Nike Unveils a New Kind of Store in China — Take a Look Inside

A new Nike store has debuted in China — and shoppers have never seen anything like it before.

The athletic giant tomorrow unveils to the public its latest retail concept: Nike Rise. The outpost, situated at Grandview Mall in the sprawling port city of Guangzhou, spans about 22,000 square feet, over three floors and serves as a data-powered hub for all things sports.

Inside, customers will find the brand’s collection of men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel and footwear in a digitally enabled environment. Nike members get a bonus: Through the brand’s app, they can sign up for activities tailored specifically for locals — think soccer matches, running clubs and more — through the newly launched Experiences feature. (These events might be held in the store or at the nearby Tianhe Stadium and other neighboring sports centers.)

Nike Rise
The “Sport Hub” at Nike Rise.

In addition, members can mingle with local athletes and celebrities, who will be invited for quarterly workshop sessions, as well as unlock product rewards with certain activity achievements. They can also approach a personalization station where they’re able to adorn items with design elements inspired by the city’s sport culture, from jerseys that already represent teams like Guangzhou’s Evergrande Taobao Football Club, to shirts and accessories.

“The goal of the store is to bring the pulse or energy of sport in that city to our members and connect members of the city together,” said Cathy Sparks, VP and GM of Global Nike Direct Stores and Services. “Our relationship with Chinese consumers is so strong. They adopt quickly, and they teach us as we go.”

China has served as a testing ground for Nike, which uses its learnings from its connections with the country’s consumers as somewhat of playbook for its global business. (The brand recently recorded its sixth consecutive year of double-digit currency-neutral growth despite COVID-19 headwinds in the second half of fiscal 2020.)

Nike Rise joins the company’s fleet of retail concepts — including Nike Live and the House of Innovation — that have recently launched around the world. Less than two weeks ago, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company announced that it intends to open up to 200 new smaller-format, digitally enabled stores, as well as ramp up investments in e-commerce and technology.

Nike Rise
Inside Nike Rise, where customers can find a lounge to try on footwear.

At the new Guangzhou outpost, customers are able see real-time inventory in the store and request to try items with a simple barcode scan through the app. Plus, the Nike Rise store is the first location in the country where the brand’s Fit in-store experience has been introduced: The innovation in footwear sizing, which launched last year in the United States, uses a proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence to recommend the right shoe sizes for shoppers.

What’s more, as it aims to boost its efforts in sustainability, Nike incorporated nearly 45,000 pounds of recycled materials through wall finishes, seating and various display props. Among them, around 10% are Nike Grind materials — created from recycled Nike shoes and surplus manufacturing scraps — that have been transformed into rubber flooring and table risers.

“We’ve been rethinking our concept portfolio and assessing all of the retail footprint that we had out there,” added Sparks. “We’re excited to continue the digital acceleration of our store fleet, which we know enables the digital growth at Nike.”

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