Inside Shanghai 001: Nike’s First House of Innovation

Inside Shanghai 001: Nike’s First House of Innovation

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As digital technology continues to affect how and where consumers shop, how can retail stores look for new ways to lure shoppers in?

As digital technology continues to affect how and where consumers shop, retail stores are looking for new ways to lure shoppers in. Recent trends have seen new retail stores experiment with fancy architecture, décor and product displays. The goal is to turn the typical store into a “hub of activity”, offering immersive shopping experiences for consumers.

One brand that is successfully doing this is Nike. Last year in October, the sports apparel giant opened its first House of Innovation concept store in Shanghai. Spanning over 41,150 square feet, the store promises to offer “personalized and digitally-connected shopping journeys” to its shoppers. Shortly after opening, the MADJOR team journeyed to Nanjing East Road to check out the new Nike House Of Innovation. Below are our thoughts on the Nike Shanghai 001 retail experience:

Zach Mueller - Business Director

The new Nike Shanghai 001 is the future of membership shopping. It would be improper to classify the experience as part of Alibaba’s “new retail” trend, but it is undoubtedly a new type of retail experience. The new store underscores two aspects of Nike’s retail strategy: unique member’s only Nike+ shopping experiences, and thoughtful use of retail tech to elevate the customer shopping experience.

Inside of the store, there are essentially two shopping journeys. All shoppers have access to a general shopping experience and can appreciate Nike’s excellent retail designs. Each of the store’s four floors tells a different story, with the immersive use of merchandising displays to communicate seasonal campaigns. But the most alluring products and services - Center Court, Nike By You, Nike Bespoke, and Nike Expert Studio - are reserved exclusively for Nike+ members. The brilliant part of this is that it costs nothing to sign up, and new sign-ups are rewarded on-the-spot with a new, compelling retail experience. This is a great way to lure these new joiners to stay engaged with the brand and remain as followers. Plus, once shoppers become Nike+ member’s, they enter the world of Nike CRM and enjoy greater access to Nike news and information, limited edition offers, and value-add products and services.

The second detail that really made an impression was the excellent, yet not over-the-top, integration of different technologies into the retail experience. For example:

  • Booking for unique Nike Shanghai 001 services (Nike By You, Nike Bespoke, Nike Expert Studio) takes place through a store-dedicated WeChat Mini-Program that has centralized information related to the store
  • The Center Court athletic experience leaves you with a Wechat-friendly HTML5 scorecard displaying your historical ranking. The first-of-its-kind in-store activity not only encourages product trials for ongoing shoe campaigns, but also strengthens the brand’s perceived association with  elite sports analytics
  • There is minimal placement of static content around the store, and the majority of information is distributed on magic mirror digital screens that rotate modular content
  • Staff roaming the store are available to check customers out on the floor, eliminating the need to stand in line at cashiers. Purchasing direct through Nike APP via retail staff swing tags is also a breeze.
  • Digitized merchandising better engages consumer attention in ways that create higher quality storytelling about products and campaigns

A merchandising display invites viewers into the world of Nike design.

Anytime you see that orange band – the product is exclusive to Nike+ members.

The only concern with my Nike experience is that it is increasingly difficult to navigate the growing collection of Nike digital assets I am connected to - Wechat Official Account, Nike+ mini-program, Nike APP, Nike SNKRS, Nike Run Club and more. While this is a reflection of Nike’s growing digital presence and aptitude, it does make me wonder at what point I’ll need to enlist Marie Kondo to help me bring order to my digital clutter!

In short, we see that Nike Shanghai 001 is using technology and premium products and services to usher us into a new era of Nike+ membership shopping.

Renata Kuramshina - Associate Director of Experience Design

It is no secret that the Nike+ APP is hugely popular in China. Nike’s flagship stores in Shanghai have always had fascinating installations and innovative offers to engage with the customers in-store. Now, Nike once again proves itself with its House of Innovation in Shanghai. The Shanghai 001 is all about the experience – or the omni-channel consumer experience - satisfying all customers' cross-medium needs and desires in one place.

Nike itself defines this space as “consumer-focused”, “cross-category”, and “hyper-local”. With various personalized and digitalized experiences, here are my main takeaways from the visit:

Starting with the hard-to-miss, floor-to-ceiling screen panels spread across the store, shoppers can directly observe their own health data through their WeChat mini-program when they exercise at the Centre Court – the entrance to the store. The Arena also allows for digitally-enabled experiences, where speaker sessions, workshops and trialing sessions are held regularly.

The cutting-edge Centre Court activity blends directly into a traditional retail environment.

Zach’s Centre Court scorecard in shareable HTML5 form: Mirrored glass reflects Centre Court’s athlete rankings, giving consumer the feeling they are inside of a high-tech data analytics center.

For Nike+ members, they created the Nike Expert Studio with three individualized services: run, train and live, where experts help users to improve their sports performances or be better equipped for them. In the words of a Nike Retail Store Director we ran into, "it has the best ROI now: nobody has left the personal section without at least 1 purchase.”

Sections like "Nike by You" serves unique product customization. Shoppers can paint their shoes in any color and tone with stylistic details performed by local artists. Want a pair of Nike AF1s with zebra-print, a red sole and a yellow interior cushion and a blue Nike logo? Done. You can receive it together with chopped patent for the one and only inimitable design. Have a better design idea? Come and #justdoit

Anytime you see that orange band – the product is exclusive to Nike+ members.

Even the typical try-on experience improves dramatically, where it is possible now to adjust the lighting inside the fitting rooms according to your preference or the specific product you’re trying on: daylight, gym lights or yoga studio. Plus, there is a button to request a floor assistant to help you without leaving the room.

To "localize" the experience and attract even more foot traffic, the House Of Innovation has a collection of apparel design that are city-exclusive, only available in Shanghai and impossible to buy anywhere else in the world. If this is still not enough to drive consumers inside the store, there are three new Nike products launched exclusively just in this place: the Air Jordan 33, the LeBron 16, and the Pegasus Turbo.

The Omni-channel retail experience is a relatively new and emerging concept. It still requires some changes and experimentation, but Nike, choosing to launch these new concept stores in megacities like Shanghai and New York (House of Innovation 000 NYC was launched in November), drives this movement by providing coherent customer experience at every touchpoint.