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How Nike is changing the face of retail

The retail apocalypse saw several big-box retailers like Toys R Us close shop but retailers who had taken a technology-first approach weathered the storm. This is very telling of what the future of retail will look like.

E-commerce is often touted as the biggest reason for the retail apocalypse and a threat to the very survival of brick-and-mortar stores. While that is true, the fact that people can now shop online isn’t why retail is dying.

E-commerce has changed the way people shop and their expectations from shopping. 24×7 customer support, product recommendations based on purchase history, discounts and deals and shopping that isn’t bound to time or place.

Big-box retailers like Macy’s and Sephora completely understand the need for such experiential shopping and have implemented Bluetooth beacons to display relevant content to their shoppers whenever they approach a particular product or aisle.

Other small businesses have resorted to using QR codes and NFC tags to support cardless payments, increase post-purchase engagement and attract more visitors to the store.

Sure, Amazon Go and the Amazon 4-star store have a myriad of technology that makes cashierless checkouts possible but it is still far from dominating the physical retail landscape.

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Nike’s flagship store, House of Innovation 000, has outdone them all. A behemoth of a building that is spread across across 68,000 square feet, House of Innovation 000 makes retail come to life.

A living store that evolves

Consumer-backed inventory isn’t an entirely new concept but Nike has displayed a brilliant execution.

The Nike Speed Shop inside the flagship store uses local data to stock its shelves. Re-stocking is entirely based on what the community wants.

Nike also offers a digitized experience without any human interaction in the Sneaker Bar using a digital read-out of locals-only data. But if you’re still a sucker for human interaction, you can always get a store athlete to help you.

The loyalty program is also enamouring. NikePlus members can use their phone to reserve items to be kept in an in-store locker to be picked up at their convenience.

Nike also understands how important it is to customers to carry home a product that has been customized by them. The Arena allows shoppers to explore their Pinteresty DIY dreams by allowing them to choose from laces to decals to embellish their footwear.

Of course, you can do it as a group too. The Nike Expert Studio allows locals to book a customization session in-store or on the Nike App. NikePlus members can have a one-on-one session to find and create and find the right item.

But wait, that’s not all.

The customization doesn’t end with products.

The Arena’s tiles are customizable to such an extent that they can be rearranged at a moment’s notice. As the products evolve, the store evolves with it.

Familiar technology coupled with some fascinating additions

The Nike App offers NikePlus members ‘Unlocks’ when they enter a store or ‘Scan to Try’ wherein you can have an item brought to you in the trial room. ‘Shop the Look’ paves the way for talking mannequins. These mannequins have a scannable code which allows shoppers to see if an item is available in their size.

The familiar scan and go technology is named Nike Instant Checkout at the flagship store that allows you to skip lines and checkout instantly.

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