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Nike’s New Flagship Just Does It Right

Nike’s House of Innovation in New York City is a prime example of how brick and mortar retail can continue to achieve and maintain relevance in the age of digital retail. The store incorporates the best elements of both online and offline channels to deliver a next generation experience that puts the customer in control throughout the entire journey.

Don’t believe us? For starters, the street level entrance on Fifth Avenue opens to “The Arena,” the venue for a Nike By You activation space where customers can build their own products. From custom dye jobs to bedazzled “swooshes,” the possibilities seem endless. At either one of two “Maker’s Studio’s,” shoppers can customize their projects while interacting with Nike experts and other brand fans.

Second, technology both enhances and simplifies the customer experience- a testament to Nike’s attention to detail and understanding of their customer. Cues to download the Nike app can be found throughout the store, including convenient QR codes which can be scanned to initiate installation. What differentiates this app is that it brings the entire store experience to life by giving customers the key to unlock their own House of Innovation experience that continues long after leaving.  The app even facilitates the brand experience before customers walk through the door by allowing users to reserve product and have it ready for them when they arrive. A dynamic in-store feature of the app interface is the ability for customers to “shop the looks” mannequins are wearing by scanning a code at the foot of each display.The personalized experience doesn’t stop there. In fact, it continues all the way to the top of the store in the Nike Expert Studio where Nike members can book one-on-one collaboration sessions in-store or on the Nike App.

A third takeaway is that for a 68,000 square foot space, the House of Innovation succeeds at making the store seem approachable and dare we say, intimate? Clear and copious signage makes wayfinding a breeze and cleverly curated spaces make it as easy for customers to spend a few minutes or a few hours. Those with time to spare can explore the “Sneaker Lab” on the fourth floor to shop the largest assortment of Nike footwear in the world or check out the digital installations dispersed throughout. Those who need inspiration, or a quick fix, should head straight downstairs to “The Speed Shop,” an entire floor that leverages data to select and stock the top 20 Men’s and Women’s items amongst locals, changing the products every two weeks.

Nike’s House of Innovation reimagines the rules of engagement for brick and mortar retail.  If their achievement can teach retailers anything (we certainly think it can) about how to succeed in the new world of retail let it be this: consider your customer and their primary missions, put them in control, and eliminate gratuitous technology to focus on tech that adds value. Nike House of Innovation for the win.

By Alyson Fischer





McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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