For most consumers, Saturday morning is a time to sleep in or enjoy a leisurely brunch. But for the passionate shoe collectors who call themselves sneakerheads, Saturday mornings are often devoted to shopping.

At 10am EST, Nike releases limited-availability versions of Jordans and other classic styles. For those who want to buy one of those pieces, the checkout process is intense – more like an athletic competition than a typical e-commerce transaction. “Think of it like racing to get tickets on Ticketmaster,” explained Matthew Siegel, Nike’s Vice President & GM of Global Digital Commerce.

As Nike ramped up its focus on digital, the digital team created the mobile app SNKRS specifically for those consumers. The app compresses those Saturday morning transactions into quick and easy mobile swipes and clicks.

To demonstrate the lack of friction, Siegel played a video of a hypothetical sneakerhead’s transaction. The shopper had already picked a pair; next he or she selected the correct size, verified the pre-stored information that popped up, hit “Place Order,” and used Touch ID to make the purchase. The whole process took about ten seconds.

Nike's SNKRS app

Mobile is rapidly overtaking desktop on multiple fronts. Mobile traffic is expected to grow eightfold by 2020, and most of Nike’s traffic comes from mobile devices. Still, when it comes to shopping, consumers prefer the ease of navigating desktop sites. Desktop users purchase three times more frequently than those on mobile devices, according to Siegel.

By making the mobile shopping experience easier, SNKRS is trying to convince those consumers to change their habits. That strategy might work well for sneakerheads who know what they want to buy when they open the app. But for ordinary consumers, the main barrier to mobile shopping might not be how long it takes to make a purchase, but how easy it is to browse before making one.

This navigation problem is why many brands releasing mobile commerce apps have focused on curation and personalization. Nike also recognizes this. The brand is currently refining its Nike+ app to respond to the user’s interests with tips, advice – and a personalized store.


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