Matthew Kish over at Portland Business Journal shared a picture of the latest patent out of Nike. I immediately drew a conclusion and he clarified that patents are often used as a measuring stick for research and development from a company and it only means they own that intellectual property. What I drew from this statement is that if a company is busy creating technology or developing new ideas then profits must be solid enough that they can devote the time to the concept. Below is a drawing of the concept:
When I saw this I immediately thought of the Soho store. What Nike has realized is that multichannel is the wave of the future and customer service and shopping experience will have to be a more inclusive and thoughtful process to get customers committed to the brand. What does this mean? The Soho store (Read this article) is a technical wonder. Imagine if an athlete can walk into a store and gain an approximate understanding of how their foot pronates, over pronates, etc and then they can be fitted for the appropriate orthotic or Nike insole for their performance sport. All of the digital technology that Under Armour has acquired in building a customer database becomes less important unless Under Armour can do the same. It doesn’t matter that I can be sold through a fitness app if I can,
1. use Nike+
2. submit my data to a Nike branded tech store
3. visit the store and get a more accurate measurement of gait/speed and
4. then be fitted through a Nike ID experience
The multichannel experience becomes an all inclusive event.
I was warned that a patent is simply a patent, but seeing this opens up a completely different door that seems a natural fit for the Soho shop. Check out this list of Nike patents: http://stks.freshpatents.com/Nike-Inc-nm1.php