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Editor's pick mobile technology

Nike to debut AR feature to help customers find the perfect fit

Nike is set to introduce a new augmented reality feature in its app to enable shoppers to find the perfect size shoe.

With this new feature, Nike will relieve the customer’s fear of buying shoes without trying them on, a common problem when purchasing online. By using their phone to scan their feet, customers will be able to know the ideal shoe size for all the brand’s footwear.

To do so, they have to stand next to a wall and point their smartphone at their feet. Then the app will use two AR circles to level the phone and start the scanning process.

The app will measure the shape, size, and volume of the feet, and match the results with a mix of purchase data and artificial intelligence, resulting in the right shoe size. According to Nike, the accuracy is within two millimeters and the whole process takes less than a minute.

The hope is that better fit might drop returns. It can cost double the amount for a product to be returned into the supply chain as it does to deliver it, as stated by the advisory firm KPMG in the UK in a 2017 report.

The new feature will also affect sales in brick-and-mortar stores. The data of the customer will be stored in the Nike app, and associates can access them by scanning a QR code from the app. This will speed up try-on and product recommendations, while also giving insights for inventory decisions.

Expected to launch in July in the US and later this summer in Europe, the AR tool could additionally help minimize health consequences due to incorrect sizings, like toe deformity, corns and calluses. According to industry research released by Nike, over 60% of people wear the wrong size shoes.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick mobile Retail Uncategorized

Nike’s new flagship empowers customers with seamless, unmanned shopping experience

Nike's new NYC flagship
Nike’s new NYC flagship

Nike’s new NYC flagship unlocks a new level of convenience by allowing customers to navigate the shopping experience in-store entirely on their phones, using the brand’s existing app.

Shoppers at the 5th Avenue store, called House of Innovation 000, can use the app throughout their entire visit and have a completely unmanned experience if they wish to do so. This includes using the “Scan to Try” feature that lets customers scan QR codes on products to get them sent to the fitting room for try on; “Shop the Look”, where a QR code will bring up a mannequin’s entire outfit, which the customer can order through their phone for home delivery; and most importantly, a self-checkout feature where the shopper can pay seamlessly through their phones on services like Apple Pay and PayPal.

Future retail locations around the globe will follow the same concept, blurring the lines between physical and digital.

Customers at home can even reserve shoes online to try on in real life. In this case, the items are placed in a locker with the person’s name on, which they can then unlock with their phones once in-store. The area has its own entrance, so shop-goers can be in and out in a matter of minutes.

The six-storey building also offers multiple environments built around specific needs, such as The Speed Shop, which has all the brand’s most popular items ready to buy; The Arena, a customization area where shoppers can order shoes in whatever color they want; and the Nike Expert Studio, offering one-on-one appointments with stylists.

Nike's new NYC flagship
Nike’s new NYC flagship

In addition to the digital and personalization features, the design of the store is modular, with walls that can be moved using a grid system. In as little as a day, it is possible to adapt the store into a completely different setup for a special event.

Nike’s first hybrid concept store opened earlier this year in Los Angeles as a lab for testing new retail ideas. After tracking members who had visited the store, they gathered that customers spent 30% more online later than those who didn’t have the in-person experience. Meanwhile in October, the brand also opened a similar concept in Shanghai where it has reported it is signing up a new member to the official app every two minutes.

In creating an entirely unmanned experience but still offering customers opportunities for personalization and interaction, Nike is striking a balance between two very different consumer speeds: convenience and experience.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile Retail

Nike announces retail app for connected in-store experience

Nike

Nike has announced the launch of Nike App at Retail, a mobile concept that provides in-store customers with a personalised experience via their devices.

The app will allow consumers to be recognised when entering a store, opening up exclusive products within their proximity. It will also allow them to scan product availability in all nearby Nike stores, as well as check out and pay for their in-store purchases.

For customers using the app elsewhere, they can reserve products in a personal locker in-store for try-on and purchase later. The brand is said to be testing several other features that will eventually be incorporated into a wider range of stores.

The debut, which will happen in Q4 in two locations – Portland and Los Angeles – follows the recent acquisition of Zodiac, a consumer data and analytics startup whose expertise the sporting brand will leverage to build skills in-house and better connect with customers.

Nike's scavenger hunt
Nike’s scavenger hunt

At an earnings call on March 22, CEO Mark Parker stated that digital and mobile apps are playing an increasing role in how the brand launches key innovations, which is reflective of how consumers are behaving and shopping. He explained there will be a lot more storytelling coming to life from a digital standpoint as it becomes a more important part of the brand’s overall strategy.

In the future, Nike’s in-store experiences will blend physical and digital seamlessly and effortlessly complement one another, he added.

Nike has recently been experimenting with providing super fans with one-off experiences leveraged by their digital behaviours, particularly in terms of gamification. Last year, it promoted an AR scavenger hunt that enabled fans to get their hands on a limited shoe collaboration by scanning NYC posters, while this February it gave fans at a basketball match early access to limited edition shoes via a shoppable Snapchat filter.

Categories
Editor's pick product technology

Nike unveils raft of innovations including adaptive lacing and new personalisation app

Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit
Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit

Nike was in an innovative frame of mind yesterday as it unveiled a raft of tech-based sports shoes that it said represented “new breakthroughs in performance… the all-access pass to your potential”.

I must admit, I wish the announcements these companies make would be less hyperbole-laden. I always go into default sceptic mode when I hear those regular press release words like “groundbreaking,” “pioneering” and not forgetting the favourite “revolutionary”.

But to be fair to Nike, when you strip back the superlatives, you do get some real steps forward (pun intended).

Nike’s new adaptive lacing
Nike’s new adaptive lacing

The innovation came through in launches such as its “adaptive lacing” platform, as well as a “pioneering” football technology that separates mud from cleats and “transformations” in the Nike Air and Nike Flyknit lines.

Nike CEO Mark Parker also unveiled the new Nike+ app that connects athletes with the brand’s products and services “in a simple, seamless way”. The company says it delivers a personal store and on-demand coaching through a personal feed that recommends products tailored to the user, coaching for all levels that adapts to each person’s performance and schedule, and a fair bit more.

Continuing with the superlatives, here’s more of what Parker said: “Today… represents a fundamental shift in how we serve the athlete. We’ve entered a new era of personalised performance. Athletes want more than a dashboard and data – they want a more personal relationship, one that gives them real solutions and total access to the best product and services.”

Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit
Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit

What this all boils down to is innovation in materials, fastenings and soles as well as all the extra services that the app will bring. This is some of what’s coming:

  • Nike HyperAdapt 1.0: Ushering in this new era of personalised performance, it’s the first-ever step in the concept of “adaptive lacing”. That means self-tying to you and I. It delivers a precise fit that can be adjusted to the changing needs of the game so your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten, although the wearer can also adjust the lacing via special buttons. Shoes using this tech will be exclusively available to purchase through the new Nike+ app, which means you won’t be able to buy them unless you sign up to Nike+.
  • Air VaporMax Flyknit: Since the advent of the Air platform 40 years ago, designers required foam and rubber to separate the Air and the foot for support and traction purposes. But not amy more as the firm’s research has allowed “these barriers [to] be removed to create maximum feel and efficiency for runners”. Nike said this development “reimagines how footwear is made and offers athletes the purest cushioning ever created”. The Air VaporMax features Nike’s most advanced Air bag unit to date. It debuts not only more extreme, targeted Air placement but also more Air than before. Discarding the traditional foam midsole, sheds weight and bulk in exchange for better flexibility, without compromising structure. Weight and waste are reduced, and placing the upper directly on the Nike VaporMax Air unit ramps up response, the company says.
  • Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit spike: This gets even more specific, introducing a knit pattern that provides mid-foot support adapted to the centrifugal force of the track. Plus, the innate construction of Flyknit eliminates the weight associated with traditional cut-and-sew uppers.
  • Anti-Clog Traction: No, it’s not a declaration of war on Crocs or traditional dutch footwear! It’s clog as in clogging, and helps prevent mud from sticking to the bottom of football boots (cleats) with a new adaptive polymer to help players avoid the slips and excess weight that can be a monumental pain.
  • Flyknit: I have to admit, the Flyknit platform was something of a game-changer and it’s now available in all sports for all athletes in all conditions, a major leap forward for a technology that four years ago launched solely for marathoners. The combinations of yarns and digital knitting techniques that make up Flyknit now offer athletes stronger and more weatherproof options.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday