Nike Steps Up Its Game With New Tech Innovation Center – RetailWire

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April 13, 2022

Nike is opening a new hub solely dedicated to technological innovation.

The athletic shoe brand will open its technology center in early 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia, according to Engadget. The location will be dedicated to improving the brand’s logistics and supply chain and reinventing the customer experience through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. It will also emphasize cybersecurity with a new “command center” for the East Coast. Until the new facility is ready, employees will work remotely.

Nike has been doing more on its own lately, which might be part of why it’s devoting such resources to pursuing cutting-edge logistics technology.

The iconic brand continued to end or modify its longstanding relationships with nationwide footwear retailers to focus on direct consumer relationships. In March 2021, the brand announced that it would no longer sell shoes through DSW, Urban Outfitters, Shoe Show, Dunham’s Sports, Olympia Sports, and Big Five, and would retire its branded apparel from Macy’s.

More recently, it has started pulling many of its most popular SKUs from Foot lockerwhich caused the retailer’s stock to plummet.

Even before doubling down on D2C, Nike was emerging as a forward-thinking brand. Nike has started using augmented reality as part of its mobile app to rethink “drops” of shoes in 2017 and has also integrated the technology into a growing number of its stand-alone stores.

Last month, the brand opened a 5,000 square foot Nike Live concept store in Houston, Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. The shop, like other Nike Live locations placed in major US cities since 2018, allows shoppers to interact with store staff and check product availability through the brand’s apps.

Nike, late last year, acquired virtual shoe store RTFKT Studios, according to The edge. RTFKT claims to have earned $3.1 million in six minutes from a promotion selling NFTs in conjunction with real sneakers.

The sportswear giant has taken further steps in the metaverse thus, as a branded virtual world on the Roblox platform.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a center focused on supply chain, artificial intelligence and security technologies is a worthwhile investment for Nike? Is this type of operation something that all major consumer brands need right now?

Braintrust

“It’s a competitive advantage, but perhaps more importantly, it’s a pioneering effort that many brands and retailers will learn from.”

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