- Foot Locker hosted a mobile scavenger hunt that let fans get early access to Nike's LeBron 16 King "Court Purple" sneakers that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James debuted on Saturday. The shoe retailer updated its iOS mobile app with augmented reality (AR) features that guided users to geotargeted locations throughout Los Angeles to complete "The Hunt," leading them to the limited-edition kicks, per a company press release.
- Frank Bracken, VP and GM of Foot Locker, said the AR scavenger hunt was a new way to elevate the shopping experience for customers. Design agency Firstborn created "The Hunt" for the shoe retailer.
- Foot Locker also introduced a "House of Hoops" mobile pop-up shop that will tour the country during major basketball events. The shop gives fans access to exclusive footwear, a unique "makers" experience and products from the Nike, Jordan and Converse brands, according to the press release.
Foot Locker's AR scavenger hunt and mobile pop-up shops are part of the retailer's strategy to engage mobile customers, especially younger shoppers who are more comfortable using their smartphones to discover products and make purchases. AR sneaker drops have proven to be particularly popular with consumers, with Nike's Air Jordan III "Tinker" shoe selling out in 23 minutes via a Snapchat AR lens, quickly followed by similar efforts from Adidas.
This shoe scavenger hunt again demonstrates how brands can leverage the power of mobile technology to create experiences for a retailer's hardcore fans. Foot Locker's promotion is novel for combining a sneaker drop with a major basketball event — the start of the regular season — to engage a loyal audience of sports fans that are more likely to buy the shoes.
Unilever, Universal Pictures and Verizon ran similar treasure hunts to promote their products in recent years. For Nike, the Foot Locker scavenger hunt is a way to boost one of its key distributors and attempt another AR-powered effort to drive hype and sales around a line of limited-edition sneakers. Nike represents about 70% of Foot Locker's purchases of merchandise, according to a Jefferies analysts cited by Business Insider. The company in August started selling exclusive Nike sneakers like the Air Max Plus, Air Max 97 and Air Max 95 as part of its "Discover Your Air" campaign to appeal to fashion- and tech-savvy consumers.
The mobile-first strategy comes as Foot Locker, like other retailers, has scaled back its presence in shopping malls amid a shift toward online shopping. The company planned to close about 110 stores this year while opening 40 in new locations, per Mobile Marketer's sister publication Retail Dive. The company operated 3,276 stores in 24 countries as of the end of Q2 2018, when comparable-store sales rose 0.5% from a year earlier, per a company announcement.