The subscription service offers three tiers of pricing and frequency. For $20 per month, customers receive a pair of shoes every three months, or 4 per year. For $10 more, Nike will send a pair of kicks every 60 days. And the highest tier costs $50 per month and ships subscribers a brand-new pair each month. The prices may not average out to tremendous out-of-pocket savings, per se, but the subscription’s selling point is the convenience parents might appreciate of receiving new shoes for lengthening feet—straight to their doorsteps, no taxing trips to the store required.
“The experience of shoe-shopping for young kids is deceptively complex. At first glance, it’s all about the child—but as many parents know, it can be just as much an experience for them,” Nike explained in a statement. “The reasons why are universal: Kids’ feet are continually growing, and many kids can’t articulate what they want, even after shoebox after shoebox comes out of the backroom.”
Nike Adventure Club will look to change the calculus for parents of children who wear shoe sizes 4C to 7Y, essentially children ages 2 to 10. Any parent of a young child knows that the shoes that fit their children’s feet at one moment can be outgrown just as quickly. To capitalize on this reality, Nike will also be offering plans that reward their most loyal and frequent shoppers.
At the outset, Nike said that the Adventure Club will offer more than 100 different styles for children to pick from, as well.
“In providing footwear, we’re always trying to answer, ‘What do kids want?’” Dominique Shortell, director of product experience and retention for Nike Adventure Club. “But an equally important question is, ‘What kind of experience are we providing for their parents?’ We want to make shopping for footwear as convenient as possible for them.”
There are a few solid indications that doing so is likely to create new opportunities for the brand. According to Clarus Commerce’s 2019 study “Achieving Success with Paid Loyalty,” 31 percent of all consumers have yet to join a loyalty program and about 70 percent of those consumers would be willing to join one if it was offered by a preferred brand and represented a solid value.
The research also found that around 30 percent of consumers are looking for a subscription program that offers personalized benefits, something Nike has addressed with the addition of KaBoom materials to the packaging of its Adventure Club deliveries. KaBoom, a play-oriented charity and Nike’s partner in the venture, will add its own “adventure guides” and materials designed to encourage outdoor play along with each order.
Along the way, Nike will be collecting data on these purchases and returns, enabling it to further personalize and enrich the user experience. According to Ya-Bing Chu, VP of product at Silicon Valley software firm, Formation, that data will be key to understand these consumers into the future.
“Not only are consumers looking for different shopping experiences but retailers are needing more from their sales channels as well—whether it’s reducing acquisition costs, increasing the richness of customer data or what have you,” Chu told Sourcing Journal. “Each time a customer returns (or retains) an item, they are voluntarily revealing a wealth of information about their customer preferences: what styles they like, what function, what fit and so on.”
There will be a sustainable component to the Adventure Club as well, an aspect sorely missing from the mostly ephemeral reality of children’s sneakers. Instead of getting rid of the shoe, as would have been the case in the past, parents can now simply send a worn-out pair of subscription sneakers back to Nike and the brand will either donate the item or recycle its materials.
“We see Nike Adventure Club sits as having a unique place within Nike, and not just for it being the first sneaker club for kids,” Dave Cobban, VP of Nike Adventure Club, said. “It provides a wide range of options for kids, while at the same time, it removes a friction point for parents who are shopping on their behalf.”
For Nike, Adventure Club is just the next step for its digital ecosystem. Already, the brand funnels millions of dollars into marketing and distributing products that release primarily through its SNKRS app. In-store, Nike’s digital-first retail experience is run through its smartphone app and membership program. Simply put, Nike gives consumers a loyalty experience that is truly interactive and nearly intractable from the brand experience.
Darin Archer, the chief strategy officer for e-commerce software firm Elastic Path, told Sourcing Journal that he believes the program has the capability to unlock a whole new generation of loyalty for the brand.
“There’s a huge opportunity if Nike is able to create a truly unified picture of its customers across their subscription service, SNKR app and other services like NikePlus, the company’s membership program,” Archer explained. “Today, the company blends mobile apps and in-store retail through raffles, payments and making in-store shopping an engaging experience rather than a hassle…if the Adventure Club is integrated with other services like NikePlus, Nike could keep parents coming back to the brand and encourage the same repeat engagements fostered by the SNKR app.”