Has an ecosystem of digitally powered businesses become one of the trademarks Nike’s strategy as the retailer shifts to a model that puts their own stores and digital channels ahead of wholesalers.
Nike’s neighborhood-focused, hyper-local Nike Live concept – a a few years after its debut – is now a integral part of the company Retail fleet, with Plans for up to 200 small format stores over time. The retailer’s flagship House of Innovation format, the contains a lot of digital and personalization elements expanded to three locations since its inception: in New York, Shanghai and Paris (with Paris only opened last summer).
A few weeks before the opening of the House of Innovation Store in Paris, Nike has expanded its network of digitally focused shop windows again with a new concept: Nike Rise. This store in Guangzhou, China was more of a test, or “what we called ‘the path to advancement,'” said Daniel Heaf, vice president of Nike Direct, in an interview.
Now is the dealer Introducing a broader expression of the Nike Rise concept in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. The Nike Rise format is the latest to join the store concepts portfolio that includes House of Innovation and Nike Live, and it requires insights from both. It incorporates several data-driven features and emphasizes a more localized approach, similar to Nike Live. But it’s a 24,000 square foot building – much closer to the size of a House of Innovation.
“That’s in between,” said Heaf of comparing Nike Rise with the other two. “This is a slightly larger door format. It’s made for the urban environment. It not only connects you to your neighborhood, but actually connects you to the city as a whole. And the store concept and the experiences really represent the city as a whole. “
Nike Rise seems to be somewhere between the two, at least for now, in terms of in-store footprint as well. There “won’t be that many” House of Innovation Stores, Heaf said, while Nike Live sits on the other side of the spectrum and has large-scale expansion ahead of them.
“We are optimistic about stationary retail. We’re going to open hundreds more doors and we’re going to look at that location by location, ”said Heaf of the future of the Nike Rise stores. “Will there be more Rises? Definitely. In other countries? Definitely. But we somehow tune the door to the consumer and the location.”
Local but for more people
In a way, Nike Rise is like an enlarged version of Nike Live. While Nike Live is meant to be unique to a particular neighborhood, such as the Melrose, Los Angeles area where it was launched, Nike Rise is designed to be unique to a particular city. This means that the range is larger than at a Nike Live, as is the store’s footprint. But many similar digital-enabled features and an underlying ideology for connecting consumers to business can be found at Nike Rise.
An area of the store called the “huddle” allows shoppers to sign up for local events, including wellness talks with experts, local runs, or even workouts in the store itself. It also has a take away area with a choice of food and liquid products for snacks before or after training. A “broadcast booth” in the area enables the retailer to hold virtual trainings and events in addition to face-to-face events.
Similar experience memories have been tried by other athletics players, including Lululemon. The eventful megastores of this retailer hold things like yoga and HIIT workout studios, in addition to dining options and local events. In fact, Lululemon’s experiential Mall of America store, which opened in 2019, is about 4,000 square feet smaller than the Nike Rise store in Seoul.
Dicks was also recently Testing several different store formats, including a climbing wall, a grass pitch, batting cages and personal appointments with wellness experts. The retailer is also introducing more experience features into its existing fleet to modernize these locations.
In its latest concept, Nike emphasizes not only the wealth of experience but also the service element of the store. The Seoul site has a recycling and donation center where shoppers can drop off worn Nike shoes and – a first for retailers – clothing that can be donated or recycled by partners in the community. The program was also recently launched in Europe. If the clothes cannot be donated yet, the store also offers repair services so customers can make better use of their products.
Buyers can register for individual styling appointments (face-to-face or virtual) and workshops that cover five pillars: exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, sleep and relaxation. Styling appointments may vary based on the retailer’s purpose and offer.
“It could be performance or lifestyle,” said Heaf. “Maybe I want the complete running, racing and outfit: the best shorts, the best new Nike running clothes and the best new sneakers. And they would give me product tips on all of these dimensions. The same goes for lifestyle. If you’re looking for an edgier, more streetwear look, a look that represents the city, we can give you a styling session. “
Personalized appointments give way to personalized clothing in another area of business. Much like the retailer’s House of Innovation, Nike Rise offers a variety of customization options for buyers, including hyper local embellishment kits, the ability to personalize a variety of Nike products, the ability to customize a garment before it is made, a selection of local t-shirts and local graphics for individual design by Korean artist Jaehoon Choi.
By striving for localization and community on a slightly larger scale, Nike hopes to generate more customer loyalty and of course, attract more buyers to become Nike members. Like many of Nike’s digitally powered store concepts, Nike Rise offers a variety of digital features based on the retailer’s app, which in turn depends on customers being Nike members in order to use them. It’s part of the retailer’s effort to make their app incredibly useful to customers, thereby giving Nike itself more access to customer data.
“You don’t have to be a member to shop at the Nike Rise Store,” said Heaf, “but it’s undoubtedly a better experience when you are because you have access to all of the services.”
Digital, in different ways
Nike Rise has the standard technology that Nike has adopted for many of its stores: BOPIS, digital product reservations, and a digital return location in stores. Then there is the non-standard technology.
One of the most important technical functions in the store is an RFID-assisted shoe comparison table that recognizes which shoes a customer puts on the table and provides product details and comparisons of any two shoes in the store. The buyer does not need to bring physical shoes to use the table: customers can also search for products in the store to view product details about them.
This kind of technological interaction is one of the reasons why the two existing Nike Rise stores are both in Asia. According to Nike, Seoul is “one of the most digitally networked markets in the world” and an important country in Asia tend to be in front of the rest of the world in terms of interacting with digital services.
“Consumer habits and how they interact with digital and physical devices are just a little more advanced,” said Heaf. “So it’s the perfect place for us to introduce this really innovative retail concept. Second, and this may not be the traditional answer, we love the idea of sport in Korea, in Seoul. Yes, running and basketball but also there are different sports that are important in Korea in dance and yoga, this store concept allows us to broaden our view of what Nike traditionally considers a sport, which is another good thing for us is in the concept. “
In the first test of this concept in Guangzhou, China, Heaf said Nike was heavily focused on how to integrate mobile devices into physical retail and what personal in-store experiences could be offered based on the app. The success of these tests enables him to present what Nike in Seoul calls the “top expression” of the store format: a location that combines the convenience of digitality and connectivity with personal interactions.
Outside of the functional digital experiences, the store is filled with LED screens that cover over 1,200. cover Square meters of the site. This visual interaction starts at the very beginning of the store with a tunnel of screens near the entrance that react to movement and light up when a customer enters the store.
A central “digital atrium screen” extends over three floors and focuses on Seoul’s unique digital storytelling. The experience is called “Sport Pulse” and is the first Nike store to use the technology. At its core, the platform relies on data from Seoul to create localized stories and experiences in real time. The data that supports the experience comes from Nike’s commerce apps and activity apps, as well as local forecasting, sports and athletes.
Heaf calls it “an operating system for the store itself,” but it also reflects what Nike is trying to do on a large scale: use data to drive personalization and grow its ecosystem of store concepts and apps. And perhaps more importantly, making Nike customers around the world feel like the retail giant really knows them and their specific city.
“It pulls in data from our Nike Training Club and our Nike Run Club and shows what athletes are doing in Seoul?” said Heaf. “And we express that in heat maps, we express that in terms of kilometers run and we express that in the shoes that you wear. It’s a kind of data-driven storytelling that’s permeated with all of our local brand images. It gives you something that is almost real-time – and tailored to the city. “