Nike is continuing its efforts to define the marketplace of the future, and its next landing spot is Boston.
The athletic giant has revealed several store formats in recent years that it believes will improve how it serves consumers. In 2018, for instance, the company debuted Nike Live, a concept built as a hub for locals. It launched the format with Nike by Melrose in Los Angeles in July 2018, a door featuring “pop-up vibes” that operates as a digital-meets-physical retail experience.
More recently, the company created Nike Unite, which was unveiled in November 2020 to help locals connect more closely with sport and both serve and celebrate the people in the community with a design reflecting its “heart and spirit.” Inside, consumers could expect “locally curated, everyday essentials at the best price.”
It’s these two formats that Nike will use for its new Boston-area doors: Nike by Chestnut Hill and Nike Unite Watertown.
The two storefronts are part of the company’s plans to expand its retail footprint throughout North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa. During the company’s fiscal Q4 earnings call in June 2020, Nike Inc. president and CEO John Donahoe revealed plans for 150 to 200 monobrand stores, which would be small-format and digitally enabled, and which would “accelerate the growth trajectory of Nike’s largest market share opportunity, like women’s and apparel, driving long-term profitability.”
Nike already has a strong footprint in Boston, with three existing monobrand stores throughout the metro area. This move will further strengthen its position in the city, according to Shannon Glass, VP of Nike Direct North America.
“We know our Boston consumers are highly engaged with Nike across our digital and physical retail channels, and they have a passion for sport and style,” said Glass. “Chestnut Hill and Watertown were of particular interest because of their vibrant communities, representing a prime opportunity for us to serve the west Boston consumer with key products and services.”
Tomorrow, the brand will open the doors to Nike Unite Watertown, a 15,998-square-foot space located at 20 Eldridge Ave. in Watertown, Mass. The company has dubbed the Nike Unite concept its “most valuable destination for sport and product inspiration in the communities we serve.”
“Nike Unite is a newer concept, which launched in 2020 as a reimagination of our factory store fleet. This store concept exists to serve and celebrate the local communities, and each store is designed to be a reflection of their heart and spirit,” Glass said. “As we scale this concept, we continue to listen to our consumers and evaluate which store offerings and experiences resonate most deeply with them — from digital and self-service shopping options to performance and lifestyle product assortments at the best prices.”
On Thursday, the company opened Nike by Chestnut Hill, which is located at 33 Boylston St., Suite 4380, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“Since the Nike Live concept initially launched in 2018, we’ve continued to test and learn new services, experiences and member offerings as we evolve the concept to meet the needs of our Nike members and consumers in each local neighborhood,” said Glass. “Some examples of Nike Live features that we continually develop and evolve are the in-store look, feel and layout; the product assortment; and the mix of digital services that allow consumers to shop at their own pace.”
The neighborhood-inspired small-format store spans 5,300 square feet of retail space, and is designed with women in mind.
Inside Nike by Chestnut Hill, consumers will find a curated assortment of footwear and apparel that are popular with local women, and one-on-one bra fittings and styling sessions will also be made available to them. Also, the store will offer its buy online, pickup in store service that allows people to get their Nike.com and Nike App orders faster (as well as curbside pickup), the Nike Unlock Box digital vending machine (that will be stocked with enamel pins with the store logo for opening weekend) and Swoosh Text, which allows shoppers to connect with a Nike by Chestnut Hill store teammate via SMS messaging to check available inventory, ask for product recommendations and more.
“The accelerated expansion of our brick-and-mortar retail footprint is one critical piece shaping Nike’s marketplace of the future. Creating more personal and localized consumer touchpoints — both physical and digital — enables Nike to know and serve our consumers better than ever before,” Glass said. “Our stores are a tangible expression of the Nike brand and ethos, and they are an essential part of bringing sport inspiration to our communities through products, services and experiences that empower Nike consumers to make sport a daily habit.”