- Nike is launching Nike Fit in its app and in stores this summer.
The sneaker maker is trying to tackle the issue it believes far too m
- any shoppers have — wearing the wrong size shoe.
- BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike, the world’s biggest sneaker maker, wants to solve a problem it knows far too many people have: Which size shoes will fit?
Many shoppers have gone online and ordered multiple pairs of the same style shoe, in different sizes, planning to send back what doesn’t fit. The reasons are simple. Consumers often find they fit into different sizes — maybe a 7.5 women’s here, an 8.5 women’s there — depending on the brand and style. So, when it comes time to buy a new pair, there’s a lot of guessing going on.
It’s actually, very likely you don’t even know what your true shoe size is. Your feet could also be two entirely different sizes.
“Fit is such a big friction point for our customers,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products. “We reached a point of realizing this was not just the biggest problem but biggest transformational opportunity that we have. … No matter how good the shoe is, if the foot doesn’t fit well within the shoe, you’re not going to get peak performance from it.”
Now, Nike says it has a solution. The company will launch Nike Fit, a service being added in North America this July to its mobile app and in stores. Nike Fit will scan customers’ feet and determine the correct size. The service will roll out to Europe in August, moving to other international markets soon after.
Nike Fit is part of Nike’s bigger push to sell more products directly to consumers through its own shops, website and mobile app, relying less on wholesale partners than it has in the past. And so Nike is opening new stores, like its House of Innovation in New York and Nike Live in Los Angeles, designed specifically for those markets and selling items visitors can’t find anywhere else.
Nike said its direct sales in 2018 were up 12%, thanks to strong e-commerce growth and the opening of new stores. And it said direct-to-consumer revenue ended the year representing roughly 30% of total Nike brand sales, up from 28% in the prior year. With a market cap of roughly $130 billion, Nike has watched its shares climb nearly 22% over the past 12 months, outpacing the S&P 500 Retail ETF’s (XRT’s) decline of 1.5%.
Nike Fit will also help the retailer better manage inventory, cut down on returns and even entice shoppers to buy more shoes, early beta testing of the technology showed.
Down to the millimeter
At its core, Nike Fit will work when a customer opens the Nike app, selects a shoe to buy, and then instead of selecting a numerical size, the shopper will be presented with the option to scan his or her foot straight using a smartphone. A scan can take less than 15 seconds. And then Nike Fit will recommend a size for that particular shoe being considered. That information — such as the width of the shoppers’ foot, down to the millimeter — will be saved for later purchases, too, because the size may vary with the style. Nike’s Air Jordan shoe, for example, fits differently than other sneakers.
In stores, Nike will have a similar experience, but a sales associate will do the scanning…