Bits and bytes transforming brick and mortar

Who said retail was dead? There are so many great examples of how retail stores are acually gaining in relevance in so many industries. It’s all about your omnichannel offering and how the “old” retail space comes alive and inspires real-life experiences together with digital smartness.

A lovely example is the Nike on Melrose in LA shop. The store highlights how the human experience can become even better instore when smartly combined with technology.

The store checks many of the boxes of what physical retail needs to be in 2018 and beyond – Localized, Digitized, Personalized, Humanized, Socialized:

  1. Localized – As reported in Fast Company, it’s called Nike by Melrose not just for its Melrose Avenue street address, but because “the store was built by the people of Melrose”. Both its location and the product it stocks were determined by Nike digital commerce data, gathered from the surrounding area (particularly via input from NikePlus members). City-specific product will be stocked and rotated frequently, also on the basis of data analysis. As VP and GM of Nike Direct Stores Cathy Sparks told the Los Angeles Times, “About 15% of our apparel and 25% of our footwear is going to change every two weeks…if a color like yellow is trending with our customers, then we’re going to bring in yellow.”
  2. Digitized – The concept is not just informed by the NikePlus app, it’s controlled by it. To get the most out of the experience, shoppers need to access the store via NikePlus, which in turn generates new data, which is then fed back into Nike by Melrose – a virtuous cycle. The utility of the app puts the customer in control. For example, you can reserve an item you like on NikePlus, and pick up in store at a smart locker, or by using Swoosh Text, collect at the curb. You can also scan any code on any product in store to request your size, or check additional colors or real-time stock availability. NikePlus members are given an extra incentive to come back regularly – scan a code on your app at the NikePlus Unlock Box (vending machine) every two weeks for instant product or rewards.
  3. Personalized – The store is not just tailored to surrounding zip codes, it’s personalized to individuals. NikePlus members will be recognized as soon as they enter a geofenced area around the store, and as Nike learns more about a NikePlus user’s behavior, items might be automatically set aside, in that person’s size, regardless of whether a request has been made. As Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike Direct said in Fast Company, “This kind of personalized mechanism online converts 40 times past any other mechanism Nike has in the field now. The store is the first time we can take that digital mechanic and apply it in a physical setting.”
  4. Humanized – One of the defining differences of physical retail is the ability to be served by a living, breathing human being, not a chatbot. At the Sneaker Bar inside Nike by Melrose, shoppers can interact with a “store athlete” who is expert in footwear. NikePlus members can also book 15-minute Express Sessions for more in-depth one-on-one advice.
  5. Socialized – The Nike by Melrose experience is made for sharing in an Instagram age. The exterior features a mural by artist and Los Angeles native Bijou Karman and will no doubt generate plenty of ‘grams.

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