Mashable reported yesterday (Feb. 17) on "SNKRS," Nike's new mobile app directed at sneaker fanatics. "The app puts Nike's vast selection of shoes in the palm of your hand, mixing obsessive sneaker curation with ecommerce," wrote Mashable's Adario Strange.
"Once launched, the app allows users to follow the leading models in Nike's basketball shoe line, delivering notifications on product releases, special promotions and, later, full on magazine-style content."
With the app, Nike creates a community of sneakerheads, leverages new product advocates and benefits from social sharing.
This is a sensible play from Nike, a brand known for savvy marketing and its ability to hype up re-releases of old sneaker models. The SNKRS app allows Nike to create a community of "sneakerheads," leverage new product advocates, and benefit from social sharing. And because the app is proprietary, Nike can mine all kinds of great user data to time future product releases, stock authorized retailers in particular geographic areas, etc.
For app users, the biggest benefit is access. Sneakerheads can stay on top of upcoming releases, see new sneaker designs, and even buy items directly within the app.
There will be drawbacks, of course. Strange points to a possible price disparity: "But is that mobile access, single-brand-centric dynamic enough to get budget-conscious sneakerheads to abandon cheaper options like Amazon? Despite largely positive reviews on Apple's app store, it's still probably too early to tell."
Another possible drawback could be related to the app's key benefit: access. One of the things that separated veteran sneakerheads from newcomers was knowledge of blogs, Twitter feeds and websites that announce when the hottest kicks will drop and where. An app like SNKRS commodotizes that knowledge.
This is new marketing: Nike becomes a part of the conversation, the activity, the lifestyle of the millennial consumer.
Either way, Nike wins. This app indicates the company is adapting to the new definition of marketing. Old marketing tactics found ways to interrupt what a consumer was doing to gain attention. New marketing becomes a part of the conversation, the activity, the lifestyle of the consumer.
By creating communities for niche groups, brands and retailers can be seen as more than just a vehicle to sell things. SNKRS brings together content marketing and social selling –- two of the most used buzzwords in marketing but for a reason –- these tactics work. Today’s consumer, especially Nike’s target audience of millennials, don’t respond to traditional approaches anymore. They want a connection to a brand. They want a relationship and they want to be able to clearly identify how that relationship fits into their lifestyle image. The goal of Nike’s app will be to strengthen that connection, which ultimately leads to increased sales conversions.