Nike is one of the world’s most renowned and successful sportswear companies. Nike shoes and apparel are considered at the forefront of high-quality, fashionable workout gear. It is hard to believe that just fifty years ago, Nike was a small company selling shoes out of the trunk of founder Phil Knight’s car.
The company has achieved this success through cutting-edge technology, innovative design, and shrewd marketing. In this blog post, we will look at how Nike’s technological advances have impacted its retail presence and the creation of digital products. We will also consider how other companies can learn from Nike’s successes to improve their own digital strategies.
Nike Technology Innovation In sports and fashion
Originally known as an athletic shoe and apparel brand, Nike adopted a strategy that rebranded the business as a technology company.
The new strategy baffled the retail industry but propelled Nike into a broader scope of operation in data, engineering, and system support.
Albeit a head-scratcher, Nike’s business model shift into Nike technology is still within reason. Innovation remains as Nike expands representation with sporting Hijabs and tests virtual waters with the Metaverse.
The company has been incredibly forward-thinking before we even breech its many innovative software solutions.
So much so that in 2019 Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours unofficially.
Although the legendary Kenyan’s efforts and skill can’t be ignored, many accredited his Herculean achievement to the Nike Alphaflys Nike running shoes he wore.
The Nike gear he used mainstreamed the term “technological doping,” as explained by Sciencefocus.
Nike Created another notable technological innovation in the Nike Fit. Techcrunch covers Nike’s foot-scanning solution that seems like overkill in finding your best shoe fit.
Nike Fit uses a proprietary amalgamation of computer vision, machine learning, data science, and AI and brings it home with a tailored recommendation algorithm for your best fit.
You can go in-store to use this feature, or you can use Nike’s app. Their app utilizes this technology with the help of augmented reality to measure your foot–a revolutionary software feature in its own right.
Nike Fit has the potential to change the retail space from people finding the right bra size to finally making sense of denim sizes.
As covered by D^3 Harvard, Nike officially introduced technological wizardry as part of their footwear expertise in 2006.
That year, they expanded their shoe’s ecosystem and relationship with their customer’s adventure with a small chip that could be inserted into your shoe’s sole.
In partnership with Apple, this digital gadget could track your speed and distance traveled.
How Does Nike Use Technology?
Even though the company has begun diversifying its interests, it still invests much of its technological research into its footwear and active apparel.
Their dedication to helping to push the athletic boundary can be seen in their use of artificial intelligence to help athletes find their Cinderella fit.
According to the AI-focused publishing and research company, Emerj, the Swoosh company uses data mining in various areas.
They use it to increase product demand, grow revenue and market share, and to further individualize customer experience in their physical and online stores and apps.
Unlike the persistent cookies your frequented sites push on you, Nike collects from its vast supply chain, online stores, app ecosystem, and plentiful enterprise data.
Nike has also managed to embed itself into every generation’s culture through the intelligent use of highly effective media campaigns that influence what people wear both on and off the sports field.
The “Just Do It” enterprise has seen the potential of social media platforms and the subsequent influencers it has bred and used that insight to spread and expand its gospel.
What Is Nike Air Technology?
Nike clarifies that its patented Nike Air technology is, at its kindergarten core, a flexible sole bag pumped with pressurized air.
Nike Air provides better spring and flexibility without infringing on structural integrity. Shoes with this technology stand on an Air-Sole unit and keep their given form with some elasticity.
The Air-Sole units then reduce weight and impact while keeping your shoe fitting with a Goldilocks Principle–just right.
Nike ZoomX builds on the foundation of Nike’s foam research into their shoes to come up with a sole solution.
Their solution produces the sensation of walking on clouds, teaches your feet thermodynamics with seemingly unparalleled energy conservation, and returns to your next step.
Nike claims that the lightweight, suppler, and more reactive foam technology was repurposed from aerospace advancement, first used in Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly Elite and Zoom Vaporfly 4%.
And who are we to dispute the Enterprise? Let’s take it, run long and prosper.
It’s not a coincidence that Nike has gone past being solely one of the world’s most recognizable brands; it has permeated the zeitgeist through sleek clothing and techwear.
Nike’s dabble and complete immersion into techwear fashion was most probably solidified with the 2012 introduction of the Nike Fuelband.
The wrist accessory worked with a Nike app on the Apple IOS to help create a rounded fitness metric for you.
Even though you’d classify the Fuelband as more of a wearable tech endeavor, it would be splitting hairs to separate that from the discrete tech you see in Nike’s Alphafly NEXT% 2 and the cooling and moisture-fighting Hijab.
Dry Fit Technology
You might see a reference to this technology as Dri-FIT on your performance apparel. The FIT portion of the descriptor expands to Functional Innovative Technologies.
As explained by Nike, the FIT apparel new line was launched in 1991 to improve athletes’ performance specifically, and it has branched to Dri-FIT, Therma-FIT, Storm-FIT, and FIT ADV.
As your quick noggin’ has already surmised, Dri-FIT polyester microfiber tech is designed to wick away that pesky sweat and keep you dry and cool during physical exertion.
At its best, the system works not only to dispel the sweat from your brows, but its microfiber DNA takes up the mission to draw the moisture onto itself and help to evaporate it quicker.
Fit ADV Technology
As mentioned above, FIT ADV is Nike’s most current and most developed advancement in its FIT apparel line.
FIT ADV takes Nike’s knowledge harvested from decades of cultivation and research into peak-performance wear.
As the VP of Nike’s Apparel Innovation puts it, clothes with the FIT ADV hangtag model are Nike’s best performance and athletic wear.
As if it’s Nike’s very own performance vehicle, FIT ADV uses higher-quality materials and fruits from extensive testing of the FIT system and cherry’s the cake with athlete insight and sport science research.
Of course, Nike made use of its unique perspective of its athletes from its use of digital innovation, like body mapping engineering, to arrive at such a complete and exciting milestone.
With nothing more to say, FIT ADV will keep you drier and cooler, much better than Dri-FIT, as demonstrated through its incorporation in Nike’s Alpha Ultrabreathe with Dri-FIT ADV.
As dutifully reviewed by Complex, Nike’s Lunarlon technology is the company’s take on how astronauts bounce on the moon.
The technology attempts to bring that sentimentality to Earth to circumvent the rude gravity keeping you down.
More straightforwardly, Lunarlon cushioning is said to be 30% lighter than conventional Phylon foam.
The invention is soft and responsive while providing a larger area to disperse the impact and protect areas where your feet are most susceptible to damage and fatigue.
Nike Dual Fusion Technology
In 2013, Nike released their Dual Fusion IV trainers, which further improved on the previous version that was praised for being one of the best performance sneaker deals.
Complex explains the Phylon layering mechanism of the technology that allows shoes designed with it to help your performance versatility.
As it went, Dual Fusion strategically marries two Phylon layers in such a ceremony that it achieves the ultimate impact and shock absorption.
How Does Nike Use Informational Technology?
With Nike having its sanitized fingers in so many pies, it’s only natural for consumers to become amateur sleuths and inquire about how the brand uses its firm footing in informational technology.
However, Forbes already beat us to the trigger and wrote on how Nike uses data analytics in customizing the customer experience.
Before those ears perk up, it’s somewhat different from the usual data-grubbing software companies. Nike uses its apps to connect, skip intermediaries and do business directly with the consumer.
They use reward programs in some of their apps to reward customer interaction. Their clever use of IT is further distinguished by giving you access to experts in the sport of your interest.
Nike not only provides users with a rounded and tailored experience, but they also offer personalized workouts and allow you first dibs on its exclusive events.
These direct-to-consumer benefits are made possible through Nike’s expert data analyst behind the scenes.
Simply put, Nike uses Information Technology to research and connect directly with its customers to improve and innovate its products and make a more significant profit.
Nike Digital Transformation Strategy
The basis of Nike’s digital transformation strategy is their consumer direct offensive play.
Everything that the company has been working on has been to improve customer experience, out-pace competition, and make a prettier penny.
Nikeland is Nike’s Metaverse micro-store built through the popular online platform Roblox. The Drum reports that Nike claims to have received over seven million worldwide visitors to their virtual store.
This space allows Nike’s customers to meet and socialize through Roblox and participate in promotions and events without location restrictions.
For Nike, the platform is an IV drip straight into the hearts of existing and potential customers.
Nike’s use of computer vision can be seen and explained through its Nike Fit technology. Computer vision roughly correlates to the eyes of a computer, the camera, and the sensors.
With Nike Fit, computer vision allows you to scan your feet and collect visual points using only your smartphone camera.
Computer vision will probably give Skynet the edge before we invent time travel.
Machine learning is constantly taking place through the ecosystem of Nike’s apps. The capabilities and scope of Nike’s apps improve with the experience and data collected.
Nike acquired four data science and analytic firms in 2018 to give it the tools to predict customer behavior and better prepare its inventories.
Artificial intelligence is part of the technological soup that makes sense of the massive amounts of data Nike collects through computer vision for things like Nike Fit.
The recommender models learn along with the AI to help you recommend the best products and sizes, as the name suggests.
Nike Fit relies heavily on Augmented Reality(AR) to consolidate the physical realm that the customer is in and the digital metrics that the app overlaps into reality. AR technology has many other uses for Nike.
Nike has fully proven itself capable of transcending its footwear and performance-wear image with all the new technology it has pioneered in its products and invested in outside its original field.
The apparel giant’s feats in technological innovation that have been so staggering and ahead of the groggy lot are more neatly explained in Wall Street Journal‘s Youtube visual.
Big brother Nike said, “There Is No Finish Line.”
As this seems not to phase your unquenchable curiosity, you might find RetailWire‘s cover of Nike’s bold innovation center construction an exciting scan through.
With Nike opening virtual stores in the Metaverse and playing the dicey NFT game, you might want to cool your head and read my grounding article on What Companies Build 3D Homes. Yes, Steve, the puns were all intentional.