Nike Bridges the Gap Between Online/Offline in Digital-First Store

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By Published On: July 16, 20180 Comments

Nike is opening a new store in LA that bridges the gap between online and offline commerce, linking its in-store experiences directly with its digital app.

The new Nike by Melrose store is designed to give consumers a heightened customer experience, as it “leverages the power of digital” to remove some of the friction points that generally arise when retailers transition from traditional bricks-and-mortar retail or a pureplay environment, into an all-encompassing omnichannel offering.

The footwear and apparel company reportedly based its decision to open a physical store that’s dedicated to promoting in-app sales after achieving positive sales growth via its app, with its online NikePlus members making up a large portion of its mobile sales in the last 12-months.


Nike’s experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot in LA.

In the fiscal year ending May 31, 2018, close to 40 percent of Nike’s online revenue came from in-app purchases.

The business also used consumer data to build the store around its local consumers’ preferences.

“Everything we know about our members in this neighbourhood informed how the store came together,” Sean Madden, Nike’s senior director of product said. By leveraging consumer data from its app, Nike is also able to ensure a product turnaround that’s three times faster than its traditional shop fronts.

For instance, the front of the store will reportedly be dedicated to items that have proven to be popular with its online Los Angeles-based consumers, while the “tried-and-tested” Nike products will sit less prominently at the back of the store.

As well as helping to determine internal plans and initiatives, the app will also play a customer-centric role in the new, Nike by Melrose store.

The store will be home to a Nike Sneaker Bar, where consumers can request shoes to try on, or schedule a “30-minute expert express session” via the app, where consumers can discuss their buying needs in more detail. The app can also be used if the Nike by Melrose store doesn’t have a particular style or size in-stock. Consumers can then use the app’s reserve/try-on in-store feature, to select the sneakers they like and book an appointment to come back and try the shoes on once they arrive from the company’s warehouse or another store.

Using the Nike app, shoppers can also reserve products to be held for them in lockers at the front of the LA-based store. When reserving the product, the customer will receive a QR code, which can be scanned in-store to get access to the applicable locker. Purchases can then be made in-store at the Sneaker Bar.

While shopping in-store, consumers can scan any product code using the app to check online inventory, product information and etc.

Nike LA flagship store

Members at Nike by Melrose can use the app to ‘unlock’ fortnightly prizes in-store.

Another notable benefit of the new omnichannel store is the Nike Unlock Box, where loyalty members can scan their member QR code at in-store vending machines to access a free item once every two weeks. The free items typically include things like socks.

According to Nike, the LA store will serve as a flagship for its new omnichannel shopping experience, with extra digital-first stores slated to open in New York and Tokyo. The timeframe for the company’s online/offline store offering expansion is yet to be confirmed.

Nike has proven itself to be an ‘innovator’ in recent years after it shifted its focus to direct to consumer sales in 2016 and moved towards providing its customers with a more streamlined, increasingly digital experience.

Earlier this year, it even became the first company to sell a product on Snapchat, as the social media app branches into e-commerce offerings. Its new omnichannel store offering is a natural expansion of its growing digital and physical footprint.

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