Nike goes big with an experiential concept in Soho
Nike is making a full-court press into experiential retail with its new store in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood.
The five-story operation, which opened in mid-November, is home to an array of high-tech bells and whistles meant to thrill the athletic shoe shopper, as reported by The Motley Fool. The new store features technology that allows customers to personalize products with laser engraving, treadmills with sensors for evaluating running shoes and fitting rooms with a lounge-like feel. One of the more futuristic and immersive features is an in-store basketball court that senses the performance of particular products and gives customers feedback on digital on-court screens. There are also in-store experts on hand to help customers.
The article speculates on Nike planning to someday use the store as a launching pad for in-store personalized shoe production. Adidas has seen some success with its Speedfactories — production facilities capable of quickly creating more localized, customized products with a minimal amount of human labor involved.
Nike is also making rare, exclusive sneakers available at the Soho location, as reported by GQ. The store is selling a pair of sneakers created by Menswear designer John Elliot in collaboration with LeBron James. With sneakers having a huge and passionate collector base, such exclusives could turn the store into a point of pilgrimage for out-of-state and even international collectors.
Nike has also recently been extending its brick-and-mortar brand reach through other retailers. Through Foot Locker and its various sub-brands, Nike has opened up single-vendor store concepts such as Flight 23, which sells only Jordan brand products, and Nike Yardline, a football-themed concept.
Though sneakerheads are reportedly enjoying the immersive experiences and the opportunities to buy one-off products, not everyone is overjoyed with the store. In the ramp-up to the store opening, local politicians rallied against it, as reported by PIX 11, claiming that the area is already oversaturated and that the addition of a new big-draw, big-box store would threaten pedestrian safety.
- How Nike’s New Concept Store Could Ultimately Change Retail – The Motley Fool
- Will Adidas Speedfactory disrupt shoe production? – RetailWire
- Foot Locker specializes in vendor stores – RetailWire
- LeBron James’ New Nike Sneakers Were Designed with the Help of Menswear God John Elliott – GQ
- Just (don’t) do it, NYC leaders say about Niketown in Soho – Pix 11
- First Look: Inside Nike Soho – Nike
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Nike’s experiential store create brand-loyal customers out of casual customers for the brand? For what other brands and in what other areas outside of Soho is such an experiential retail outlet feasible and beneficial?