Nike Building In-house Social Commerce App Aimed at Gen Z
Focused on shopping for young women, the upcoming app is part of Nike’s relatively new business incubator.
Nike is looking to create its own social shopping niche outside the bounds of TikTok and Instagram. The athleticwear giant recently set up a landing page for what its dubbed Nothing but Gold, an app in “super stealth mode” aimed at young women shoppers. The project is clearly making an attempt to build something of a Nike community among the group, with the site calling for young women to “tell us why you’re nothing but gold on [Instagram] for a chance to build the future with us.” The site also has a moving banner that repeats “good vibes only” and “surround yourself with love.” According to the landing page, the app will present a mix of “sport, style and self care,” but gives little other detail. The Instagram page it directs to has about 8,800 followers. Nike’s main Instagram page has more than 140 million followers while its main women’s page has nearly 8 million. A Nike representative could not be reached for comment on the new app. However, a recent job posting for the app gives some more detail and makes clear that Nike is looking to create a branded space that operates similarly to the social media platforms Generation Z is already using to browse and shop, namely Instagram and TikTok. The posting explains that Nothing but Gold is an outgrowth of Valiant Labs, Nike’s business incubator segment, started in 2018 by Hannah Jones, previously Nike’s chief sustainability officer. The shopping app marks one of the group’s first public launches in its almost three years of existence. It also claims that the group is now “tasked with creating the future of shopping for girls” and that Nothing but Gold is a “native mobile app that takes social commerce in-house” for Nike. As of now, the app is set to be “a true mix of sport, style, activism and mindfulness” where young women can buy Nike products, see how other users style them and “get inspired.” Between the job description and the landing page, it seems clear Nike is looking for a cadre of creators and/or influencers to make content for the app, but there is no mention of how or if such creators will get paid. Given Nike’s massive revenue and investment in advertising, it’s probable there will also be higher profile celebrity or influencer endorsements of the app once it is set to officially launch. In 2020, Nike spent about $3.6 billion on marketing.
Should Nothing but Gold get off the ground, it will be Nike’s second shopping-specific app, alongside Snkrs, launched in 2015. The company has repeatedly cited Snkrs, which offers exclusives and drops of new shoes, as a successful driver of online sales. But Nothing but Gold appears to be Nike’s first foray into developing its own social channel. The new app comes not long into the tenure of Nike chief executive officer John Donahoe, the former eBay executive who took over when Mark Parker left Nike not long after the company found itself accused by a number of women employees of fostering a sexist work environment. Parker’s exit came roughly a year after a string of other male executives, including those who reported to him directly, left Nike over such allegations, including Trevor Edwards, seen by many as Parker’s successor. Since Donahoe’s arrival at Nike, the company has refocused on its digital efforts, along with its women’s business, even launching a maternity line and a hijab swim collection. Those efforts have only become more urgent given the explosion in e-commerce over the last 12 months during COVID-19. In its 2020 investor meeting, Nike said it expects digital and e-commerce sales to consistently be at least 50 percent of its revenue, leading it to be eager to develop more owned digital channels for shopping. “Simply put, consumer behavior is shifting fundamentally during this pandemic,” Donahoe said in the meeting, “and we don’t think it’s going to flip back.”