Don’t make excuses. Don’t stop for pizza and beer and get distracted. Just do it!
When you arrive in New York City this month for NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, be sure to check out Nike NYC, a 68,000-square-foot, six-level, cross-category destination that merges physical and digital retail. Built as Nike House of Innovation 000, this newest flagship experience represents the best of Nike product, style and sports innovation. Designed to inspire the athlete in everyone, Nike NYC’s latest iteration of experiential shopping is its most personal and responsive.
During the grand opening celebration, I had the chance to chat with Cathy Sparks, vice president and general manager of Nike Direct Stores and Service, who described the House of Innovation as the “most immersive, most experiential experience into the brand. We’re very focused on providing the biggest cities and the most important shopping destinations in the world with insider access to the brand, our product innovation and a new level of personal service delivered by the world’s best athletes that work here.”
Nike is no stranger to the New York retail scene: Retail enthusiasts will recall the hoopla that surrounded the opening of Niketown in 1996. It was a singular happening at a time when retail and experience did not routinely appear in the same sentence. In November 2016, Nike SoHo — a five-story, multi-sport, 55,000-square-foot retail experience — opened in the heart of New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, once again raising the bar with attractions that included an interactive soccer field, a running element and a half-court basketball area.
What sets Nike NYC apart from its predecessors? Sparks says Nike SoHo was “style-led and catered to a higher percentage of women. At Nike NYC we will really tune into the New York marketplace — bringing local sporting events such as the New York City Marathon to life.” Shoppers will experience “deeper, richer storytelling around product innovation than they do anywhere else in the world.”
Case in point: The Nike Sneaker Lab on the fourth floor, featuring the largest assortment of Nike footwear anywhere in the globe and displays that bring the making of iconic footwear to life. The first floor Nike Arena brings seasonal storytelling to the forefront, offering core pieces from seasonal collections, a Nike by You customization space and a first-of-its-kind installation dubbed Sport Beacon.
Sparks calls out the Nike Speed Shop on the ground floor and a digital feature called “Shop the Look” which allows shoppers to browse every item a mannequin is dressed in to check size, availability and colors simply by scanning a QR code. “Given the pace of New Yorkers, I think they’re going to love the instant checkout,” Sparks says. “They can scan any item, add it to their cart and pay for it on the Nike app. All they need to do is grab a bag from one of our instant checkout fixtures and head out the door.”
“My favorite is ‘Shop the Look,’” she says. “It’s zero-friction shopping. You scan the code, have the option to remove items you’re not interested in and can easily change sizes — even send it to the fitting room. Digital meets physical, and it’s magical.”