With the announcement of a new sneaker boutique, Nike Unlaced, Nike positions a fresh future for women and opens up access with expanded sizing.
During Investor’s Day Nike spent a lot of time discussing how the brand would connect to women in a genuine and unique way. They established a concept built around athletes, innovation and product. During this call to arms the brand discussed the long time efforts in adjusting to the women’s market and now they are making an effort to show how they’ve helped legendary runners like “Joan Benoit Samuelson (the first woman to claim marathon gold) to record-setting tennis great Serena Williams (owner of 23 major titles)”.
Today Nike announced a concept that I’ve said other brands needed to understand and utilize. In order to provide the service customers (women) are expecting now, and in order to build long lasting relationships, large companies are going to have go small. adidas has played around with the idea, but they haven’t dove in the waters. Nike has also been experimenting with small multichannel experiences via large retailers like Nordstroms and House of Hoops with Foot Locker; but they have never placed an emphasis on women’s sportswear.
“Nike Unlaced is a global digital and retail concept that follows a Nike dot-com evolution in Europe, which provided distinction for women through product styling and local curators. (In North America, the Nike x Nordstrom sneaker boutique retail and digital experience, co-created with Olivia Kim, also served as a precursor.) Local Nike Unlaced product curations by influential creatives and stylists from New York, Paris, London, Shanghai and more are coming soon.”
Nike will be launching small sneaker boutiques that cater to women. It’s a timely idea and introduces more doors for a brand that is moving quickly towards it goal of controlling 80% of the distribution of its products. A few years ago Foot Locker began shuttering their Lady Foot Locker locations and integrating them into their FTA and FTL brick and mortar. That may have been a mistake, but it made sense. The stores were losing money, but that’s because the offerings were bland and there was zero personalization.
The launch of Nike boutiques for women will lead to the eventual launch of Nike boutiques for sneakerheads. As these stores will only be launched in the 12 Key Cities there isn’t a reason for stores to worry about encroachment on retail by the Swoosh, but other brands should definitely pay attention and consider the small store concept.
Use the source link above to read more about how the stores and Nike Unlaced will focus on sustainability, personalization and curation.
Note: adidas had the lead here with Avenue A. They could still expand Avenue A beyond subscription to a boutique experience: