With online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba offering the ultimate in shoe shopping convenience, experience commerce is the remaining differentiator for shoe retailers. To compete with huge online marketplaces and stay connected to sneaker heads, Foot Locker is adjusting their approach. We’ll analyze Foot Locker’s shift from a product-centric strategy to an experience-driven one as a way of remaining relevant in today’s $19 billion sneaker industry.
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Beyond offering limited edition products, Foot Locker leverages content to elevate the customer experience. The shoe retailer uses compelling storytelling to create emotional connections with today’s digital consumer. Below are a few of their content tactics:
Shoppable Content: Foot Locker teamed up with Japanese brand ASICS to create a shoppable anime video series to launch their “Welcome to the Dojo” apparel and footwear collection. In another effort to extend its reach to youth culture, Foot Locker invested $3 million in NWTRK, a teen-oriented eCommerce content platform that offers live video shopping and programming via its mobile app and web store.
Audio Tours: Taking a cue from museums, Foot Locker uses mobile Audio Tours to create a sensory and immersive experience for customers. The tours feature basketball stars and known sneaker experts sharing their footwear insights.
Nostalgic Content: Foot Locker creates experiential and social media-rich content. To celebrate Air Max Day-a day set aside to celebrate the first Nike Air Max released in 1987, Foot Locker built Discover Your Air network for the ultimate sneakerhead and Air Max fans.
Foot Locker leverages its strong relationships with vendors to deliver compelling and unique concepts, elevate the customer experience, and bring the excitement and energy of youth culture to consumers. Below are two collaborations Foot Locker utilized to deliver immersive experiences.
Jumpman Store: In collaboration with Brand Jordan, Foot Locker opened a Jumpman Store in Los Angeles. The store offers curated Jordan collections, a Flight Lab for customers to test and create one-of-one products, a Flight Lounge for brand storytelling, and spaces for local artists and gamers. The store also features a regulation basketball court to host local community events.
House of Hoops: Foot Locker teamed up with Nike to introduce the House of Hoops Courtside experience.
Launched for LeBron James’s first home game in Los Angeles, the mobile pop up shop drops in different cities. All shops include a unique makers customization space where customers can deconstruct certain products with a Nike designer and alter them right on the spot.
Foot Locker interacts with customers wherever they are. Listed as one of the top 100 omnichannel retailers of 2019, the brand uses the following methods to enhance the shopping experience and blur the line between online and offline:
Customer-Driven Fulfillment: To help customers shop conveniently, Foot Locker uses stock from their stores to fulfil orders and implements endless aisles a concept that allows customers to order products that aren’t sold in stores or out of stock. To expedite online orders, Foot Locker also has “mini-hubs” — smaller warehouses within a few hours of millions of customers.
Updated Loyalty Program: With consumers demanding more from loyalty programs, Foot Locker’s omnichannel loyalty program app allows customers to track their spending and stay on top of their VIP status. And the brand’s new FLX program allows customers to earn points for online activities such as commenting on social media and completing surveys.
Augmented Reality: Foot Locker leverages emerging technology platforms to offer exclusive content. The shoe retailer updated its iPhone app with augmented reality features and rolled out an interactive scavenger hunt dubbed “The Hunt”, where participants used the Foot Locker app to search for a pair of LeBron’s limited edition sneakers.
Foot Locker also utilized augmented reality to create a shareable experience and tap into the unboxing phenomenon by launching a Snapchat AR unboxing lens. The innovative lens allows consumers to unbox new sneakers in AR before they drop in stores.
Power Store Models
Power Store models are Foot Locker’s latest attempt to position itself as the hub of sneaker culture while avoiding the ongoing retail apocalypse. Located in North America, the U.K., and Asia, Foot Locker’s new store is powered by local culture and delivers innovative experiences. Here’s what makes the Power Store unique:
Nike Collaboration: Foot Locker leverages Nike’s proprietary technology to create a better in-store experience and enhance emotional connection with customers. Customers use their NikePlus app to reserve items directly from Nike and pick them up at Foot Locker. The in-store experience also includes a NikePlus “Unlock Box” vending machine where members can unlock limited edition items and a “Shoecase” that provides members with early access to coveted sneaker releases.
Localized Experiences: To celebrate local communities and build authentic relationships at a hyper-local level, Foot Locker’s Power Stores honor the neighborhoods they serve. The stores draw customers with their curated assortment of local brands to sell exclusive and limited-release items. The concept also includes a space where community members can host events ranging from talent shows, panel discussions, and appearances by local influencers.
Foot Locker’s move toward re-imagining the customer journey and delivering personal encounters hinges on creating connected experiences. Here are some examples:
Data Connectivity: To connect the data flowing through its organization, build a single customer view, and deliver relevant content and experiences, Foot Locker has been shifting from disparate systems to a streamlined ecosystem. The retailer also expanded its data analytics capabilities and ensured various departments had access to data in order to make fast and intelligent decisions. They formulated a strategy that involved testing, segmenting, and retargeting specific segments with different content based on accumulated data sets.
Customer Centric: To foster a culture that places customers at the heart of the decision-making process, the brand broke silos by establishing a CX Center for Excellence that gathers and analyzes data and ensures departments such as merchandising, IT, and customer experience work together toward one common goal. The brand also developed a customer connected framework that focuses on collection, content, community, connectivity, and convenience to elevate the customer experience.
With the concept of ‘experience’ rising to become one of retail’s key differentiators, Foot Locker seems to be on the right path to achieving experience-driven commerce. Maintaining industry leader status for 45 years is no fluke. To get (and stay) noticed by customers, borrow a strategy or two from a leading company that’s managed to successfully revise their marketing strategies for each new generation of consumers.