Sports from the Inside Out

Nike is Using its SNKRS App to Build Community through Augmented Reality The app has changed how sneakerheads gain access to exclusive drops and new content

When you think of getting exclusive sneakers, what comes to mind? Long lines? Intense competition? Luck?

Since Nike acquired Virgin Mega (a startup by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group), the sneaker game has changed. Focusing on fan community and shopping, Nike has taken the startup and turned it into a digital studio called s23NYC. The digital studio is operated by 24 startup veterans working in offices previously used by Converse on 23rd street in New York City.

Nike put s23NYC in control of its SNKRS app providing exclusive access and news on the latest sneakers, plus they’ve changed how sneakerheads gain access to exclusive drops.

One of the developments s23NYC has brought to the table is described by Nike as “scratch-off cards for the digital age”. In one instance the SNKRS app gave users the opportunity to unlock Royal Foamposite sneakers by swiping the screen to color in a digital image.

The SNKRS app even started using geotargeted Stash campaigns, allowing users who travel to designated locations in their city the opportunity to purchase limited edition sneakers. The feature has set sneakerheads out on the hunt to find geotargeted locations with exclusive hidden kicks. One promotion worked hand in hand with Momofuku where users took a photo of the Fuku east village menu using the SNKRS app Augmented Reality camera. The image then brought up a 3D model of the Nike SB Sunk High Pro Momofuku, giving the user the ability to purchase the exclusive sneakers.

Ron Faris, the head of the SNKRS app and s23NYC, said that in the future users outside of cities will be able to form ‘Stash Squads’ so that they can still participate in promotions by forming teams amongst locals.

These promotions focus on the link between scarcity and urgency, two factors that are well known to sneakerheads. Getting a pair of the exclusive sneakers gives bragging rights and has created a community of users that help each other find and unlock the exclusive drops. Essentially the SNKRS app has taken the long lines away and has given a tailgating feel to acquiring exclusive sneakers by removing intense competition and stressful time consuming lines which in return allowed users to create their own communities around the promotions.

The app is currently available in the United States and in Europe and is scheduled to drop in China and Japan later in 2017.

Hunter Tigert

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