Nike opened a SNKRS pop-up store in Atlanta that serves users of the brand's SNKRS mobile app with shoes, apparel and other merchandise, including access to new shoe drops, until the end of March, according to a Nike blog post.
Nike will make limited-edition shoes available at the SNKRS Atlanta location, using its Shock Drop app feature to send SNKRS app users a push notification of shoe availability, according to an Engadget report. Visitors to the store also can use other location-based features to unlock access to different sneakers while in-store.
The store, which Nike described as "the physical manifestation of the SNKRS app", also will offer apparel, and will house a vending machine containing SNKRS-related items that store shoppers can access by scanning a pass in their SNKRS app.
In recent years, many retailers and brands that previously had operated only online have established brick-and-mortar locations — either with pop-ups or permanent stores — as they have sought to augment their online success with face-to-face customer engagement. SNKRS Atlanta, however, is the physical manifestation of a mobile app, an idea that other retailers, brands and app-based marketplaces certainly could mimic in the future.
But, anyone who tries needs to have an app that has made a particularly strong impression on customers. SNKRS has been viewed by industry analysts as an important cog in Nike's growth engine, and a key path to keep sneakerheads engaged with the brand. Nike has been cultivating a strong relationship with this audience, but also felt backlash last fall when Android app users were able to gain access to a major shoe drop prior to iOS app users.
A pop-up location based on the app is a natural next step after Nike's House of Innovation flagship store in New York, a concept space that focuses on customization for brand loyalists and relies heavily on the retailer's NikePlus app. Nike has made a strategy of encouraging customers to use its apps in physical retail locations and using mobile as a tool to enable in-store features. The retailer's Nike Live concept, curated for specific geographies and only available to loyalty members, is more proof of that.
At the end of 2018, Nike indicated that it sees the "majority" of its future business coming through digital. That might make it seem like a strange time to open a new physical location, even a temporary one, but SNKRS Atlanta shows that the definition of "digital" is continuing to evolve for Nike, and for retail.