First Look: Nike’s new store concept uses digital-user data to curate merchandise

Nike is launching a format that breaks new ground in using technology to provide a shopping experience that caters to local tastes.

The new concept, called Nike Live, is inspired by — and built as a hub for — local members of the company’s NikePlus loyalty program. The first one, Nike by Melrose, will open on July 12, on trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. (Click here for a video tour). It has pop-up vibes and a streamlined interior, and will operate as an experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot. The products and services in the store are based on a deep understanding of the neighborhood, according to Nike. More neighborhood-specific locations will open in cities around the globe, including Tokyo, next spring and beyond.

The store will offer a selection of best-sellers and essential running, training and sportswear product. It will also will offer city-specific products, with the inventory determined by Nike’s digital commerce data. The retailer will analyze buying patterns, app usage and engagement of its local NikePlus members to stock shelves, with a goal of serving local NikePlus members what they want when they want it. New apparel, footwear and accessories — all specific to LA’s needs regardless of Nike’s broader seasonal priorities — will fill the store on a bi-weekly basis (a Nike first) and sometimes even exclusively.

The store’s features include a “Sneaker Bar” that is designed to make trying on and buying footwear quick and easy. It also boasts a “Dynamic Fit Zone” that boasts a lounge where customers can relax and an area where customers can get styling tips from Nike associates. Customers can try out products on a treadmill in the “Trial Zone.”

And in another example of how the concept blends the online with the physical, NikePlus members can redeem product or rewards by using their member pass at the NikePlus “Unlock Box” (essentially a digital vending machine).

According to Nike, data provided its NikePlus members in Los Angeles shows that they are running and style obsessed. They love basketball and are on the competitive side. They’re sneakerheads and visionaries. Consequently, for its opening, Nike by Melrose will be stocked with plenty of Nike Cortez styles, a ton of running product, bright colorways and hip packs.