Once you’ve tried something on and like it, you can pay on the spot with the instant checkout feature, allowing you to skip the queues and shop in a way that works for you.
Turning shopping into an experience is something Nike prides itself on, just take one look at its in-store DJs and Instagrammable displays. This is to be recommended: according to a report by The Future Laboratory last year, commissioned by shopping centre Centre:MK, around 75 per cent of Generation Z respondents said they prefer stores that provide a “memorable and encouraging offer.”
Putting scanners in the hands of shoppers via their smartphones turns a passive browsing moment into something fun and engaging, and crucially, will get people coming into store again and again.
One of the first criteria for the new features was that they shouldn’t form a separate app, they needed to be part of the existing Nike app infrastructure.
“That was a big principle and a lot of that was because as we start to find new ways of shopping, of merging digital and physical, [we needed to] make sure that all of our digital experiences and physical experiences are really tied closely together,” she explains.
Teams across Nike were brought together to ensure that this integration could be possible, allowing Nike customers to shop across platforms interchangeably. “So it wasn't about creating new tech or introducing a lot of new capabilities, it was really about how do we bring the features together and the teams together within Nike to start thinking and working a little differently,” adds Warvel.
The new Nike App features first rolled out to Nike stores in the US, before landing in London. The company hopes to have these features available in all of its UK stores in the coming months.
There could be some new and improved parts of the app by that point too. One trial currently in the US allows shoppers to scan an item and request to have it sent directly to a fitting room, like the app equivalent of having a Nike personal shopper on hand to assist you. Warvel says this should be coming to London soon.
Another feature undergoing trial is to do with the mannequins. Currently only available in the New York Nike store, shoppers can scan a mannequin and request any of the clothes and products to be sent to a fitting room.
“We're constantly getting feedback which is why we do these pilots and expand them slowly and start to use these stores to reiterate and react to the feedback. [There’s] so many more services that we weren't necessarily thinking about in the beginning,” says Warvel.
Yet, it’s things like this that will get customers to come back into stores. Research released at the end of last year said one in four shoppers could abandon the high street by the end of 2021. With HMV currently in administration and looking for buyers, brands need to do all they can to get footfall. Whether it’s embracingcheckout free stores like Amazon, or merging digital and physical shopping, tech is certainly one way to save the high street.
Nike says its about being where the customers are. “Consumers are moving so fast, they're digitally empowered and enabled and we have to keep up with the pace,” says Warvel.
“We've been really focused on obsessing over how we can make these services better, how we do we think of new ways to bring digital to life in our stores and really editing or pivoting if it's not working. You can't be afraid to do that,” she adds.