Immersive experience technology has shaped the way we see the world, do our shopping, and now, the way we run. See inside New York's Nike Run Club.
In Midtown Manhattan, a group of Nike employees gather in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. As they approach the Nike store, their breath visible in the chilly air, they exchange greetings and clutch steaming cups of coffee to ward off the cold.
With a jangle of keys, one employee unlocks the store's large glass doors, signaling the start of another busy day. The team walks inside the multi-level store, revealing the iconic swoosh logo and rows of brightly colored running shoes.
For the Nike team, today is no ordinary day. The company is about to unveil a new immersive experience technology during its growing New York Nike Run Club. It’s an exciting new way for Nike to engage with its customers.
Up until today, Nike Run Club members would walk in, receive a paper ticket for checking their bag, pick out the Nike running shoes they wanted to try for the day, and then be fitted with a wristband to make sure the shoes were returned at the end of their run.
"Our old wristband system was not great. It was a really slow process,” says Perri Jacobs, Nike's Brand Marketing Event Manager. “You kind of checked your bag and went off and did your run. There were long wait times and no true connection between our team and the runners.”
The lengthy check-in rigamarole led to unhappy runners, lines that stretched to the front door, misplaced items, and frustration among employees who couldn’t keep up with the rush of inbound shoes and wristbands from returning runners. The dated process also proved difficult for Nike to engage with its runners or glean insight into which new shoe colors were popular. But today would be different.
With the help of Chexology, a tech company based in New York City, Nike would not only solve many of its previous challenges but also create a more immersive experience for its customers and fans.
5:00 PM - Nike Run Club begins
As runners arrive ready to hit the pavement for today’s guided run, Nike employees notice a significant reduction in their usual line and a positive reaction to their new immersive experience software!
For Derek Pacqué, Founder and CEO of Chexology, this is no coincidence.
"We've been perfecting our line-busting technology for over a decade now, reducing coat check lines for concertgoers," Derek explains. "So it's exciting to see our research and expertise applied to a new concept like Nike's Run Club and witness the same results. Our team has also worked hard to make Chexology’s software interface easy for new team members to pick up and run with.”
Nike is also happy with how quickly their team has adopted Chexology’s iOS app, especially considering they’re experiencing more runners today than usual.
With the last runner successfully out the door, a little celebration breaks out amongst the team. Not only did day one go off without a hitch, but the Nike team can also see the immediate impact Chexology has had on the customer’s experience.
7:34 PM - Nike Run Club members are returning
As runners return to the Nike store, invigorated by another journey through the streets of Manhattan, they are welcomed to a smooth departure experience. Runners are elated to discover that all they have to do is share the last four digits of their phone number, and everything is taken care of. The staff quickly verifies the runner with a photo taken during check-in, locates their belongings, and sends the guest a custom confirmation text.
Through Chexology, Nike can track which shoes are checked out the most frequently and which colors receive the most positive feedback. This data informs product development, ensuring that Nike's shoe offerings are always in line with the needs of its customers.
“This consumer information is a game changer for our clients,” says Derek. We are helping brands like Nike use data to give consumers a louder voice, and consumers are directly driving trends, taking the guesswork out of product development.”
"Our goal is to provide the best experience for customers," says Perri. "Chexology allows us to take that experience to the next level. We're thrilled with these results."
8:01 PM - Chexology’s first day with Nike Run Club was a success!
The energy in the store is vibrant. Some runners are debating the ideal jogging route through Central Park, while others are looking to purchase a new pair of running shoes.
The staff is also buzzing. The team at Nike is pleased as punch that Chexology created a digital inventory of the shoes lent out and the bags they had held. Witnessing all of this, the team at Nike can’t help but smile.
“It’s all thanks to Chexology!” says Perri.
Gone are the days of confusion when keeping track of shoes and bags was a Herculean task. With just a tap on Chexology’s iPad app, the Nike team can see which shoes have been checked and which have yet to return. The ease of use combined with the way Nike is now able to connect with its run club members is a welcome immersive experience for both parties.
As the runners change out of their brightly collared spandex workout clothes and back into their office attire, they look somewhat like superheroes transforming from their uniforms and blending back into the sea of New Yorkers walking the city streets. Even though they have put away their muscles, tattoos, and running shoes, their true identity is still visible: they are proud members of a community called the New York Nike Run Club, and their future looks brighter than ever.
“We’re an innovative company that likes to step outside the box,” says Perri. “Today, Chexoxlogy helped us do that with a fun, immersive experience.”
Considering joining the Nike Run Club? You should! The New York Nike Run Club is home to over 3,000 happy members, and more are joining every day. This free runners group meets thrice weekly at several Nike store locations (Niketown, Nike Flatiron, and Nike Upper East Side), providing members with experienced coaches teaching runners about pace, speed drills, and curated routes through the city. It’s quite the experience!