In November last year, Nike ended its Amazon pilot partnership after two years. The iconic sportswear brand say the move is designed to lead to “more direct, personal relationships” with their consumers.
Nike said: “As part of Nike’s focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail.
“We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally.
“We will continue to partner with Amazon Web Services to power a suite of services on Nike.com and within Nike’s ecosystem of apps.”
It’s clear that direct-to-consumer sales via avenues like the Nike app and Nike.com are a top priority for the brand, and the company recently said that it’s planning on concentrating its efforts on a smaller number of just 40 retail partners.
And it’s not the first time Nike has taken steps to strengthen their customer experiences. In April 2018, we wrote about the demise of megastore Toys R Us due to online competition and a struggling high street. We highlighted how Nike had stayed ahead of the game by making the effort to offer experiences that consumers simply can’t get online, such as testing out new products in real sports play before buying.
Additionally, the store also serves to strengthen Nike’s digital strategy, something they’re clearly focusing on. Fully connected and integrated with the Nike app, even if customers walk out without making a purchase, their data is stored and accessible, and the path to future purchases is made that much easier.
Having tighter control of the brand journey is something that many companies are looking to achieve, and the likes of Birkenstock and Vibram have also recently removed their products from Amazon.
James Barlow, country manager UK at Akeneo, said: “We’re seeing this shift amongst our own customers; brands no longer want to rely on the infrastructure of the big marketplaces . Instead, they want to be able to provide consistent, streamlined experiences to customers directly, ultimately controlling and protecting their brand identity across all channels.”
So have Nike made the right decision? Experts seem to think so.
Linzi Hunter, Head of Design at Run2 says:
“It’s a smart move for Nike who have already invested heavily in keeping their physical spaces relevant to shoppers. Pulling back from all the undifferentiated, mediocre retail allows them to take more control of their sales by increasing its own direct-to-consumer business, which is a key pillar of its Triple Double strategy.”