Located in its birthplace of Eugene, Ore. and inspired by the local neighborhood, the latest Nike Live store pays homage to its roots with a small-format footprint that the brand is emphasizing as the future of its physical retail strategy.
In the summer of 2020, the athleticwear giant announced that it would be opening 150 to 200 smaller-format, digitally enabled mono-brand stores like Nike Live. The stores would include integrated online-to-offline capabilities as part of a digitally empowered phase of Nike’s Consumer Direct strategy, the Consumer Direct Acceleration. The new strategy came as no surprise; the company already had pulled its products off Amazon in late 2019 as part of an ongoing pivot to focus on growth via its own channels, paring back the number of retailers it partners with and investing more in its own stores, website and mobile apps.
In 2018, Nike tested the neighborhood-centric Live pilot in Los Angeles. Its quick success encouraged the company to follow suit with Live stores in Tokyo, New York and now Eugene.
Designed to be a home for athletes and anyone making sport and movement a part of their life, the latest location — dubbed Nike by Eugene — puts an emphasis on community. It also builds upon the learnings from other Nike Live destinations, which are built to be lab-like spaces for testing and evolving new services, experiences and offerings.
Insights derived from data analytics about what customers in the neighborhood want most inform the in-store product selection, with freshly curated assortments dropping in-store every three weeks. To expand connection with its customers, store associates, or as Nike calls them “store athletes,” have service- and product-led training to personally guide every shopper in their sport and style journey. (Fun fact: many store athletes on the team are University of Oregon Ducks).
“Nike by Eugene is so special because it represents Nike’s deep history and heritage, rooted in design and innovation, while also showcasing where we’re headed as a company,” said Nicole Otto, VP, Nike Direct North America in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Bringing to life our seamless, digitally enabled services and experiences, against a backdrop of the city where Nike was born, Nike by Eugene truly captures Nike’s journey to bring inspiration and innovation to athletes around the world.”
Connecting the Physical and Digital
Nike by Eugene features digital and convenience-led services delivered through the Nike App. Consumers get a high degree of flexibility to discover the best of Nike, online or in-store, at their own pace. The store offers BOPIS, including curbside pickup for limited contact, for online and app orders. Ship-from-store capabilities to fulfill online orders are another service that Nike says will allow consumers to get products faster and more efficiently.
For shoppers seeking product advice, they can use “Swoosh Text” to connect one-on-one with a Nike by Eugene store athlete through SMS messaging. Using Swoosh Text, customers can check available inventory on the gear they want, ask for product recommendations for their sport or lifestyle needs, or check in to learn about the latest product and service offerings.
A member favorite from other locations, the Nike Unlock Box is an in-store digital vending machine that offers new unlocks for Nike members every month. Inside Nike by Eugene, members can use their Member Pass in the Nike App to redeem free products and gifts.
A Store Design That Honors the Local Community
Several unique elements of the store’s design call on Nike’s storied history in Eugene to create a meaningful, memorable experience. The interior design is inspired by the community it serves, creating a premium environment that’s warm, inviting and accessible.
A spacious welcome area invites shoppers in and will also offer a place for local run groups and athletes to gather when it’s safe to do so. Runners can pick up a Eugene run map that highlights sites from Nike’s history throughout the city. They also can check out new arrivals curated and styled to match local members’ preferences and store associates‘ favorite products.
Throughout the store, imagery features athletes whose careers and sport journeys were shaped by their experiences in Eugene — including Sabrina Ionescu, Justin Gallegos, Jessica Hull and Marcus Mariota. Wall graphics in the welcome area proudly display these inspiring athletes historical records.
Even elements of the carpet design feature patterns from Nike’s product creation process, depicting the brains and the thinking behind the company’s history of product innovation. The sneaker bar also gives a local nod; it’s constructed from salvaged wood from the original Hayward Field, the stomping ground of Nike greats such as Bill Bowerman, Phil Knight and Steve Prefontaine as well as many other elite runners.
Sustainability at the Forefront
In addition to being a LEED-certified location, and working alongside Nike’s Move to Zero — the brand’s move toward zero carbon and zero waste — the design process for Nike by Eugene incorporates sustainable materials, a practice that will continue for future Nike Live destinations.
Nike Grind — made from recycled Nike footwear — is included into a multitude of in-store display items, including mannequins, cork flooring, felt wall paneling and product hangers. Additionally, reused mixed-material scraps were employed across décor and fixture items throughout the store, including display pedestals, throw pillows made from Nike FlyKnit fabric remainders and even 3D-printed vases modeled from Nike Air Force 1, Epic React and Joyride outsoles.