The new NYC Nike store will have a members-only floor
It was a little over a year ago that Nike opened its experiential flagship store in Soho. Now the shoe brand is planning to replace it with an even bigger concept — one that’s even more experiential and, in some ways, more exclusive.
The planned Nike flagship store is slated to open in early 2019, according to a press release. The fifth floor will be accessible only to NikePlus members and will be home to exclusive products and experiences. Nike will also offer customers one-on-one assessments by Nike Experts on the floor to give personal shopping advice and tips on reaching athletic goals. The store, to be located on Fifth Avenue at West 52nd Street in Manhattan, will also feature Hyperlive on the first floor, a new small-format store concept from Nike.
An internationally popular brand like Nike having a members-only floor at its flagship could make the store a bigger destination for an already dedicated fanbase. And while having a floor that’s off-limits to all but NikePlus members could leave regular shoppers feeling left out, membership is free. So, it could inspire regular store visitors to sign up on mobile in-store to access the fifth floor perks.
The announcement of Nike’s latest experiential move comes against the backdrop of the shoe company taking steps to have more control of its own brand presence. In October, Nike announced that it was ending its relationship with “undifferentiated” channels of distribution and focusing on selling through 40 specific retailers as well as direct-to-consumer.
Nike is not the only retailer that has begun experimenting with members-only retail.
In 2016, aspirational fashion brand and one-time pure-play e-tailer Revolve opened a store called The Social Club, according to Fierce Retail. The Social Club is more overt in its exclusivity as it is open only to top-spending members.
As for Nike’s new non-Soho location, it is not clear whether the relocation is at all related to the community concerns about foot traffic congestion that politicians advanced when the current Nike flagship was first announced in Soho.
- New Flagship Store Planned for New York City – Nike.com
- NikePlus Membership – Nike.com
- Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers – RetailWire
- Revolve opens private Social Club – Fierce Retail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does having an entire floor dedicated to loyalty club members make sense for Nike? Could this kind of exclusivity work for other retailers, or would it be off-putting to non-members?