Will linked loyalty programs turn Dick’s and Nike into an unbeatable force?

Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Nov 04, 2021

Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike announced yesterday that the two companies are looking to deepen their relationship with a “first-of-its-kind collaboration” that will offer customers of both companies a connection to exclusive offers and loyalty benefits via Dick’s mobile app.

The idea behind the move is to make the shopping experience simpler, giving Dick’s customers access to exclusive apparel and shoes through the retailer’s app instead of having to go through Nike. Dick’s customers will be prompted to use their app to connect their Dick’s ScoreCard and Nike membership accounts “for exclusive member-only product, experiences and offers.” The companies pointed to Nike-member exclusives such as today’s Nike Air Force 1 and Blazer launch as one example. Updates will be added on a regular basis.

The two will also host in-store events at Dick’s locations including two planned this month and next at Dick’s House of Sport locations in Rochester, NY, and Knoxville, TN.

The trading partners have said they will add new features to the program going forward to possibly include allowing Nike-direct customers to pick up or return online orders at their local Dick’s stores.

Will linked loyalty programs turn Dick’s and Nike into an unbeatable force?
Source: Dick’s Sporting Goods promotional banner

Nike, which has reduced its roster of retailer trading partners in recent years — ending relationships with Belk, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Dillard’s, DSW and Zappos — is not looking to abandon traditional wholesale relationships altogether, as evidenced by this announcement.

“Nike Membership is how we serve our consumer personally — it fuels deeper engagement and greater access to the very best of Nike,” said Sarah Mensah, vice president and general manager, North America, Nike, in a statement. “We’re helping consumers connect with sport and our products whenever, however and wherever they shop Nike. Our partnership with Dick’s is just another example of how we are reimagining how people connect with Nike across an increasingly digital and connected marketplace.”

Lauren Hobart, president and CEO of Dicks’s Sporting Goods, said, “Dick’s and Nike have a long and successful history of working together, and this partnership represents a significant strengthening of our relationship. We are both focused on delivering best-in-class experiences and products and creating the best omnichannel experience for our athletes.”

Sales of Nike merchandise represented 19 percent of Dick’s total last year, making Nike the retailer’s largest vendor, reports CNBC.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Dick’s and Nike’s connected partnership mean for each company and their customers? Do you expect other significant retailer and brand partnerships to follow a similar pattern going forward?

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"Exclusive experiences are the bread-and-butter of any collab, so this is a powerhouse combination."

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10 Comments on "Will linked loyalty programs turn Dick’s and Nike into an unbeatable force?"

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Neil Saunders

Nike has effectively anointed Dick’s as its partner of choice in retail. Given that it has withdrawn from many other players, this provides Dick’s with a major competitive advantage. However this is also good for Nike as while its direct to consumer business is successful and growing, it still needs some third-party touchpoints to push product and showcase the brand. In many ways, this win is deserved by Dick’s as it has invested in its stores, its digital experience and its customer service. Other retailers have not and Nike no longer trusts them to elevate its brand.

Melissa Minkow

This is exactly how brands can avoid losing out on data being collected through retailers. I’ve been waiting for a loyalty program collaboration like this – it’s brilliant for both parties. Nike’s loyalty program has a massive user base, so Dick’s gains access to a piece of that cohort, and Nike is still able to capture sales and information when their shoppers go through Dick’s. This is the future of retailer-brand relationships and loyalty programs.

Bob Amster

As long as the relationship does not exclude the possibility of developing similar relationships with other manufacturers, this deal seems like a good idea and will benefit both companies and make it easier for the customer to shop Nike. Consumers may prefer a brand other than Nike and similar deals should be possible in the future.

Lee Peterson

Since Nike has been opening stores of their own, I was wondering how the Dick’s relationship was going to play out. Looks like they reached a deal but, if I were Dick’s, I’d be a little more than concerned about having Nike stores within easy range of mine. The devil is in the details of the deal, I would imagine.

Chuck Ehredt

I believe this will be advantageous for both brands as they can collaborate more to meet customer expectations and elevate experiences. Many customers still need a physical store to see product and Dick’s has locations where Nike would never be able to justify a competing location. So I believe this is good for customers, and just how good it will be for the brands depends on the degree of their collaboration. With Nike cutting many retailers, they should be able to double down on supporting those they keep.

Carol Spieckerman

This is an interesting move in the wake of Nike’s pull-back on wholesale relationships yet it makes even more sense in light of it. As Nike leans into its direct-to-consumer model, Dick’s physical footprint plugs in a necessary component. It’s a great way for Dick’s to gain access to an extra sliver of Nike fans as well. Just as Nike is uniquely suited to double down on direct-to-consumer, Dick’s mobile capabilities set it apart in the sporting goods sector. It’s a great match.

Jeff Sward

There was a time when a brand was happy to get an order from any retailer who could pay their bills. Now the partnership or collaboration has to be on the level of marriage. Dating won’t cut it in this day and age. So Apple chooses Best Buy and Target. Sephora breaks up with J.C. Penney and marries Kohl’s. Nike picks Dick’s. Strong brands solidify their positions in the market with their own stores and key retailers. These kind of collaborations will redefine the definition of “anchor” stores. Could Target or Best Buy or Dick’s be the new mall anchor stores? Can they be more of a magnet than moderate department stores who, beyond their use of the word “sale”, are not the story tellers they once were?

Patricia Vekich Waldron

There are benefits for both Dick’s (access to Nike customers, data and exclusive products) and Nike (access to Dick’s customers, stores, for selling and fulfillment). Whether it’s a marriage made in heaven will depend on each partners getting as much benefit as they give without cannibalizing their core relationships and business.

Jenn McMillen

Exclusive experiences are the bread-and-butter of any collab, so this is a powerhouse combination.

Kai Clarke

This linked loyalty program is going to take Dick’s to the next level. When Nike rolls out its next branded shoe, Dick’s will be the first to get it, the first to sell it, and the first to get inventory of it to offer to the consumer. In the shoe world, they are the 800 lb. gorilla and Dick’s has it. Yes, there will be other brand partnerships, but to duplicate them at this level will be difficult … at best!

"Exclusive experiences are the bread-and-butter of any collab, so this is a powerhouse combination."

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