Dezeen Magazine

Nike Live by Melrose

"Retail is not dead, but boring retail is dead" according to Nike

Nike is testing a host of tech-driven shopping features at a new store in Los Angeles, as part of the sports brand's major plans to "disrupt" retail.

The stock at the pop-up-style Nike Live Melrose shop – and its location – were chosen using data sourced from local customers' online shopping habits, and those using Nike Plus apps.

Vice president of Nike's global stores, Cathy Sparks, told Dezeen that tailoring physical retail to customers in this way gives the brand an edge over its competitors.

"Traditional retail is going to struggle," she said. "At Nike what we talk a lot about is that retail is not dead, but boring retail is dead."

Nike Live concept aims to "disrupt" retail

The Nike Live concept forms part of the US brand's plans to shake up the shopping experience in the digital age. By predicting what customers are more likely to buy, and providing extra services like locker collection and drive-through pick-up, the company hopes to reinvigorate physical retail.

"We've been very focussed on building experiences and services that our consumers have told us they want and appreciate," said Sparks. "It's retail like we've never done before."

Nike Live by Melrose
Nike has opened a concept store in Los Angeles (top image), with new features like the Curb Service where customers can pick up items on the roadside

The store's location on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood – a popular shopping, dining and entertainment district – was decided upon by looking at areas where Nike Plus users frequent, as well as insights from the brand's local team.

"We're adding in this aspect of big convenience, and placing it in a location where we know our members live," Sparks continued.

Store features aim to improve convenience for customers

Inside, a number of details are intended to "disrupt" traditional shopping habits, and make it easier for both digital and walk-in customers.

Lockers are used to store items reserved online, so customers can come and try them on before buying. A vending machine distributes free items to app users at the swipe of their phone. In the first few weeks, there were queues to get a complimentary pair of socks.

Nike Live by Melrose
Inside, The Sneaker Bar is modelled on a cafe or bar, with an assistant on-hand to advise on trainers

To hasten the collection or return of products, members can text the store ahead of their arrival using a feature called Swoosh Text, and be met by a Nike employee when they pull into the parking lot.

"Our digital shoppers are continuing to transact online," she added. "They are going to be willing to continue to make transactions online if they know a really easy return is just down the street from them."

At the centre of the shop is the Sneaker Bar, set in a volume that appears to be made from a stack of white-painted shoe boxes. The store's footwear is housed inside, with an assistant on-hand to advise on purchases.

Nike Live by Melrose
The blue Dynamic Fit Zone provides space for Nike experts to offer styling tips, and customers to try-out products

Sparks described this personal touch as similar to buying a drink at a cafe or a bar.

"People who live in a neighbourhood, they want to go to a cafe, they want to go to a bar, and we've designed an element that allows people to sit down and engage with our experts," she said, adding that it is "the fastest service we can provide in the industry".

Customers' data used to curate stock

Nike has also taken information from its apps, like Nike Run Club and Training Club, to assess the shopping habits of its members. Sparks assured that this data is provided willingly by those who sign up to the apps, and consent when making purchases.

A curated section at the front of the store is stocked with products suited to an Angeleno lifestyle, rather than global trends.

Nike Live by Melrose
There is also a vending machine that distributes free items to members of Nike's apps

At the rear, the similarly tailored Local Favorites area contains apparel most popular with locals, along with additional colours to tempt regulars.

"We use the data on products to know what consumers in that micro-market already love," said Sparks.

Nike to roll out retail concept globally

The store also includes the Dynamic Fit Zone, comprising a lounging area, gym equipment for trialing products, and rooms for Nike experts to offer styling tips. Members can book a 30-minute-long Express Session for a one-on-one service.

Nike is planning to roll out similar retail experiences across the globe. The Tokyo team is currently scoping out suitable locations for a second Nike Live, which will open in spring 2019.

Two new flagship stores planned in New York and Shanghai will also incorporate many of the features trialed in LA, amongst other new ideas.