Combining physical and digital experiences is a tricky endeavor. We’ve seen a lot of Web3 startups and NFT projects attempt similar things in the past with limited success. However, if you want to look at an example of meshing the physical and digital into exciting experiences, look no further than Nike ’s new flagship store in Seoul…
Just Do It
When faced with the possibility of developing a strategy for the Metaverse, Nike took its own slogan to heart and just went for it. This all started in December 2021, when Nike acquired RTFKT for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Nike’s Chief Executive Officer, John Donahoe, stated that:
This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture.
We can see that Nike’s moves in the Web3 space have been paying off, literally. In terms of traditional companies involved in NFTs, Nike is totally posterizing the competition.
RTFKT is only one example of how Nike is continuing to expand its digital offerings and create more immersive experiences around their brand. This is where their new flagship store in Seoul comes in—Nike Style .
Part Digital, Part Physical, All Style
The Nike Style store opened last month in Hongdae, a neighborhood on the western end of Seoul famous for their urban artists, indie music culture, and street fashion. In an area known for their strong roots to local fashion and art, Nike decided to approach the store in a different way when compared with their traditional brick-and-mortar locations. Even the building’s facade is adorned with hand-drawn swooshes created by Nike club members from the local community.
Meanwhile on the inside, the store blends physical and digital experiences together for shoppers by having QR codes scattered throughout the interior that provide special AR experiences for anyone who wants to try them out. In addition, the store features an awesome content studio where local artists and shoppers can create content for their social media platforms against a customizable backdrop.
The store also features a SNKRS Lounge purpose-built for community events that celebrate art, design, local sneaker culture, and Nike innovation. Nike isn’t pumping the brakes on this type of experience anytime soon with another Nike Style location opening in Shanghai in the fall as well as other countries slated for future storefronts.
Shopping and Immersion
When the internet began to emerge as a compelling technology with real utility, people were shocked by the idea that they could buy books, clothing, and other goods online.
“Why would I do that when I can just drive down to the store?”
Yet, Statista reports that 2.14 billion people now buy goods online. The same thing people were saying about online shopping is now being said about the Metaverse.
“Why would I shop in VR and visit a store? I can just find what I want on Amazon, and with a few clicks, my item is on its way.”
I somehow think this perspective won’t age well…
In truth, brands that can deliver immersive and worthwhile experiences will be the ones that truly stand out and survive well into the future. Just as Nike is delivering AR-driven experiences in the physical world that produce something more than just a shopping experience, I’m entirely confident that they will deliver something equally as innovative and exciting in the Metaverse.