Nike quickens plans to ‘seamlessly connect social platforms to commerce’

Nike plans to create more opportunities for people to buy goods from its social channels after seeing efforts to bridge the gap between media and commerce bear fruit in its latest financial quarter.

The world’s biggest sportswear maker by sales hailed the role platforms such as Instagram were playing in its long-term efforts to spur purchases outside of its partnerships with retailers. Nike is betting bigger marketing stakes on ecommerce experiments in order to unearth data and insights that could help future personalisation and marketing efforts.

Speaking on a conference call with analysts for its latest financial results, Nike chief executive Mark Parker said we’re constantly looking for new always to seamlessly connect social platforms to commerce. He cited a project from earlier in the quarter to prove his point; Nike Women’s launched an Instagram store that let visitors click on photos of products to then be taken to the corresponding page on its nike.com site. The company is exploring a similar mechanic with Twitter, testing its prototype “Dedicated Pages” to push curated product collections to the platform’s users.

Social media is just one prong of Nike’s ongoing attempts to futureproof its commercial strategy. The strategy has already pumped a significant amount of investment into its mobile offering, which outstrips desktop in terms of traffic to the ecommerce site.

Nike’s ecommerce prowess were not the only bright spot in the quarter. The business topped analyst expectations with a 4.8 per cent revenue increase in the three months to May to $7.8bn. Revenue for the Nike brand jumped 13 per cent to $7.4bn in the period, buoyed sales of running shoes, its biggest footwear category, and demand for its higher-priced Jordan, LeBron and Kobe basketball brands in the US.

Nike’s “future orders”, a gauge of demand, from June to November rose 13 per cent, way ahead of the 10.4 per cent analysts had predicted they would slow at the end of the next quarter.

"At Nike, innovation comes in many forms and our growing digital eco-system is the great example,” said Parker. “We are building deep connections to consumers with digital services and communities to driving rapid expansion of our e-commerce business. This is all made possible, because Nike is one of the world's most engaged brands online. It's where we connect with the consumer one-to-one and it's where we connect people to one another.”

Nike can expect competition from its main rivals Adidas and Puma in the race to successful mesh online marketing with online sales. Both German businesses have announced plans to get ta foothold in the space as part of wider moves to gain more control over how their brands are presented to consumers.

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