How Nike is Turning Your Smart Phone Into a Digital Shopping Assistant


Your smartphone = digital shopping assistant is the next evolution of retail.  Be on the lookout for more and more retailers who are turning your phone into a powerful customer service agent.  Some of the retailers that are leading the way in digitizing the bricks and mortar shopping experience are Nike and Alibaba.

Nike is experimenting with various digital technologies in its Nike Live concept stores.  The first one which opened earlier this year in June is called Nike by Melrose.  It is a 4,000 sq. ft. store located in Los Angeles. Nike is using the store as a digital meets physical retail pilot.  One of the key features offered in the store is Nike Scan.  Using Nike’s app a customer can scan a product’s barcode to receive more data on the product including whether or not the product is in stock, in store, at nearby stores or online and what colours are available.  They can also use the app to request to try on a shoe. After making the request using the app, the app shows the customer that the sales associate has received the request and is in the process of retrieving the product. To use this functionality customers must be members of NikePlus, Nike’s loyalty program.

Alibaba offers similar functionality in its Hema supermarkets in China but with more advanced functionality. Customers shopping at Hema can scan a product’s QR code and get product information, cooking instructions and nutritional information.  The app leverages machine learning to make recommendations for complimentary items.  The sales associates do not even have to try to cross sell products since that is done right inside of the app.  

Perhaps soon the days when a customer walks into any retail store and has to wait to get service will be over.  Shifting some elements of the customer experience to self-service will likely lead to more satisfied customers and less frazzled sales associates.

Check in weekly for articles on digital transformation and customer experience innovation to learn what strategies businesses are using to accelerate their sales growth.


Tricia McKinnon