Nike has opened the Nike House of Innovation on Fifth Avenue in New York City, combining experiential retail with the power of the Nike App. The 68,000-square-foot space spans six levels, each devoted to a separate product line or experience. The store extensively incorporates mobile devices to minimize friction across the shopper journey.
The ground-floor level will feature the Nike Speed Shop, a curated selection of seasonal items and products that are currently popular among New York City shoppers. The space also will house the Nike Sneaker Bar, where shoppers can check out the latest footwear, and Speed Shop digital lockers, where customers who reserve items on the Nike App can pick them up later. Other ways that the Nike App will empower shoppers include:
- Shop the Look: Instantly shopping the products featured at in-store displays;
- Instant Checkout: Paying for items directly from a mobile device; and
- Scan to Try: Remotely requesting an opportunity to try out items throughout the store.
Another in-store innovation: the Nike Expert studio on the fifth floor, which will be dedicated to offering personal service for NikePlus members. Customers can book personal sessions with experts, while the Nike By You Studio will offer exclusive products, one-on-one styling and the opportunity to create personalized products. Additionally, the Nike App will add new features for NikePlus members in-store over time.
The fourth floor will be home to the Nike Sneaker Lab, which will serve as the largest concentration of seasonally current Nike footwear in the world. The brand’s Men, Women and Kids sections will each receive a dedicated floor as well.
Even the entrance to the store, dubbed the Nike Arena, will help create a memorable experience. The arena will feature the Sport Beacon, a visual and sonic installation inspired by New York City, with a combination of seasonal and sport-inspired storytelling moments. Nike Arena also will be home to the exclusive Noise Canceling Collection, a collection of limited-edition footwear that can be customized with dip-dying, printing, embroidery, patches, lasering and a full accessory bar.
The House Of Innovation Supports Nike’s Broader Brand Strategy
The new House of Innovation serves as the retailer’s latest expression of its commitment to cutting-edge marketing. The company took a potentially risky political stand and named Colin Kaepernick as a brand ambassador for its latest ad campaign, but the gamble paid off: the brand sold out of 61% more merchandise between Sept. 3 through Sept. 13 than the 10 days prior to the campaign’s launch.
The most successful modern retail brands are those that resonate with their shoppers on a personal level, according to branding expert Erich Joachimsthaler. The core of branding has shifted from differentiation and image to creating connections and promoting virality.
“The brands that are doing extremely well right now are those that have learned about the new principles of branding, and that are able to establish a direct connection with consumers and a constant interaction,” said Joachimsthaler in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Nike is doing it with their direct-to-consumer activities, including selling on Amazon. They are shifting their business model to be more like Casper, which also has a direct connection to consumers.”