Nike’s Secret Recipe: Unlocking the Magic Behind their Revolutionary CX
As one of the titans in the sports industry, Nike deeply understands how to create an extraordinary customer experience to connect with its consumers on an exceptionally personal level. The brand has a multi-faceted approach, tackling CX from many sides: from high-tech personalization and holistic lifestyle coaching to robust community building, radical inclusivity, and strategic partnerships.
I love that Nike has always been more than just a retailer selling sportswear. It is a lifestyle architect, developing pioneering initiatives and tools that push the boundaries of traditional customer experience.
That’s why I wanted to list some of its strategies for building such an amazing customer experience. Here they are:
Very few brands trump Nike when it comes to hyperpersonalization, both offline and virtually.
Their perfectly designed hi-tech shops feature personal consultation services – given by “Nike store athletes” – and even a “Dynamic Fit Zone”, where customers can test their shoes in a real-world environment, on treadmills or relaxing in the space. They have a private fitting service for bras, with recommendations to suit customers training needs. The “Nike Fit” in-store service maps your foot morphology for the most accurate fit possible and saves that size for future purchases, in-store or online. And the “Nike Maker Experience” allows in-store customers to design, create and leave with a personalized version of the new Presto X shoe in less than two hours.
Nike offers the same type of personalization in the virtual world, the Web3 .SWOOSH platform being one of the most notable examples, where users can collect, trade, showcase and (co-)create virtual creations like virtual shoes or jerseys, called “Nike Virtual Creations” (they prefer not to call them NFTs). The “Nike Fit” application is also available through augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to measure customer’s feet. And “Nike by You” allows customers to customize their gear by choosing their preferred color, design, and features.
Be a Partner in Life
Their apps allow for the same type of personalization, often with an added “Partner in Life” (one of the pillars of my book The Offer You Can’t Refuse) flavor, where Nike caters to the health, hopes and dreams of their customers. That’s because Nike doesn’t just sell sports gear, they are also a lifestyle brand, encouring their customers to live healthier and more active lives, for instance through the free “Nike Membership” app.
The latter includes its fitness apps, Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club, and its libraries of over 100 workouts, as well as the SNKRS App, to stay on top of the latest sneaker drops. Customers can track their health, workouts, access personalized training programs, get priority access to sporting events, and much more through these apps.
The Nike Training Club app, for instance, offers wellness tips, at-home workouts, and tools to support your physical and mental wellbeing to help you progress toward your holistic fitness goals. it’s just as much about mindfulness, nutrition, rest and connection as it is about sports.
And the strategy works: in North America, Nike apps represented over 60% of its digital business in the third quarter.
Build a community
Nike does not just go above and beyond products with a “partner in life” strategy and extra (free) services, it is also a strong community builder, knowing that is a powerful added value when it comes to (mental) health.
The above mentioned Nike .SWOOSH platform plays a pivotal role here. Community members can actively engage in collaboration with one another, participating in community challenges, sharing ideas, and earning opportunities to co-create the next generation of Nike Virtual Creations. This inclusive approach cultivates a strong sense of camaraderie, fostering a shared ownership and a collective vision for the future of Nike in the Web3 era.
The platform allows users to attend virtual Nike events or they can participate in physical gatherings, connecting with Nike athletes, designers, and fellow fans who are instrumental in shaping culture.
Nike is one of the most diverse and inclusive brands out there. 51% of its global corporate workforce are women. 38.8% of its U.S. corporate workforce in the U.S. are racial and ethnic minorities. And it’s rated 75% top quartile for inclusion and engagement, relative to peers, by its 80,000 employees.
But it’s not just its employees, its marketing campaigns too, are highly diverse, featuring stories about athletes like Michael Jordan, Simone Biles, Lebron James, Serena Williams and Colin Kapernic and showcasing inclusive products like the Nike Pro Hijab for Muslim female athletes, adaptive activewear for people with disabilities, and athletic wear in plus sizes.
In fact, according to Adobe research from May 2020, US adults deemed Nike, Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, and Dove among the brands with the most advertising diversity.
Few brands are at proficient at using the right partners as Nike, including companies like Apple, Beats by Dre and Fortnite.
Nike’s 2006 collaboration with Apple led to the creation of the Nike+ Run Club App, which helped Nike become a leader in the digital fitness space. In 2013, Nike’s partnership with Beats by Dre helped Nike move into the music sphere and get in front of people who use their sportswear as a symbol of culture.
It has strategically entered the luxury and jewelry industry through collaborations with brands like Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, Dior and Tiffany & Co. to expand its audience.
The same goes for the virtual world, where Nike partnered up with the popular online video game Fortnite in an innovative collaboration that revolves around Nike’s unique .Swoosh Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platform. It also announced a partnership with EA that will bring select virtual assets created by .Swoosh, Nike’s Web3 marketplace platform, to future EA Sports titles.
Through all these efforts, you can really feel how Nike listens, learns, and innovates to give its customers a magical experience. With a passion for hyper-personalization and tech-fueled innovation, it has evolved from a mere sports retailer to a true partner in life. It’s not just about products; it’s about fostering communities, sharing visions, and embracing inclusivity. Nike’s ability to transcend boundaries and establish meaningful connections with customers is a masterpiece in customer experience, and a great example of my concept the ‘offer you can’t refuse’.