At the end of last year, Nike brought its revolutionary Nike App at Retail integration to Niketown London. Soon, it hopes to expand the scheme's reach and digitalize more of its retail stores around Europe. Some of the technology has already been implemented at Stateside locations over the past 12 months, most notably at Nike NYC and Nike by Melrose in Los Angeles.
Highsnobiety sat down with Michelle Warvel, senior director of Nike stores experience, to discuss the Swoosh’s digital retail strategy, what the new improvements to Niketown London are, and how it enhances consumers' retail experience.
By using the Nike App in stores, customers can access numerous features that have been created to streamline the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Via their smartphone, shoppers can find and reserve product, redeem NikePlus Instant Unlocks, and scan items for more information, with further innovations planned.
Warvel says that the new mobile integration is less of a change than it is an enhancement of Nike’s current in-store offerings, most of which have been informed by market research. “We went across the globe," she says. "We talked to over 500 people and asked a very simple question: What's it like shopping in a Nike store and what gets in your way?
"[The answer] boiled down to three things. First, they want to get the product when they want it, wherever they are and they want it immediately. Then we had a lot of consumers that really wanted to self-serve, but also have the ability to talk to a store associate when they needed to. Lastly, the experience needed to feel personal. They didn't want a bunch of notifications coming to their phone. We took all that feedback and launched our MVP of the Nike App in stores, with features based on that consumer feedback.”
Having already rolled out many of these features in five stores in the United States, Nike has learned that apart from translations and sizes, the biggest difference between stores and how to integrate the retail digitalization is through the consumer and unique environment of each retail location. “We can literally turn off and turn on features based on that consumer in the market,” says Warvel. “The platform itself gives us amazing flexibility to be really specific.”
As key European cities for Nike, Berlin and Paris are set to join Niketown London soon. “When piloting in key cities, that's where we get the largest mix of consumers from all over the region and we can get the most amount of feedback,” says Warvel.
The goal is to have some form of the Nike App at Retail integration in every store across Europe and North America by mid-2019. “Ultimately, we believe that the app is the new way that consumers will shop in our stores, and it's the platform for us to deliver experiences in stores ongoing,” Warvel adds. Here, she breaks down each new feature and what it brings to the table, something that is also outlined in the video below.
Find and Reserve, says Warvel, “is probably the most impactful” new feature. The feature allows shoppers to check if their local store has the product they want in their size. While this was previously done by calling a store, checking, and then hoping the size doesn’t sell out by the time you make it out, find and reserve guarantees the sneaker you want will be there waiting for you.
“Consumers can go online, see a product availability within a 50-mile radius of where they are, and put it on reserve," Warvel says. "It's available that same day, typically within two hours.”
The next feature recognizes who you are as a shopper, allowing Nike to better tailor the retail experience for you. “We recognize the store you're in and we can light up features that are specific to you,” Warvel says. Retail home also gives you quick access to all of your purchase history with Nike, whether in store or online. “We're going to continue to evolve this. This gets at the insight of consumers. We want experiences to be personal.”
Nike Scan is a self-service feature for someone who knows what they want and wants to get in and out of a store without hassle. Warvel calls it the “Uber of sneaker shopping.”
“You can now scan any product in the store and immediately get information on sizing, how to wear it, and see local store inventory," Warvel says. "If you don't see your size on the floor, you can check it yourself and see if it's in store and online. If you don't see it in store, you can easily just find a size online and buy it right then and there.”
An extension of this, currently available at Nike NYC, is the ability to shop an entire look when you scan a mannequin’s QR code. “We get a lot of feedback from consumers that they see mannequins and ask, 'How exactly do I find these products?'” says Warvel. “Now, you scan the mannequin, you get a list of all the products. You can pick and choose colors, sizes, and then immediately have it either brought to you directly or send it to a fitting room and have it waiting for you to come try on.”
Member Unlocks is an extension of NikePlus membership, giving members access to exclusive services, deals, and products through the Nike app. As Warvel puts it, “Ultimately, the NikePlus Membership program represents our very best members and we want to reward them, show them the love.”
In addition to exclusive product, Member Unlocks also offers in-store pant alterations or courier delivery of purchases. “We've been piloting and testing tons of different types of Unlocks," Warvel says. "In our Melrose store, we have a localized bag that we give to our members. We've offered partner Unlocks, like access to Apple Music or Headspace. Unlocks will become more personal as we continue to evolve the experience.”
The final feature Warvel outlines is currently only available in Nike NYC, but will soon be available at Niketown London and selected other European stores. “We wanted to give consumers the ability to just check themselves out in the Nike App," Warvel says. "Today, you can scan any product and check out via the app. What's unique about our experience is that after talking with our consumers, they really wanted a destination in the store where they could ditch the hanger, grab a bag, and walk out of the store with it.”