Will fans visit Nike in the metaverse?

Discussion
Source: Nike
Nov 24, 2021

Nike has created a virtual world on the Roblox online gaming platform, NIKELAND, that enables fans of the brand “to connect, create, share experiences and compete.”

Players dress up their avatars in Nike-branded footwear, apparel and backpacks while competing in mini-games, such as “Tag,” “Dodgeball” and “The Floor Is Lava.” A NIKELAND tool kit enables creators to design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials.

The applications take advantage of the accelerometers built into mobile devices to transfer users’ offline movement to online play. Nike writes, “For example, you can move your device and body IRL to pull off cool in-game moves like long jumps or speed runs.”

Players are rewarded with Blue Ribbons (that get them building materials) and Gold Medals (that unlock virtual products for avatars) for competing in yards, building their yard, exploring and finding Easter eggs.

The game includes a digital showroom that allows players to outfit their avatar with special Nike products. At Nike’s House of Innovation (HOI) store in New York City, a Snapchat lens transforms the kids’ floor into an AR-version of NIKELAND.

In a statement, Nike said NIKELAND, which is free, builds on its “goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle” that was launched with the Nike Playlist YouTube series.

Sam Poser, a Williams Trading analyst, sees NIKELAND as a way for Nike to reach younger kids and capture insights. Mr. Poser told CNBC, “If they know a bunch of kids are wearing it on NIKELAND, then they will then come out with it in the physical world.”

Although no reference was made to the potential to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the game, reports arrived in early November that Nike had filed for numerous trademark applications indicating its intent to make and sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel.

Nike becomes one of the first major brands to stake out territory in the metaverse. The mixed-reality vision has lately earned significant exposure with announcements from Facebook and Microsoft.

Dyson last week introduced a virtual-reality showroom accessible through Oculus headsets that lets consumers test hairdryers, straighteners and styles from their homes.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you rate the metaverse opportunity for Nike and other brands? Do you see NIKELAND as mostly an opportunity for branding, insights or sales of physical or virtual goods?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"If brands create seamless, in-platform ways to purchase products, I don’t see why these wouldn’t be sales opportunities. "
"Well, if the adage about going to where the customer is holds true, the metaverse and gaming are where a ton of younger clients are. So this has strong roots."
"The metaverse will be a significant shift for retail as it pivots them from being “hardware” companies to software plays."

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10 Comments on "Will fans visit Nike in the metaverse?"


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Christine Russo
BrainTrust

Well, if the adage about going to where the customer is holds true, the metaverse and gaming are where a ton of younger clients are. So this has strong roots.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

If brands create seamless, in-platform ways to purchase products, I don’t see why these wouldn’t be sales opportunities. The key is making consumers feel confident that how they’re experiencing the products virtually is exactly how they would in real life.

The insights potential here is great, though. This is an inspirational space to understand what consumers want.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

The metaverse is a huge opportunity for brands like Nike to embed themselves into consumers’ habits.

Roblox is digital dopamine for Gen Z. The pandemic ignited its popularity, and now users crave its social atmosphere, creative freedom and frequent rewards. (The addiction is real, as 2021 Christmas lists in our house include Robux digital currency.)

Times have changed. Nike’s marketing keeps evolving to reach its audience where they spend their time — and their parents’ money.

NIKELAND offers top-of-mind brand status and rich consumer insights, which will pay off in sales of physical and virtual goods.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Nike is following the path of what luxury brands had proven in the last two years – gamification is not only a GREAT way to engage a customer segment that has your undivided attention but it’s also a gateway to test product without sampling. This means customer validation of product without the cost of going to market. Driving insights through data to inform product and merchandising is part of Nike’s DTC strategy and driving engagement and sales is exactly the point.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I have two grandsons that are gamers. One has even been recruited for teams. I suspect they would never go to Nike or any other commercial metaverse.

Shawn Harris
BrainTrust

The metaverse will be a significant shift for retail as it pivots them from being “hardware” companies to software plays. Less marginal cost management, to more known fixed costs. This is huge! Nikeland is a brilliant idea, Roblox continues to be a very popular “place” to be.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

Didn’t we already play this game with Second Life? And wasn’t that a crash-and-burn moment? Great idea if it costs Nike nothing – otherwise, I’m wondering who they think will do this and why it will monetize.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Across both physical and digital channels, every single touchpoint is an opportunity for Nike and other retailers to drive outstanding customer experience. The metaverse is at its infancy stages, even though it’s a leading-edge customer experience innovation. Nike’s significant investment in the space with NIKELAND just demonstrates the power, potential, and opportunity that lies in the metaverse.

Gen Z customers are digital-first, relentlessly connected, and the metaverse represents the next stages of our digital experiences. Nike is effectively meeting this customer segment where they are. Eventually, the metaverse will be a connected experience with the in-store and e-commerce customer journeys. The metaverse may gamify the shopping experience, enable Nike to collect valuable customer insights, and allow Nike to drive trend-worthy products and experiences ahead of the innovation curve.

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

The metaverse opportunity is real. As for how I rate it, depends on your time horizon. Early tests build the internal capabilities, knowledge helps to identify gaps, figure out metrics, etc. On one hand we have retailers who still can’t get BOPIS right, so if you rate it for those retailers, then sure, metaverse seems far off. But Nike is on the front end of pretty much everything.

I think Nikeland is an opportunity for all mentioned. Brand to build awareness, insights to understand audience, behaviors, engagement and for sure both physical and virtual goods. There’s minimal downside here, it’s a no-brainer in my view. You can sit in a room and talk theory all day, but you’ve got to test and learn from what you believe are viable future opportunities for your business.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

As we enter new realms of virtual reality, innovative brands are attempting to stay up with the innovation. The metaverse is unquestionably a new opportunity for brands. Regardless of the outcome, brands must continue to experiment with current technological trends.

Nikeland is clearly more of a branding exercise since Nike has a strong hold on all channels, be DTC or Wholesale. Nike, in my opinion, is a customer-focused brand that excels at listening to its consumers’ pulses and modifying its business models accordingly. The virtual world is becoming more and more integrated into the lives of modern customers. Nike understands that in order to keep people engaged, it must incorporate digital experiences into its brand experiences.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"If brands create seamless, in-platform ways to purchase products, I don’t see why these wouldn’t be sales opportunities. "
"Well, if the adage about going to where the customer is holds true, the metaverse and gaming are where a ton of younger clients are. So this has strong roots."
"The metaverse will be a significant shift for retail as it pivots them from being “hardware” companies to software plays."

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