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What’s New in Nike’s Latest China Concept Store

As the world doubles down on its digital dependence, Nike is unveiling a new shopping experience that blends the virtual with the physical.

On Thursday, the company launched Nike Rise, a concept store based in the Chinese city of Guangzhou designed to inspire the brand’s enthusiasts to move. The personalized “shopping journey” aims to connect consumers to events related to their sport of choice and others in the community who share their interests.

Nike Rise builds off the company’s other inventive retail pilots, like the Nike flagship House of Innovation, which gave shoppers a behind-the-scenes look at the athletic wear giant’s most advanced tech, and Nike Live, a members-only, locally curated browsing and buying experience.

“Building on our history of serving our Greater China Members through new and innovative store concepts, we’re thrilled to unveil this first Nike Rise door in Guangzhou, a city that truly loves and obsesses sport,” Cathy Sparks, vice president and general manager of Global Nike Direct Stores and Service, said in a statement. “Whether Members are connecting through the Nike app or joining in-store, they’re invited to experience a digitally-enabled journey at this Nike Rise door that links them to the energy and activity of the city, and unites communities across Guangzhou through the power of sport.”

The Nike Rise store opened in Guangzhou, China on Thursday.

Powered by data gleaned from Nike members, along with the context created by local sporting events, Nike Rise creates a responsive in-store experience using the Nike app and ever-evolving store features and aesthetics.

A new app feature called Nike Experiences transforms Guangzhou into a digitally enabled landscape. The platform connects members to weekly athletic activations designed to keep them in motion, and provides access to in-store events and classes hosted by Nike athletes and influencers.

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Allowing consumers to customize their perfect garment, the Guangzhou store will feature a Nike By You personalization bar. Shoppers can adorn their purchases with design elements of their choice, ranging from jerseys representing local sports teams to T-shirts and totes.

Nike Fit foot-scanning technology will also be employed in the store, helping shoppers find optimal products in their size. That data will be stored in the Nike app so that shoppers can use it when shopping both in-store and online.

The city’s athletic community centers on activities like basketball and football, and is home to professional teams for both sports. Running is also a popular pastime in Guangzhou, Nike said, and the city’s community of runners has logged a staggering 3.2 million kilometers in the Nike Running Club app over the past year alone.

Nike Fit foot scanning technology will be available at the Nike Rise store.
Nike Fit foot scanning technology will be available at the Nike Rise store. Nike

Using the Nike app, Guangzhou members can sign up for local events like basketball and football matches happening at the Tianhe Sport Center, 10 minutes away from the Guangzhou store, and access rewards tied to their favorite sports.

While Guangzhou is the first city to receive the Nike Rise treatment, the company said it won’t be the last, with plans to expand the fleet of experiential storefronts in 2021.

Nike hasn’t been shy about the importance of its digital investments in powering the Greater China market throughout the coronavirus crisis.

“The strong engagement of Chinese consumers with our activity apps translated into strong engagement with our Nike commerce app,” CEO John Donahoe said in a conference call earlier this year. “As a result, our digital business in China grew more than 30 percent and maintained strong momentum throughout this challenging period, a powerful statement of Nike’s agile problem-solving in times of disruption.”

In discussing fourth-quarter results, Nike indicated plans to open up to 200 smaller format “mono-brand stores” across North America and EMEA designed to “integrate online-to-offline capabilities,” as part of its Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy doubling down on owned versus partner channels.

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.