- Nike, the maker of athletic apparel whose 2016 Q4 sales rose 5.3% to $8.68 billion, debuted a line of NBA jerseys that can be wirelessly connected to a mobile application. Users can tap a special chip at the bottom of a jersey with a smartphone while running the NikeConnect app to activate updated game highlights, stats and other content, according to its website.
- The NBA content includes team information, videos of star basketball players, game tickets and exclusive offers on Nike apparel. With the chip, fans can also access Spotify playlists curated by their favorite players and videogame content, such as power-up codes for videogame NBA 2K18.
- The NikeConnect app will available for iOS and Android phones on September 29.
Nike is trying to reverse its declining market share compared to other brands like Adidas as the athletic wear industry struggles with softer sales. By integrating its clothing with mobile apps and mobile connectedness, the apparel brand may recapture the technological novelty factor that could drive interest among its already engaged sports audience. The highlights come as GIFs, or short looped videos, which removes friction for users and encourages them to share the content on social media and generate product buzz.
Nike wants to strengthen sales among fans who have expressed their affinity for a team and star players with the purchase of these officially licensed jerseys. The brand also recognizes the central role of mobile phones among consumers, particularly those of younger generations who are accustomed to merging the physical and digital worlds for more seamless and connected experiences. Nike, in this case, is tapping into this and the emotional ties sports fans have to their favorite players.
Footwear chains like Foot Locker and Finish Line have felt particularly vulnerable this year to declining sales. Dick Johnson, Foot Locker’s chairman, CEO and president, said the decline in revenue could be attributed to a lack of exciting product, Footwear News reported, one thing Nike aims to address in its latest mobile effort.
Nike isn't the first to enlist web-enabled wearables into its product marketing mix. Disney World offers special wristbands for guests to gain access to the park and allow for mobile payments, freeing users from needing to carry cash or cards. In the same vein, Carnival cruise lines is set to unveil a similar feature where a wearable device unlocks service and content aboard ships for a more seamless experience.