- As Nike moves increasingly toward e-commerce to increase its sales, some purveyors perceive a possible change in the brand's longtime street credibility, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
- The change in sales methods does seem to be working, whatever the price in status; sales on both Nike.com and its apps have increased substantially, bringing in roughly $2 billion since 2015.
- Yet, more frequent releases of varied styles and a reduction in direct access for consumers used to boutiques-only sales could negatively impact the brand, making it too accessible and therefore less unique.
There's a high fashion aspect to Nike sneakers, but some believe that may change. The eagerness with which Nike's fans snapped up new styles regardless of price mirrors the way an "it" item of the season is sought by luxury shoppers, who for years were believed to be resistant to e-commerce. Once Net-a-Porter proved luxury retailers wrong, the door opened for e-commerce success, with sales growing from a meager 3% in 2015 to 17% predicted by 2018, according to a study by McKinsey&Company.
Nike, meanwhile, suffers from some of the same e-commerce concerns previously held by luxury dealers. Copycat production of its most famous styles plagues the brand, particularly through overseas dealers on Amazon. By making authentic Nike sneakers more accessible, Nike hopes to break the chain of imitation.
But Nike is also shrinking lead times, which means more styles will be available more often, which could result in a market glut. If the brand is able to balance supply and demand despite immediate e-commerce availability, it will likely continue to turn profits in the billions. However, doing so demands a delicate sense of market timing, which is tough to translate amidst growing access.