With so much emphasis on Nike’s product and high-profile ad campaigns, it’s easy to overlook how much the sneaker company is investing in retail. But it’s pulled out all the stops for the just-opened Nike NYC, using the massive new store as a proving ground not just for products but for customer engagement as well.
At 68,000 square feet and six stories, the store, located at 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue, showcases all the company’s best thinking about personalization, with services that are customizable and, it hopes, both seamless and smart.
Members of the loyalty program Nike Plus get even more offerings, such as the ability to reserve items by phone, then retrieve them from an in-store locker.
Nike has learned a lot since it launched New York’s Niketown 20 years ago, with its Nike by Melrose taking Los Angeles sneakerheads by storm last summer. (The entire West Coast store is filled with neighborhood favorites.)
Nike NYC also includes a local curation feature: The Nike Speed Shop offers a full floor of community favorites. A store athlete helps shoppers peruse the Sneaker Bar, or consumers can access digital read-out of locals-only data.
The shop offers plenty of ways customers can personalize their choices, with two maker's studios and a customization wing. Shoppers can find their shoes at the Sneaker Lab, and then embellish the kicks with laces, fabrics and decals.
Digital is the key to just about everything. Shop The Look enables people to scan a code on a mannequin, check if specific sizes are available, and then ask an associate to bring them to a fitting room, for example. An instant checkout streamlines actual purchases, so people can bag their own purchases and keep moving.
Upgraded services are also part of new store. One-on-one appointments at the Nike Expert Studio help shoppers zero in on performance and style options. Even more elaborate, Nike by You Atelier experts provide access to embroidery or patches, along with made-to-order products using seasonal fabrics.
Nike has been stepping up its investment in ever-more-engaging stores as part of its battle to keep its apparel from becoming an e-commerce commodity.
In a conference call discussing its most recent earnings, CEO Mark Parker told investors the Melrose concept was “incredibly successful this quarter,” particularly its digital initiatives.
In addition to the new New York store, there’s also a new location in Shanghai. “Both will be the culmination of all we've learned about personalized and experiential shopping over the last several years,” Parker said.
“While retail consolidation has not finished its course in North America, our growing Nike Consumer Experiences with Footlocker, Nordstrom, and other key partners are already driving higher growth rates as compared to non-differentiated doors.”