process to get started, same as they would with a personal device.
According to Colley, this onboarding experience is the same if they are in the GOAT headquarters or if they’re on their couch at home. As soon as the device hits GOAT’s Apple Business Manager instance, Jamf automatically goes to work preparing and configuring the new machine.
Colley adds, “Jamf really excels at zero-touch configuration and enrollment of new devices. The ability for us to manage our fleet from any location at any time is what’s really key for us.”
This same hands-free enrollment process of each Apple device also allows GOAT to ship iOS devices directly to retail stores. Once opened, the device is ready to be a modern point-of-sale cash register.
Being able to use Apple’s business tools in conjunction with a tool like Jamf lets us be really fast, really flexible, and use a small team to manage all devices across our 12 locations.
Saving time and money with every sale
All successful retail organizations know that the sale doesn’t end as soon as money is transacted. Satisfied customers must receive their packages in a timely manner, or else they won’t return.
The way GOAT prints shipping labels in their warehouses is very custom. They don’t use a standard printer server and have users simply hit Command-P. Instead, GOAT has a series of servers and work stations that listen for printer requests through a Ruby web app.
As a result, GOAT has to conduct large updates to their printer services. According to Colley, if these updates had to be done manually, they would require at least three or four additional staff members. Luckily for them, they don’t.
“We utilize Jamf to mass update our entire fleet of kiosks in about five minutes any time we have to make some sort of software or configuration change,” Colley said.
This saves them from needing to physically touch or manually remote into 300 individual machines. Instead, they have Jamf build and distribute a configuration to all 300 machines at once.
Instant access to what employees and customers need most
To streamline shipping efficiencies even further, GOAT added its own Printer Reset application into Jamf Self Service (an online app catalog) on all Mac kiosks in its warehouses.
“IT would take 10-15 tickets per day on printing issues before we were able to add that app to Self Service,” said Colley. “The day we added it and trained the staff on how to use it, we’ve never had another ticket about it.”
Considering that each one of the printer tickets took anywhere from 15-60 minutes (depending on travel time) to address, GOAT is saving hours every week simply by allowing employees to help themselves when issues arise.
“Being able to identify operational challenges and use Jamf and Self Service to solve those and reduce our ticket queue is invaluable,” said Colley.
But that’s not all. As more iOS devices get rolled out to its retail and warehouse locations, GOAT plans to load more apps in Self Service. Examples include an inventory app that allows an employee to scan any shoe on any shelf in any location to collect information, a management app that notifies a back-house retail employee to pull a shoe from the stock and bring it to the sales associate on the floor, and of course, a cash register app to empower all employees to help customers check out.
Jamf really excels at zero-touch configuration and enrollment of new devices. The ability for us to manage our fleet from any location at any time is what’s really key for us.
Saving the day on Black Friday
The mother of all shopping days, Black Friday, is not a time to have any glitches with retail operations. Unfortunately, GOAT did when more employees worked remotely than IT anticipated, and subsequently, put a lot of strain on its VPN system.
Once IT became aware of the potential problem, they were able to create a new hardware-based VPN system, make a configuration profile for it, scope and deploy the profile to the 120 remote employees impacted — all in under two hours.
“If we wouldn’t have had Jamf, we would have had to manually get on the phone with 120 remote employees and try and walk them through setting up a VPN configuration,” said Colley. “It would have been a nightmare.”
Identifying operational inefficiencies before they happen
As fun as selecting the perfect pair of sneakers for the first day of school is, choosing the perfect management solution for the hardware purchased is just as important for IT.
GOAT is re-imagining how the world thinks about shoes. And Jamf is helping them satisfy customers and employees alike by making the technology a seamless part of the process.