In the Nike store of the future, where a smartphone helps you shop

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Nike has seen the future of physical shopping, and it revolves around your phone.

The company opened a new flagship store in New York on Thursday, the culmination of years of internal research into personalized and experiential shopping. The six-story building, a model for the locations Nike has planned for cities around the world, is designed to work seamlessly with the Nike app, allowing shoppers to check in on their phones, requesting what to do with them. clothes are delivered to the locker rooms and schedule appointments with an in-house stylist.

Buyers automatically become NikePlus members after downloading the Nike app membership which grants them benefits such as discounts, personalized recommendations and exclusive product offers. NikePlus members already spend three times as much on Nike.com as guests, and the world’s largest seller of sneakers and sportswear believes it can achieve that ratio in physical stores as well, with some tweaking to the model. traditional retail.

“Mobile is at the center of people’s daily lives, and when people walk into the store, they come with their digital device,” said Adam Sussman, Chief Digital Officer of Nike. “We want to create a seamless connection between the physical and the digital experience.”

In this regard, the Nike store of the future is not primarily about generating sales within its own four walls, rather it is a porch for the entire Nike ecosystem. Six story immersive marketing strategy, if you will. You can buy shoes there, but you can also leave by only downloading the Nike app and, as far as the company is concerned, that’s good too.

It’s a trend that’s playing out in retail, led by Nike and Amazon’s new Books and Go stores, where apps are essential to the shopping experience, said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of the firm. retail consultancy WSL Strategic Retail. “There is logic in pushing buyers this way,” she says. “It’s about ‘How do I know you? How can I engage with you and integrate you into my community? “It’s not just about the immediate transaction.”

Nike caught a glimpse of this a few months ago, when it opened a concept store in Los Angeles to test new retail ideas. The company tracked members who entered the store versus a comparable set of customers who had not. Members who subsequently visited the store spent 30% more online than those who did not experience it in person.

The 68,000 square foot New York City location takes a few ideas from this concept store and builds them. The phone integration, along with the additional in-store perks for members, serves two main purposes: to provide customers with a better experience, and to generate data about who those customers are and what they like. Does this information in turn feed into product design and inventory decisions? “So it’s good for our business and it’s good for consumers,” said Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike Direct.

Nike has long been considered a leader in the retail world, according to Liebmann. This is also true for its marketing. When Nike ran a controversial ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick earlier this year, it was the marketing reputation alone that led many to praise the move. Nike knows it’s their customers, that was a common refrain, so that has to be what they want.

The ubiquitous NikePlus membership allows Nike to do this on a much more granular level, tailoring the experience to specific people. This is partly why members tend to spend a lot more than non-members, they have built trust and affinity with the brand, and Nike is better able to speak to them directly.

And these stores are great for recruiting new members. The conversion rate of shoppers to NikePlus members at the Los Angeles concept store was six times that of the rest of Nike’s physical stores. In Shanghai, where Nike has just opened a store similar to the New York flagship, Nike recruits a new member every two minutes.

“This is a member acquisition opportunity, an opportunity for member retention and an opportunity for member engagement,” said O’Neill.

The new stores come at a time of transition for Nike, based in Beaverton, Ore., Which remains the industry giant but has lost market share to rival Adidas in recent years. In response, the company announced its “Triple-Double” strategy: to double innovation, speed and its direct-to-consumer sales business. In the prior year, the company achieved approximately 29% of its sales ($ 10.4 billion) through direct channels, encompassed by its redesigned website and apps, as well as approximately 7,000 Nike stores in the world.

At the same time, Nike has cut ties with a number of retailers, instead focusing on the 40 or so companies, like Foot Locker and Nordstrom, which it deems the most productive. Nike is also re-dedicating itself to urban areas, highlighting 12 key cities (including New York and Shanghai) that will be the engines for the majority of the company’s near-term growth.

The Nike app uses geolocation technology, so it knows when a shopper walks into the store, instantly changing the homepage to feature new deals and content. Once in the store, shoppers will be able to make one-on-one appointments for advice on style or athletic goals, scan mannequins for product information, and have specific sizes delivered to the locker room. Nike members can pay on their own on their phone or pick up reserved items from downstairs lockers (unlocked, you guessed it, with your phone).

There are also several areas to personalize the product. If you’re willing to wait 20 minutes for the dye to harden, you can order shoes in any color you want. You can also sew a swoosh of your choice or add patches to clothes found in the store.

In addition to New York and Shanghai, Nike plans to open another similar store in Paris at the end of 2019.

“We truly believe we are leading and innovating the future of modern retail,” said Sussman. “And this store is our most immersive and experiential yet.”

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