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Nike’s Ultimate Shopping Companion

Nike considers it a way to make your cellphone "the ultimate shopping companion." And it's a big part of the company's answer to the seismic shift to online shopping. The sportswear giant recently launched new features

Nike considers it a way to make your cellphone “the ultimate shopping companion.” And it’s a big part of the company’s answer to the seismic shift to online shopping.

The sportswear giant recently launched new features on its signature Nike + app designed to “elevate” the shopping experience. The features are accessible at the company’s Portland store and three locations in the Los Angeles area.


“The goal is to bring physical and digital together and connect them in a better way,” said Michelle Warvel, senior director, Member and Athlete Services.

It works like this.

Say a consumer walks into the store and finds a sneaker she wants. She can open the Nike app on her phone, scan the shoe and a salesperson will bring it to her. No more waiting around, no more looking for a salesperson. (Nike calls them “athletes.”) She can also confirm the shoe is in stock and see additional colors.

The new features in the app also let consumers reserve products before arriving at the store. The final new feature is the ability to push special offers, which Nike calls “unlocks,” to consumers. A typical offer could be a coupon for 10 percent off. Nike employees also can give consumers in-store “athlete unlocks,” or additional special offers, such as a one-month membership to a wellness app.

The new features launched as a pilot at Nike’s Portland store on June 1. They’ve since gone live at three Los Angeles-area stores, including in Santa Monica, The Grove and Nike by Melrose, a new neighborhood store.


Nike plans to launch two additional features when it opens a new flagship store in New York this fall, including instant checkout, which will allow consumers to check out on their own. Nike stores already allow consumers to bypass the cash register by making purchases with salespeople.

It also will launch a feature called “shop the look” that will let consumers scan a barcode next to any mannequin and buy the entire outfit.

“This is a pain point we’ve heard in retail time and time again,” Warvel said. “It will help people shop and get what they want.”

Nike developed the technology at a downtown Portland office that focuses on the retail experience. The company quietly opened the office about three years ago.

The company spoke with 500 consumers while developing the features. It heard three themes: Customers want speed and convenience, they want the option to self-serve and they want the experience to feel personal.

Nike believes the features will give it an edge at a time when more consumers are shopping online and avoiding brick-and-mortar stores.

“We believe differentiated retail … will not only grow but thrive,” said Michael Martin, vice president of digital products. “And undifferentiated, boring retail, is what’s going to go away.”

In the most recent fiscal year, Nike’s direct sales increased 15 percent to $10.4 billion, outpacing the growth of sales through wholesale partners, which increased 4 percent to nearly $24 billion.

The features are part of Nike’s existing app, which has 140 million members globally. Martin called it the “largest mono-brand shopping app in North America.”

“It’s a behemoth at this point,” he said.

The company plans to continue tweaking the technology and developing additional features. It also plans to roll the technology out in additional stores after the New York flagship opens in the fall.

Via Portland Business Journal