NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Is having a store on 5th Avenue still worth it when rents are sky high and so many people shop online? Nike is answering that question with a resounding "Yes," betting that if you bring digital innovation to brick and mortar and offer customers unique experiences, they will get off the couch, come out, and spend.
Nike NYC House of Innovation 000, the brand's new flagship at 52nd Street and 5th Avenue, lets you explore 68,000 square feet of cutting-edge retail space without talking to a human. Take a picture of a QR code and the entire look is loaded onto your phone.
Use Nike's mobile app to try on products, buy products and walk out of the store, without talking to anyone.
Sean Madden, senior director of product for Nike Retail, calls this the most responsive and personal store Nike has ever built. There are digital innovations and custom experiences throughout the store's six floors, all geared towards the modern shopper.
Sean says the store needs to respond to the customer much faster than a flagship typically moves. Just look at the Nike Speed Shop, which is designed for local New Yorkers. It has a separate entrance to avoid the crowds of tourists and is stocked with all of the basics you might have forgotten to put in your gym bag.
Cathy Sparks, VP/GM of Nike Direct Stores and Service, says you can reserve those basics in the store. They'll be pulled from store inventory and put in lockers in the Speed Shop. Come in, scan the pass on your phone, the locker will pop open, and you can check out instantly on the Nike app.
Once again, you don't have to talk to a human and you can be on your way. If you do want to talk to a human, book a private appointment in the Nike Expert Studio. Those experts can advise on everything from running gear to training. Or drop in Cut & Sew, where seamstresses are ready to create personal looks.
At the Nike Arena on the ground floor, you can customize sneakers while you wait. Sean says they can change laces or swap a swoosh at the counter in 5 to 10 minutes.
But if you really want to break it down, customize, even dip-dye your shoes, you can make an appointment in the Maker's Studio, work with a designer and create a one of a kind product.
Or stop by the Nike Sneaker Lab, which has the largest collection of Nike kicks in the world, with more than 300 styles.
The footwear is presented in a custom fixture system that Nike designed, called the sport grid, to showcase the sneakers like art.
All of the digital decisions and integrations here have been carefully planned out. Nike used data from New York City customers to determine what products they'd put in the Speed Shop. They tested the innovations in other Nike stores before bringing them to New York.
And they're making the case that data, when used the right way, can make our lives—or at least our shopping experiences a lot better.
Nike NYC House of Innovation 000 | 650 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019 | 212-974-6301 | nike.com