New NYC Nike store will have a members-only floor – RetailWire
December 11, 2017
Just over a year ago, Nike opened its experiential flagship store in Soho. Now, the shoe brand plans to replace it with an even bigger concept, one that’s even more experiential and, in some ways, more exclusive.
Nike’s flagship store is expected to open in early 2019, according to a press release. The fifth floor will be accessible only to NikePlus members and will house exclusive products and experiences. Nike will also offer customers one-on-one assessments by Nike experts in the field to provide personal buying advice and tips for achieving their athletic goals. The store, which will be located on Fifth Avenue at West 52nd Street in Manhattan, will also feature Hyperlive on the first floor, a new small-format store concept from Nike.
An internationally renowned brand like Nike having a members-only floor in its flagship store could make the store a bigger destination for an already dedicated fan base. And while having a floor that’s off-limits to all but NikePlus members, regular shoppers might feel left out, membership is free. Thus, it could inspire regular store visitors to register on mobile in-store to access fifth floor benefits.
The announcement of Nike’s latest experiential move comes amid the footwear company taking steps to better control its own brand presence. In October, Nike announced it was ending its relationship with “undifferentiated” distribution channels and focusing on selling through 40 specific retailers as well as direct-to-consumer sales.
Nike isn’t the only retailer to start experimenting with members-only retail.
In 2016, ambitious fashion brand and former pure-play e-tailer Revolve opened a store called The Social Club, according to Fierce retail. The Social Club is more open in its exclusivity as it is only open to the highest spending members.
As for Nike’s new location outside of Soho, it’s unclear if the move is related to community concerns about foot traffic congestion that politicians raised when Nike’s current flagship was announced for first time in Soho.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does having an entire floor dedicated to loyalty club members make sense for Nike? Could this kind of exclusivity work for other retailers or would it be off-putting to non-members?
“Nike is exploiting the next big thing here.”
“Creating loyalty is fine, as long as it’s done without diminishing service to non-club members.”
“If I was selling Mercedes-Benz sneakers, I might wish I had an exclusive members-only floor. But it’s Nike…”