Nike launches digitally-led store

Discussion
Photo: Nike
Jul 13, 2018
Tom Ryan

Nike has introduced “Nike Live,” a retail concept that promises to “unite digital and physical shopping experiences for its consumers, and to further personalize the NikePlus Member in-store journey.”

The location and product assortment at the store in Melrose, CA was selected using insights from NikePlus member activity and buying patterns across the brand’s digital touchpoints. The platforms include Nike.com; the Nike App; two fitness apps that track activity levels, NTC (Nike Training Club) and NRC (Nike Running Club); and SNKRS, its app that broadcasts sneaker launches.

The new store’s digital component embraces the Nike App at Retail service, allowing NikePlus members to reserve product to in-store Digital Lockers, scan product barcodes to learn more (product availability in nearby stores or online, available colors, etc.) and access new features and content on their Nike App homepage.

Among the digital-enabled features at the store:

  • Retail Home: When entering Nike Live, members gain access to an array of new features and content via their Nike App homepage.
  • Reserve: Using the Nike App, shoppers can reserve product, including having them placed in the store’s Digital Lockers.

    Nike launches digitally-led store
    Photo: Nike
  • Nike Scan: Members can scan any product barcode to pull up online and in-store inventory and learn more about the item.
  • Nike Express Sessions: Visitors can book one-on-one sessions with associates via the Nike app, including in a Dynamic Fit Zone outfitted with a lounge, rooms for styling and a Nike Trial Zone (with treadmill).
  • Swoosh Text: This feature offers two-way conversation through SMS messaging with a store associate.
  • Curb Services: Customers can text a store associate when they’re close to the store to complete a return/exchange or pickup an item ordered online.
  • NikePlus Unlocks: Via the app, members can “unlock” rewards, such as music from Apple, fitness classes from ClassPass or exclusive VIP experiences. Some rewards are tied to fitness activity on Nike’s fitness apps.

“Nike Live stores are specifically designed to be a service hub for local NikePlus members,” Heidi O’Neill, president, NikeDirect, said in a statement. “We will also test services that can then roll out to other Nike stores.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you rate how well the “Nike Live” concept works in blending digital and physical elements of the shopping experience? Which features seem most innovative and which do you see becoming common at many other retailers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I can see all the athletic footwear retailers emulating or leapfrogging these features."
"I say KUDOS to this. Half the battle right now is starting somewhere and having a store that can be used as a learning lab."
"This brief overview also leaves out one of the key elements of this store test: it is based on a very specific local geography..."

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13 Comments on "Nike launches digitally-led store"


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Bob Amster
BrainTrust

The features that stand out to me are Reserve, Nike Express Sessions and Club Services. In the footwear environment, Reserve and Express Sessions offer desirable functionality. I can see all the athletic footwear retailers emulate or leapfrog these features because these are things of which a Nike customer can really take advantage.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

I think the Nike Live concept is excellent because it combines technology with human interaction which should enhance the in-store experience. Many conveniences like the Swoosh Text and Curb Services — being able to text a store associate when you’re minutes away — are smart and will please customers. This concept was well thought out and I see it as being hugely successful. Watch how other retailers will follow.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Uhah — excuse me for yawning. Yeah, it’s a digitally-led store, but there’s really no innovation here. Some of these “features” are old hat and nothing special. For example, Nike Scan is truly table stakes for any retail app nowadays. The rest is mostly thinly-veneered attempts to get customers in conversation with sales associates.

Given that it’s Nike, and given the technology I was developing a decade ago that’s far more engaging and innovative than this, I’m really disappointed. Nike is a premier brand and must provide extraordinary experiences and services to maintain their status if they don’t want their position to erode, especially as Amazon ramps up private label in their space.

Back to the strategy room guys …

Denis Kelly
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

This concept is really digitally focused and I’m not sure it is “blended” that well with traditional retail services. It sounds like a part store and, as Nike states, a “hub” — so it seems like they are interested in gathering information and offering services as much as they are interested in selling. I think the customer might be confused as well.

As for innovative services that might take hold:

  • Swoosh Text: I could see this becoming more common as it might be easier to text an associate then actually see one — at least in most department stores.
  • Express Sessions with a treadmill sounds interesting as this is the “experience” that most brick-and-mortar is lacking these days. As a runner I would welcome the chance to actually try out the product.
Jeff Miller
Guest

Nike has always been experimental in both digital and in their stores. Even the big Niketown concepts, which may seem out of date now, were a good disruptor at the time. The features aimed at real sneakerheads and core athletes that tie digital to real people in the store who are also passionate are the keys to me.

This brief overview also leaves out one of the key elements of this store test: it is based on a very specific local geography and they plan to launch others that also pull in the data from that very small micro-region which should make these a hub for passionate people in their community. People will travel and like novelty shopping but a brick-and-mortar store really depends on local repeat visitors and connecting the store and digital to local is a powerful move.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Nike has apparently combined their existing “digital”(?) elements under one roof. I’m not seeing any real innovation. Is this another PR exercise to show shareholders and analysts that Nike is being relevant and “digital”? Retail is beginning to feel similar to what is happening in the music industry — in 1964 you listened to music off a vinyl record. Then came the Walkman, then iPods, then MP3s, then Pandora and Spotify and guess what’s hot today? Yep, vinyl! Perhaps retail should go back the basics as well?

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

I think a retail brand that creates the opportunity to become an extension of the customer’s lifestyle and then actually executes on that opportunity deserves the highest marks. Talk about emotional connection, trust and loyalty! Right up there with Apple stores in my book.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Simply stated, the idea of stores being “service hubs” instead of product hubs is a concept more retailers could, and should embrace.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

As a a practitioner of this kind of work, I know how hard it is to get a huge group of internal stakeholders to agree to a set of “experiences” to envision, install, activate, measure and tweak. As long as they are watching, learning, evolving and continuing to evolve, I say KUDOS to this. Half the battle right now is starting somewhere and having a store that can be used as a learning lab. I hope to see the second chapter of this store’s story in the next six months or so.

Michael Blackburn
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

I’m not sure if this is a great idea, but manufacturers finding more innovative ways to go direct to consumer can’t be good for Foot Locker, Finish Line, Dick’s …

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

I like this concept. Yes some of the digital elements aren’t “new” as such, but I think that’s not really the point. It should always come back to the customer and their experience. The digital elements here are designed to enhance that, but they’re also more likely to be taken up because they use technology/channels that customers are familiar with. At the end of the day this isn’t your typical Nike store so it doesn’t have to function like one. In fact I don’t think that encouraging stores to be carbon copies of each other is the way forward. As such, it’s great to see Nike using the data that a company of its size has to focus right down on an individual store.

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Vice President, Retail Marketing, enVista
1 year 3 months ago

While Nike is introducing several new digital capabilities, I agree with several others on the BrainTrust that most of the capabilities are not that groundbreaking. The features that I find most compelling are those that make the shopping experience more personal, such as the Nike Express Sessions. Getting one-on-one scheduled consultation sessions with associates via the Nike app, including in a Dynamic Fit Zone outfitted with a lounge, rooms for styling and a Nike Trial Zone (with treadmill) can make customers feel more “special.”

Min-Jee Hwang
Guest

Combining technology with human experience is the perfect omnichannel effort to enhance the shopper’s in-store experience. All of the features that Nike has integrated into Nike Live, such as Swoosh Text and Scan, will make their loyal customer base excited to shop with Nike while driving up competition between other athletic companies.

The modern concept of the retail “service hubs” is something more retailers should embrace. Service hubs make the shopping experience consumer focused while targeting the emotions of the customer. In this day and age, convenience is key. If you can make shopping easier for consumers, then they will continue to purchase your products and eventually become loyal to your brand.

Although Nike is just using pre-existing digital technology and repurposing it, rather than being innovative, Nike Live is still going to be very popular among shoppers and will continue to boost sales due to the unique experience customers are provided when they shop.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I can see all the athletic footwear retailers emulating or leapfrogging these features."
"I say KUDOS to this. Half the battle right now is starting somewhere and having a store that can be used as a learning lab."
"This brief overview also leaves out one of the key elements of this store test: it is based on a very specific local geography..."

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