This excerpt from PSFK’s New York Retail Innovation Guide details how leading activewear retailers in the city are investing in community-oriented, personalized and tech-driven engagements to integrate themselves into shoppers' fitness and lifestyle goals

Sportswear retailers and fitness brands in New York are engaging shoppers’ larger lifestyle needs with innovative services and experiences that leverage personalization, convenience and community. Mobile apps and sensored-enabled technologies make the in-store experience more tailored and responsive, enabling shoppers to choose the products that best fit their fitness goals.

In-store community spaces and events provide an inclusive platform for like-minded fans to gather in celebration of their sport, allowing the store to broaden its position from outfitter to holistic lifestyle partner. As detailed in PSFK’s New York Retail Innovation Guide, here’s how six sportswear retailers and fitness brands are assisting shoppers in achieving their health goals by investing in wellness and community-oriented products, events and immersive experiences:

Nike House of Innovation 000 
Nike’s 68,000-square-foot flagship store on Fifth Avenue is fueled by its mobile app and its NikePlus program, offering features like ‘member-only’ hours, instant checkout and free delivery. The app also lets customers take mobile photos of QR codes on mannequins to have items placed in dressing rooms. The store features a Speed Shop where shoppers can quickly purchase popular products, which are informed by purchase data from local shoppers. There is a Sneaker Bar, where shoppers can customize their shoes, and a Sneaker Lab, showcasing the largest collection of Nike footwear worldwide. The top floor houses the Nike Expert Studio, where NikePlus Members can book appointments with in-store experts.

The athletic retailer’s flagship location highlights its sports-centric culture rather than its gear, immersing visitors in “stadium retail concept” featuring an in-store track and bleachers for customers to watch live sports games. Customers can also customize shoes with NYC-only options and use a fitting application, Run Genie, to find the perfect shoe based on their unique running gait.

Outdoor gear retailer REI extends the experience of its brand through outdoor events such as sunset hikes, adventure skiing, and forest therapy sessions. Tours leave by bus and foster a sense of community within the REI customer base, which also has access to classes and workshops in store.

“Our mission has always been enabling and awakening that lifelong love [of the outdoors]. We aim to really focus intentionally around solving problems for customers and our members of today, in the world we live in today with all the distractions, and dizziness and presence of technology.”
—Ben Steele. EVP, REI

Rapha Clubhouse 
Rapha mixes hospitality, food & beverage and retail. The Italian-themed bicycle gear retailer positions its stores as clubhouses, where cycling enthusiasts can gather and celebrate the sport in an in-store cafe and bar, gallery space and mechanic’s workshop. Offering annual memberships alongside upscale gear and accessories, members can access an ongoing program of weekly bike rides, watch key seasonal races or hang out with other enthusiasts.

NBA Store 
The National Basketball Association redesigned its Times Square retail location to accommodate individuals on the autism spectrum and other sensory disabilities, with specially trained employees and sensory-inclusive spaces.

High-end bike rental service Roula’s flagship location serves as a gathering space for cycling enthusiasts, with a café to offer pre-ride fuel and a selection of recovery-focused products to help them post-ride. Roula offers a bike rental service for hotel guests, which includes a fit specialist to make sure that the bike is dialed into riders’ exact specifications, and riders can determine the time and place to have their bikes delivered and picked up. Roula also leads guided rides in NYC and beyond.

Activewear is not the only vertical experimenting with innovative services and experiences in New York. For more about how leaders from all categories in the city are breaking new ground in experiential retail, see PSFK’s New York Retail Innovation Guide, available for download now.

Lead image: stock photos from Jacob Lund/Shutterstock