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Nike laces up mobile sales via in-app store, on-demand coaching

Nike is cresting on a wave of mobile innovation with a new Nike+ application, which seeks to connect athletes with a personal store, customized product recommendations and invitations to retail events.

The sportswear marketer is introducing the enhanced Nike+ app to its fan base prior to the national rollout in June 2016. The app will propel athletes to their full potential via a customized, Facebook-like “Feed” tab showcasing training tips from coaches, and will firm up additional mobile sales for Nike by curating clothing and footwear options personalized to users’ lifestyles and sport preferences.

“Nike ran with mobile long before others entered the race to meet consumers where they live,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion. “More personalization further speaks to ‘me’ and has tangible benefits for the customer and for Nike.”

All-access mobile pass
Beginning this June, athletes will be able to leverage Nike’s single sign-on feature to access a plethora of new products and upcoming events visible in the app. The “plus” in the app’s name equates to “personal,” meaning that each user will enjoy a completely individual experience, based on his or her previous purchases and lifestyle preferences.

Nike+ will also connect members to the Nike+ Training Club, Nike+ Run Club and Nike+ SNKRS apps.

Consumers will be able to open the “My Store” tab to view personalized recommendations for apparel and footwear. The feature prioritizes users’ favorite items, offers expert advice and gives customized options via NIKEiD technology.

Nike is well-poised to experience a surge in digital sales following the app rollout, as athletes may be persuaded to engage in impulse purchases if they spot a new pair of sneakers or workout gear perfectly suited to their active lifestyles.

The Nike+ app also includes a “Feed” tab, which displays a continuously updated selection of content, such as inspirational anecdotes from Nike athletes, information regarding the brand’s latest releases and training tips from coaches.

Therefore, consumers interested in training for a specific event or making a big change in their fitness goals can rely on the app as a helpful expert resource.

“Mobile apps that succeed to drive reach and frequency own their verticals,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile. “Facebook, Amazon and Uber are hero examples. These apps know their core value proposition and then expand their offerings like a bell curve to stay relevant and further monetize their traffic.

“Nike’s immersive app provides sport lifestyle access as well as competition and training functions; this drives product stickiness and community.”

Expert presence
Meanwhile, the app’s “Services” section will connect users to Nike+ experts, who may book personal reservations with staff in Nike stores as well as field questions about other services.

Fitness enthusiasts interested in attending the retailer’s events can also find additional information in this tab. The complementary “Pass” tab will generate a personal QR code for each individual that can be added to Apple Wallet. The QR code may be shown at any Nike retail location or event to enable consumers to skip long lines and receive more personal recommendations.

Leveraging mobile to drive awareness and sales for new product launches is a strategy that has been used by several of Nike’s competitors in the past.

For example, Adidas is driving pre-orders for its limited-edition sneakers with the adidas Confirmed mobile app, the footwear sector’s first app designed to offer consumers the ability to reserve the shoes from their smartphones thanks to geo-targeting technology (see story).

However, Nike is banking on its massive fan base to download its new app this summer and become part of the brand’s mobile community. Users will be able to send friend requests to each other and extend motivational support to those attempting to reach their fitness goals.

Connecting with younger consumers is another top priority for the athletic wear marketer.

Last year, Nike aired a new mobile video series in a bid to connect with younger women through a format and subject matter popular with the demographic while using Snapchat ads and a digital hub to attract viewers (see story).

The brand is likely to hit a marketing home run by relying heavily on personalization tactics to foster long-term customer relationships.

“No two athletes are the same,” Gotta Mobilize’s Mr. Hasen said. “Nike is moving closer to ensure that no two experiences are identical, too.

“We can all learn lessons from Nike, far beyond what running shoe to buy.”