Nike has been selling customized shoes for almost 20 years. But NIKE iD, the service that allows customers to design their own Nike shoes, has never been as important for the brand as it has in the last five years.
Although the company doesn’t disclose sales driven by NIKE iD, it recognizes the service as an important part of its direct to consumer (DTC) strategy. In the latest quarterly report, which was released on June 30, a robust 18 percent revenue increase in DTC sales, which wholesale revenue only improved 5 percent. A key driver of its growth is the greater China market—its best performing market—which reported a 16-percent revenue increase. Nike sees its future in over 350 million tech-savvy Chinese millennials, who are demanding uniqueness as well as a fun shopping experience. NIKE iD suits them perfectly.
Consumers are invited to co-design their shoes with Nike—it’s not only a B2C channel, but also invites active consumer participation. The service is available both online and offline, allowing customers the convenience of checking their options and ordering online while also providing an in-person experience if they want to get more.
On the NIKE iD webpage or on its app, consumers can pick the style, color, fabrics and design details to customize their gear to be exactly the way they want it. Then, they order them online. The service is also available in the NIKE iD area in many Nike retail stores, where consumers can check the materials in person and get advice from Nike representatives. A slightly higher premium price is charged in that case, and consumers can receive the product in four weeks. Not all products are available for customization. But Nike keeps adding new styles, sometimes special editions, and updating color schemes and other personalization options.
- Give customers plenty of options: Nike provides numerous styles, fabrics, color schemes and design details for customers to choose from, and is constantly updating them. This is crucial in creating a real customized experience, allowing customers enough liberty to express their ideas and come up with truly unique personal designs.
- Create an experience: Shoes are not the only products being sold here. The company is selling experience. Online or offline, Nike encourages customers to try out their ideas, but doesn’t rush to sell them shoes. On NIKE iD's site, customers can save their designs and share them with friends; in Nike stores, the goal is to encourage customers to stay, experience and come back, but not necessarily to buy products. Interaction and brand loyalty will eventually drive up sales.
- Social media: Encourage consumers to share their design and experience on social media.