July 20, 2018Published by: Sam Keefe

How Nike is using data to get sales into shape

It probably won’t come as a major surprise to hear that sportswear is big business, especially when it comes to trainers. But while the industry has been at the forefront of athletics and British culture for years, it seems to have grown and gone to a whole new level lately.

Adidas in particular has turned its footwear business around in a big way. It’s found the perfect medium between influencer marketing and creating a great product, and used it to its advantage. Great products placed in the hands of the right people, at the right time.

For example, the success of Adidas' Boost technology and some very smart marketing tie-ins has helped the brand cement its status as the King of footwear. With 9.3 million sales in the UK last year alone, it’s unlikely that Adidas will be dethroned anytime soon.

So the big question is how are the rest fighting back? Nike is one of the brands hoping it might have an answer: data. Many moons ago, an economist said that data was the new oil, and it’s a phrase that has been used, discussed and dissected by nearly every industry around ever since, not least where customers are involved. His key takeaway was that by using data, brands are now able to give their customers exactly what they want in more ways than ever before, and that’s where Nike has seen an opportunity.

This week, it opened Nike By Melrose, the company’s first live concept store. With four apps and an already well established Nike Plus membership, the brand has over 140 million members worldwide and access to oceans of data. So by leveraging these huge banks of information, what Nike has in the digital world is being transferred into the real world - a concept they hope will give them a USP against others.

By creating a live, ever-changing physical offering, Nike is fostering a much stronger, direct relationship with the 'hypebeasts' who crave something unique more than ever, with data at the very heart. It’s a testing ground for a data-driven approach that, executed correctly, could give the sportswear giant a real chance at reclaiming back some market share.  

Will it work? No one knows for sure, but at a time when customers are more intune than ever before about their digital footprint, it’s a smart example of a brand looking at things differently. Using data in the right way, giving local customers something unique and offering something that others can’t.

Of course, Nike isn’t the only brand with huge banks of data. So could others be following suit and converting digital to physical? Most definitely. But what Nike is showcasing, is that the relationship between brand and customer via data is a huge business opportunity and that it's also gone a long way to show retail stores are far from dead.

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