Thursday, November 8, 2018

This Mobile Tech Could Have Saved Nike’s Failed SNKR Drop

Nike has been one of the shoe industry’s biggest proponents for connecting with shoppers on mobile and we’ve written about their mobile strategy before, but with big steps into new technology can come hiccups in the end user experience. This type of brand misconnection not only frustrates the consumers, but can take away from brand loyalty and decrease trust in the brand. Let’s look at what happened with Nike and what they might be able to do to fix future issues like this from happening.

The Sneaker Mix-Up
Nike’s consumer base is comprised of some seriously invested sneakerheads. The die-hard fans wait for shoe drops online, at stores, and some even camp out to get their hands on the latest Nike sneaker (either to add to their collection or to sell online). To create a community around this kind of excitement,  Nike released the SNKR app in 2015 and has released shoe drops with innovative technology like augmented reality scavenger hunts and Snapchat integrations. Their recent drop of a new line of Air Jordans got some of flak for an internal application error that released the drop on Androids only. iOS users were jilted that they didn’t get the chance to get the sneakers at the same time as the Android users and Nike didn’t do much to address the issue. They tweeted that the drop was released at the same time on Android and iOS, much to the disappointment of iOS-using fans. A major mobile technology (and customer experience!) snafu that left their most loyal sneakerheads disappointed.

Better Options for Fans
By using native mobile apps for highly-anticipated sneaker releases, Nike’s Android and iOS users pitted against each other in what should’ve been an exciting drop for Nike. The internal error allowed the shoe to sell out completely on Android before even being offered to iOS users, several minutes later. Nike didn’t own up to the issue, so we don’t know the actual error that caused this confusion was, but it most likely could’ve been solved by using a Progressive Web App (PWA) instead of a native app. Many times, app developers have to go through approval processes via both Android and Apple if they need to modify or update the app, which doesn’t create a lot of fluidity for Nike. PWAs allow a seamless mobile experience that functions like an app, but is hosted behind a URL, which means no app store middle mans, and no separate approval processes for different operating systems. 

It’s not a brand new idea that native apps are losing steam. Brands like Starbucks, Twitter, and Lyft have all been moving to PWAs because they’re faster, they don’t require a download, and it works on all operating systems, making for a far better user experience for users regardless of device. Nike could’ve saved a lot of trouble (and a ton of angry tweets!) by utilizing this new kind of mobile tech, and hopefully they’ll will learn a lesson before the other shoe drops (…you get what I mean).