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#Shoptalk18: How Nike uses mobile loyalty to create a community

“When we know more about our consumers, we can celebrate them and reward them better,” said Adam Sussman, chief digital officer at Nike, describing the brand’s journey to creating a mobile loyalty programme.

Speaking at the Shoptalk 2018 conference in Las Vegas, Sussman explained how since launching NikePlus the brand has accumulated 100 million members and he expects this to more than triple in the next five years.

“It delivers incredible value and they are more engaged,” he explained, saying how NikePlus members spend four times as much money with the brand compared to regular Nike shoppers.

“We deliver the exact right product, experience and storytelling – it makes a tremendous difference.”

Just do it

But Nike’s loyalty programme isn’t about collecting points with every purchase, Sussman described how the scheme was built around how to better serve its athlete consumers, with the knowledge that they have a deep connection with the culture of sports.

“We know if someone buys a new pair of running shoes, they’re not just buying footwear, they’re buying potential in themselves to be more active.”

“We know if someone buys a new pair of running shoes, they’re not just buying footwear, they’re buying potential in themselves to be more active.”

He said retailers are all too aware of the big trends in retail – mobile first, digital connectivity, speed and convenience.

“All of this technology is at its most powerful when it serves people,” he said. “But this requires an entire company-wide mentality shift and a willingness to jump wholeheartedly into a true digital transformation.”

Unlocks and geo-fencing

NikePlus Unlocks, available on the Nike app, provides VIP shoe exclusives, event invites, Happy Birthday bonuses, exclusive music playlists and even chatbots which can talk customers through the right pair of shoes to run their first marathon.

The more a customer interacts, the more Nike can personalise and offer more relevant products and experiences.

The app segments its customers depending on their interests. For example a keen runner uses the Nike Run app to track their runs and achievements, share their progress with friends and download audio runs with words of encouragement from famous celebrities and athletes including Mo Farah and Kevin Hart. Using data, such as mileage and running habits, Nike can recommend the right product, such as suggesting reflective clothing for night-time runners. Sussman said by being this personalised, members engage twice as often.

He also explained how Nike is using geo-fencing technology to inform shoppers if they are walking by a store which has a product from their wish list available in their size. The shopper can instantly reserve the product and Sussman said conversion rate is forty times better than traditional targeted messaging. When shoppers enter a store to try on the item, they can pay directly through the app.

Snkr Stash and AR

Sussman also shared with delegates the success from its Snkr Stash app which is aimed at “sneaker heads” who collect the latest Nike trainer designs.

Rather than the bad experience of waiting in endless queues and camping outside stores for the latest releases, Nike has used AR technology to “put the fun back into the hunt”.

“We’ve transformed the shoe buying experience into something exciting by gamifying the experience. And we’ve reimagined the sport of shopping.”

When new products drop on the app, they sell out in seconds – such as Justin Timberlake’s customised sneakers worn at the Superbowl, which appeared on the app as he walked off stage. But building an app which could handle the high traffic volumes, wasn’t enough. Nike created an AR game – similar to Pokemon Go – where users go on a virtual treasure hunt with their smartphone to find the newly released shoe designs.

“We’re transformed the shoe buying experience into something exciting by gamifying the experience. And we’re reimagined the sport of shopping.”

“People get emotional,” said Sussman as he showed delegates a video of Washington Square Park mobbed by users on their phones, helping each other to find the shoes, which would lead to a real-life reward of being able to buy the latest pair.

So users outside of major cities could be included, Nike introducing Stash Squad, where “a kid in Denver can be as lucky as the kid in New York” as users share the rewards with friends from out of town.

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