The retail industry has been obliterated by e-commerce leaving vast vacancies in malls across the country. Once prominent brick-and-mortar retail chains such as Toys R Us have been driven out of business. Nike is determined to not go extinct in the same fashion as the previous retail dinosaurs. Nike introduced their first high-tech concept store in Los Angeles that weaves traditional store advantages with the convenience and personalization of e-commerce.
The new concept store is called “Nike by Melrose” and it is a retail location inspired by the internet. The 4,000-square-foot retail location on Melrose Avenue in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles is the first “Nike Live” concept store. Besides being located on Melrose Avenue, the store’s name is because it will feature styles that are most popular with local customers. Nike will utilize data from online purchases to determine what the physical store will stock, making it representative of LA and not trends from the East Coast or the South. The sneaker giant says the Melrose location will sell numerous colors of Nike Cortez, a retro-styled, low-cut shoe, because that’s what people in the area buy online.
The store will feature an ever-changing inventory so you’ll want to check out the latest styles. The concept location will refresh 25% of its footwear every two weeks, three times faster than a typical store. The rear of the store will not rotate, but will display “365 favorites,” much like a “best-sellers” tab you would see on a retail website.
The concept store will attempt to woo customers by understanding that their time is important so this location will put an emphasis on speed and convenience. The store will offer curbside pickup of sneakers. Customers can use the Nike app to scan barcodes on products to get more information about them including the sizes and colors that are in stock. Sneakerheads can reserve sneakers online and then drop by the store to try them on. The pre-reserved kicks will be stored in a locker that can be unlocked by the Nike app on the customer’s smartphone. No waiting for a clerk during busy times.
Despite Nike’s online sales rising by 41% in its recent quarter, the company understands that physical locations are still important in the digital age because they offer an experience that online purchases can’t offer. Customers can even book “Nike Express Sessions,” which are 15-minute-long appointments with a Nike representative who will be a style guide. There’s even a treadmill in the store so customers can test out apparel. Not sure I want already-worn, sweat-soaked, BO clothes. There will even be complimentary tailoring services and a vending machine that gives free goodies to Nike Plus members.
The Melrose location is the first Nike Live store, but the company is so excited about the promise of the concept that they are already planning to open several concept stores in big cities around the world. It almost sounds very Apple Store-like. Could Nike’s concept store be the answer to the retail apocalypse?