How Nike Is Using Augmented Reality To Ward Off Illicit Reseller Bots

How Nike Is Using Augmented Reality To Ward Off Illicit Reseller Bots
Advertising

When skipping to the front of the digital line is a few lines of code away, brands have to get creative to ensure products make their way to actual fans

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 27 november 2017

Scoring a pair of limited-edition shoes has always been a more complicated process than it sounds—especially with the rise of violence in sneaker culture. Megabrands like Nike have opted to make their launches digital as a result of disputes taking place on lines of overly eager customers, but that decision has been been met with its own set challenges: chiefly, bots.

Though purchasing an item physically or online both normally operate on a ‘first come first serve’ basis, crafty sneaker resellers have found a way to boost their chances of purchasing any shoe the moment it gets released. By making use of automated computer scripts that can fill out an address and credit card information near-instantaneously, resellers have drastically lowered the probability for non-bot users to snag a pair of shoes for themselves, throwing the ‘hypebeast’ footwear economy out of balance.

To combat the snowballing quantities of auto-buying tools surfacing on the internet, Nike has started experimenting with new technologies far removed from the modern hacker’s wheelhouse. During a product launch of the SB Dunk High Pro “Momofuku,” a model designed in collaboration with chef star David Chang, Nike released pairs of the shoes exclusively through its SNKRS app.

To purchase a pair of Momofukus, shoppers had to select their 3D model in the app, which would pop open a camera they’d have to point at a certain screen or poster (e.g. a menu from Chang’s Fuku restaurant in New York City or a physical or web copy of special SNKRS prints). From there, the camera can recognize that it’s looking at the campaign activation, redirecting users to a link where they can finalize their purchase and check out.

Overall, the sneaker giant’s foray into augmented reality has yielded impressive results for the brand looking to re-balance the market for its products. Various shoe launches have proven so successful that Nike now wants to expand the scope of this newly minted purchasing channel for use in future campaign activations.

“We’re very focused on security and stability. Every time we have a release, we’re incredibly focused on limiting any type of bot attacks,” Nike’s Chief Digital Officer Adam Sussman told Engadget. “But we’re also moving to a world of serving consumers one to one, [and] that naturally fights off bot attacks because now we’re starting to develop individual relationships.”

To that effect, Nike has drawn on Pokémon Go’s massive success as its North Star, emulating much of the same principles that led to its explosion while actively avoiding recreating the elements that led to its downfall. Much like the game that broke global signup and engagement records before it, the SNKRS app fares well even in (and especially in) crowds, since a physical community built around a theme works wonders for driving engagement.

At the same time, Nike has cleverly avoided shoe-related robberies and assaults, since you don’t receive your shoe on the spot, but order them to your home upon completing the AR-based purchase. And, in the event that the company launches a treasure-hunt style campaign to game-ify the launch of a new shoe, it can simply place the AR-enabled stickers or posters in areas less likely for robberies and assaults to happen, like busy parks and centers.

The SNKRS app is the intersection of good intentions and futuristic tech, and the timing couldn’t be better—having carefully eyed the launch of Apple’s ARKit, which put the technology in millions of people’s hands, Nike now needs to focus on scaling the product and building the perception that AR is a viable method of purchasing from and engaging with a company.

All said, SNKRS gleams with opportunity, and copycats from Nike’s competition are likely already in the works. If it proves successful in the long run, expect to see more AR-infused brick-and-mortar experiences, shopping events and brand activations.

Nike SNKRS

Scoring a pair of limited-edition shoes has always been a more complicated process than it sounds—especially with the rise of violence in sneaker culture. Megabrands like Nike have opted to make their launches digital as a result of disputes taking place on lines of overly eager customers, but that decision has been been met with its own set challenges: chiefly, bots.

+advertising
+apparel
+Augmented & Virtual Reality
+augmented reality
+Automotive
+Brand Introduction
+cities
+consumer goods
+Fashion
+financial services
+fitness / sport
+footwear
+home
+nike
+Product Promotion
+retail
+technology
+USA

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