This New Nike App Is Like a Concierge for Working Out
Nike has officially unveiled a new mobile app that the world’s largest athletic gear maker says will help the brand resonate more in the mobile world.
The new Nike+ app, which executives previewed earlier this year at a media event held in New York City, will give users a mix of services (booking one-on-one retail appointments), training and running advice tips, shopping tips, and a form of social commerce that has become increasingly popular in the athletics category. Nike (NKE) is selling the new app by saying it is “the centerpiece for your all-access-pass” to what the brand can offer.
“This is a great time for Nike in the digital space,” Nike Chief Digital Officer Adam Sussman tells Fortune. “We are really coming out with innovative products that will connect to consumers in a seamless and simple way with a consistent experience across all of them.”
Sussman outlines four ways the app can unite the brand with Nike’s most loyal adherents. Those opportunities consist of invites for special products and event, expert advice from pro athletes and trainers, a Nike mobile shopping experience tailored to each user, and access to services like retail appointments.
One feature that will look familiar to users is a “feed” of the latest Nike shoes and apparel, which will remind many of scrolling through Instagram—only in this case, it is all Nike news, all the time. Nike also touts the greater connectivity between the various apps it now offers. Log into any of these Nike apps (Nike+, Nike+ Training Club, etc.), and your fitness and purchasing history will migrate across the apps.
Fortune got an early peak at the app and couldn’t help but wonder: Isn’t this just a glorified shopping app? We had the same thought when reporting on a recently launched app from top rival Under Armour (UA), which recently launched a mobile app dedicated to “elevating the consumer shopping experience.”
Nike contends that’s not what the company intended when it built this platform.
“It is not a shopping app,” Sussman stresses. “At its core, it is about serving our consumers and giving them access to the best of Nike brand.” While that could include product suggestions (Training for your first 5K race? Here’s a pair of shoes you should consider), Sussman adds there are a lot of services offered as well.
One notable service I could see myself using: Booking a slot in a Nike event. I’m based in New York City, but let’s say I was planning to travel to Chicago in the next few days. In theory, I could sign up for a Nike-sponsored core strength and conditioning app at 1:30 p.m. local time on August 3 if that fits in with my travel plans.
Users can also opt for their preferred categories of interest if they are in fact looking for shopping tips. Beyond running, there are several other sports, including golf, tennis, and skating. You can also “favorite” specific categories, like the Jordan brand or sneakers.
The launch of Nike+, after several months in beta testing, is one of the first key new offerings under the direction of Sussman, who joined Nike in February. He was brought into the top digital role to develop products and services across Nike.com, Nike+, and other digital platforms. His role is critical to the broader mission at Nike as the company is aiming to expand the e-commerce business to $7 billion in annual sales by 2020, up from $1 billion figure Nike reported last fall. Online sales are a fast-growing channel for Nike: they grew 51% in fiscal 2016 through Nike-owned websites.
Prior to the new Nike+ app, Sussman also oversaw a new Nike+ Training Club app and will relaunch the running-focused mobile app later this month. Sussman also promised a revamped sneakers app will be unveiled this fall.
To help propel the digital evolution, Nike also announced on Tuesday it would open a new digital studio based in New York City. That studio will house a newly acquired team of tech entrepreneurs, which previously worked for tech startup Virgin Mega. Their mission is to make mobile more relevant to the brand’s customers.