E-Commerce vs Brick-and-Mortar? Maybe Not, Says Nike

Posted on November 30, 2018

Nike has had a bold and profitable 2018. From signing Colin Kaepernick to revitalizing the “Just Do It campaign,” the company has not shied away from the spotlight. Now, Nike has embarked on a journey to bridge the gap between online and in-store sales, as it seeks to remain the most dominant, innovative force in footwear, and athletics.

Nike opened a flagship store in New York City in mid-November. The store is a massive six-story shopping experience, but rather than rest on the laurels of being Nike, the company has implemented several innovative technological features to augment the customer service experience. The goal is to make “shopping in-store as convenient as shopping online.”

The company rolled out a “Speed Shop,” in which customers could reserve shoes ahead of time to try on in a dressing room. QR codes on mannequins can be scanned to allow items to be placed in rooms ahead of time. You don’t even pay at a cash register — you use your phone as you would online!

As we’ve discussed before, e-commerce sales are going to overtake brick-and-mortar sales of discretionary purchases. With the kind of innovation that Nike is employing though, perhaps the brick-and-mortar locations can become centers of e-commerce, serving as hubs for customers, rather than a less convenient option. It’s easy to look at the features offered in the store and see simple bells and whistles that serve no function beyond “ooohs” and “ahs.” That seems cynical to me, though. Nike is always at the forefront of innovation, and if there wasn’t some kind of consumer data to back up these features, I would be shocked.

Maybe this Nike store is a blip in the battle between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. If you were to ask me though, I would say that this is the first step in a wild series of steps toward an innovative, curated shopping experience. If your store joins that series of steps, you’ll be doing well in 2019 and the future beyond.