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The UK/US Digital launch of Unlaced is not quite what I was expecting. I get it, but I’m not as excited now that a clearer explanation of what Unlaced is actually going to be.
Nike Unlaced shop-in-shops within existing Nike stores will open in cities around the world beginning this summer, featuring local product curations by influential creatives and stylists.
By this explanation Nike Unlaced is not going to be a standalone boutique as it was somewhat presented a few weeks ago:
The way I interpreted the original information was that Nike was going to utilize a small store format which I thought was a genius move. However, it appears that Nike didn’t exactly explain that what they were doing was compartmentalizing their larger store locations. Which interestingly enough is exactly what I explained that large store formats like Finish Line needed to do and they have been doing in some ways. Nike Unlaced is basically the same as a Nike store inside of a JC Penny and like a Finish Line inside of Macys. It’s the same concept… and I get it. Why create more leasing and overhead to launch an unproven concept in a sneaker shop dedicated to women when you can redesign your own locations with a compartmentalized space inside of an existing shop in the Key Cities? (That was a long question.)
In all honesty the digital site is a subsite of Nike.com. In other words this great digital launch happened without any content development, no personalized information or details about the concept, no nothing. It’s basically a splash page with marketing shots and shoes that we’ve seen before just in different colors. It’s possibly the laziest launch of a sneaker boutique concept I’ve seen and I’m a bit upset that I got excited about it.
Let me put it like this, the sportswear company that is smart enough to open a real boutique for women with it’s own website, not a subsite, with a narrative and with content geared towards and written by women is the brand that will capture that share of the market. Nike Unlaced ain’t it. Maybe I just misunderstood what was presented. Maybe I was just excited by the fact that the large sneaker companies realize that in order to connect they have to act like smaller entities. I guess I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.