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Look Inside Nike’s First Digitally Led Retail Store in LA

Sept. 10, 2018

Nike sales are trending upward following the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign. Now see how the brand’s first Nike Live store combines digital and physical retail.

Last week, Nike unveiled its new 30th anniversary ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the football player who, in 2016, began the #TakeAKnee movement in protest of police brutality. In one of the ads, Kaepernick’s face is displayed strikingly in black in white with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The ad and Nike’s partnership with Kaepernick has since been widely debated – although the Washington Post reports that Nike’s online sales have increased by 31 percent since the new campaign was released last week.

A Concept Store

Online sales are a major focus for Nike’s newest concept store, Nike Live, which debuted in Los Angeles in July as a hub for local NikePlus members. The store operates “like an experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot,” according to a news release. Nike Live offers a selection of nike.com bestsellers, curbside service, the ability to reserve and pick up products via the Nike App and more.

All photography courtesy of Nike

Nike also plans to stock these new Live stores based on the local market, which is why this first store is dubbed Nike by Melrose (it’s located at 8552 Melrose Avenue). It provides city-specific styles, determined by Nike digital commerce data.

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“That means new apparel, footwear and accessories – again, all specific to LA’s needs regardless of Nike’s broader seasonal priorities – will fill the store on a bi-weekly basis (a Nike first) and sometimes even exclusively,” says a news release.

Locality is further emphasized in Nike by Melrose’s overall design. Its exterior is covered in a bright, playful mural of people shopping and enjoying the SoCal sunset. The artist, Los Angeles native Bijou Karman, calls it “Sunset by Melrose” and says she intended for it to be a “re-imagined walkthrough of a typical LA day.”

Settle in at the Sneaker Bar 

The design also features a Sneaker Bar, complete with bar stools and a counter. It allows for on-the-spot access to the store’s shoe assortment, with a Nike expert at the ready to help customers make the right pick. A designated Curb Services area outside allows members to use Swoosh Text (an SMS messaging system between the shopper and the Nike store) to text the store, pull in, return or exchange a product and get going. The NikePlus Unlock Box (basically a vending machine) also allows members to redeem free products or rewards by using their member pass every two weeks.

"When you walk into Nike by Melrose, it almost feels like you are walking into our app," says Angineh Storino, communications director for Nike West. "We are bringing that experience to life and have created areas that personalize that experience for consumers."

Through the Nike app, NikePlus members can also book a Nike Express Session at the store, where they can get one-on-one personal service within 30 minutes. Sessions are held in the Dynamic Fit Zone, a designated area in the Nike Live store outfitted with a lounge, fitting rooms and a treadmill to help put the product to the test.

Nike Live: Combining Digital and Physical

The design features of Nike Live are meant to combine digital and physical retail, meet the needs of the neighborhood and interact with its most engaged consumers. It’s further proof that the brand, along with its new Kaepernick-led ads, continues to evolve in its implementation of design. The next Nike Live is set to open in Tokyo this spring.

"We’re in the midst of a digital transformation at Nike," Storino says, "and we see digital permeating every touch-point we have with consumers over the long-term."

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