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12/21/2021

Nike Accelerates Digital Supply Chain Investments for More Advanced Analytics

Lisa Johnston
Senior Editor
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Nike counts more than 79 million members across its digital ecosystem.

As Nike keeps its sights set on the “marketplace of the future,” the company has accelerated its digital distribution and supply chain investments.

It also continues to build out its digital experience ecosystem, with new content and loyalty experiences that drive app engagement, while simultaneously partnering with retailers for stronger consumer-direct relationships.

The apparel and footwear brand and retailer reported $11.4 billion in revenue in its fiscal second quarter, up 1% vs. the prior-year period. Nike Direct sales were $4.7 billion, up 9%, with Nike brand digital sales up 12% in the quarter to now represents 25% of its total brand revenue.

The No. 10 publicly owned consumer goods company has been hit hard by the supply chain issues plaguing the consumer goods and retail industries, in part due to Vietnam factory closures that resulted in the production cancelation of about 130 million units thanks to three months of lost production volume and several months to ramp back up, said Nike CFO Matt Friend in an earnings call this week.  

[See also: Nike’s Digital Showroom Offers Next Peek Into the Metaverse]

The challenges are easing, according to the company, with all factories currently operational and improved employee attendance rates. Weekly footwear and apparel production are at roughly 80% of pre-closure volumes, according to Friend, who added they expect supply to normalize as it enters fiscal 2023.

However, the company does expect inventory supply to significantly lag consumer demand across its brand portfolio thanks to the pandemic’s continued disruption.  

Nike counts more than 79 million members across its digital ecosystem. In addition to growing member engagement by 27%, the company also increased repeat buyers by 50% vs. the prior-year period. Forty percent of total digital demand this year stems from Nike’s mobile apps.

“As Nike’s digital ecosystem continues to grow, we are beginning to see the compounding benefits of scale from brand awareness and consumer connection to data-informed personalization and inventory utilization to loyalty,” said Friend.

“We continue to see exclusive access serve as a defining marketing mechanism to connect with consumers.”
John Donahoe, Nike president/CEO

The company has accelerated investments evolving its North American distribution network and scaling a digital-first supply chain that will leverage advanced analytics, automation and technology, he noted. This includes opening two new regional service centers on the East and West costs to deliver more units to consumers with shorter delivery times.

In addition to enabling ship-from-store capabilities across its store fleet using advanced analytics thanks to its 2019 acquisition of data science company Celect, Nike has added more than 1,000 robots in its distribution centers. Its Memphis digital distribution center, for example, has robots that have more than 10 million units that would have otherwise required manual labor, Friend said.

It’s also scaling buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and digital order returns across its store fleet, as well as establishing new fulfillment models with select partners to create inventory visibility across the marketplace and optimize digital demand.

Nike is focused on delivering exclusive content experiences for its loyalty members, and it launched exclusive wellness content and workouts from Megan Thee Stallion during the quarter that drove twice as many daily users in its Nike Training App. It also opened a new space in its New York digital studio to produce the weekly SNKRS live streams, including launch previews, that are driving consumer engagement at what Nike president and CEO John Donahoe said is three times the industry average for live streams.

[See also: Nike’s Next Metaverse Move Is RTFKT Pickup]

The company is also seeing benefits through a new dedication score that’s designed to reward member groups with high product affinity, with a set of invitations for one new product selling out in the first hour.

“We continue to see exclusive access serve as a defining marketing mechanism to connect with consumers,” said Donahoe.

Nike’s recent partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods, meanwhile, enables consumers to link their Nike and Dick’s loyalty program together for exclusive offers, products and experiences.

“We are in an era where [the] liquid gold for any brand is to have a direct connection with the consumer so that you can understand that consumer, you can engage that consumer, and then you can serve them in a personalized way. … Partnerships like Dick’s allows us to have that direct connection, whether it’s direct, or with a wholesale partner, and that allows us to serve that consumer in a more personalized, engaging and sustainable way,” noted Donahoe. “And we believe that is going to be one of the key indicators of future success.”  

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