Here's How Nike's Mobile Strategy Dominates

Katie Huston Picture

by Katie Huston | Last Updated: Sep 24, 2018

Nike’s been on top of the game for a long time. The iconic sportswear brand, first took off in the era of Phil Knight and the Air Jordans. Since then, they’ve built an empire of shoes, clothes, and other brands like Converse and Hurley, backed by some of the most popular athletes of our time. The athletic giant has made a habit of creating unique and highly-talked about marketing campaigns, starting with the very first “Just Do It” ad, which aired in 1988. Something that’s less discussed? Their mobile strategy–specifically, what creative things they’re doing in mobile that set the Nike brand apart from their competitors. Taking the First Step In early 2015, Nike realized that their mobile e-commerce was steadily increasing as compared to desktop traffic and jumped on creating better mobile experiences far earlier than competitors like Adidas or Under Armour. “Premium customized experiences” like their NIKEiD app platform, where customers could customize their shoes with unique sayings and colors, began their foray into mobile and yielded positive results quarter-after-quarter. They fit mobile into the Nike marketing mix through mobile app development and designing their sites for mobile responsiveness, light years ahead of the rest of the retail industry. Ahead of the Curve Fast forward three years and Nike is still killing the game on mobile. They’re focusing not only on one all-encompassing mobile app, but different mobile experiences that are personalized to target audiences. This video showcases how Nike is using location-based marketing to ping the SNKR app’s users in the cities in which a new-release is about to come out. Nike tied in this experience with an AR scavenger hunt for SNKR users to unlock a new and exclusive release, which encouraged them to snap a picture and share on social media. Nike also rolled out a Facebook messenger AR-experience last year in conjunction with other big name brands like Sephora and Kia. Facebook users could access their Camera Effects filter on the Facebook app, select the Nike symbol, and be taken to a augmented experience on their mobile phones that featured a limited-edition pair of sneakers, designed by basketball star Kyrie Irving, sitting on top of a shining platform. Nike’s addition of the fun AR tech paid off–the promotion did far better than Sephora or Kia’s, with the shoes selling out globally in one hour. How It’ll Pay Off Nike’s investment in mobile has helped to maintain steady excitement around brand releases like new shoe lines or partnerships with music gurus like Kendrick Lamar. Since 51 percent of customers use their smartphones to find new products, it’s more important than ever to make mobile a priority. It’s paying off for Nike–total sales in Q4’17 were up more than 5 percent to over $8 billion, and Nike attributes that jump to meeting their customers on mobile and keeping their direct service structure through And, with a focus on using mobile to create an experience rather than a profit (their wildly popular Nike+ RunClub app is free, and not aiming to sell you anything), Nike’s mobile mindset proves that great experiences = big ROI–even when you’re not charging a thing.

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