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NKRS is more than a marketplace app; it’s a place where sneaker lovers and fashion aficionados can be inspired and inspire others. The Nike app is a place where users can stay up to date on hot new sneaker releases, get some behind-the-scenes footage on the creators of some of the brand’s most iconic shoes, and cultivate a love for Nikes.

SNKRS is available for both iOS and Android and currently has over 505K ratings and 4.8 stars on the Apple App Store. 

Read on to learn more about how Nike is paving the way for brands to create immersive apps that not only invite users to shop but build community as well. This article will go into detail about the app, what features it offers, what users can expect to see, and how marketers can use the app as inspiration for their own brand. 

What Is SNKRS?

The SNKRS app launched in 2015 and despite the initial hype surrounding the app, it was met with dismal reviews and users complained about the app crashing and the presence of bots. However, Nike pledged to fix these initial problems and as mobile shopping became more and more popular. It has since become a driving force in the sneakerhead community and by 2019, it saw $750 million in annual revenue

SNKRS capitalizes on hot demand and short supply, as well as Nike’s loyal fan base. The app not only allows users to see new sneakers and merchandise details but gives them an inside look at how their favorite pair of kicks were made and offers other exclusive content. It has become a place for sneaker lovers — from those who collect as a hobby to those who’ve made a business out of selling shoes in local shops — to share photos and build a community.

In this time of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, SNKRS has been able to foster a community of shoe lovers from across the globe. 

But if SNKRS isn’t simply a shoe marketplace app, what is it really? Keep reading to find more about the app’s features. 

Features

SNKRS is a treasure trove for all things having to do with Nike shoes. The app is designed to not only get sneaker lovers invested through its many features and a wide variety of content. Users can choose to be notified via push notifications when a new product drops either one week, one day, or 15 minutes beforehand. 

Since many of the Nike items have a limited supply, users need to make sure they’re one of the first to secure the product in their size before it gets sold out. Knowing the exact date and date those sweet new pair of kicks will be for sale on the app can mean the difference between being one of the lucky few or having to wait months to add them to a coveted collection. 

This section will break down SNKRS’s three main sections and what you can expect to find in each. 

Home Page

When you first open the app, you’ll be taken to the “feed page” which has a mixture of posts ranging from upcoming product items to behind the scenes stories about past designs. 

Similar to an Instagram feed, you can scroll through the posts and easily like them or share them via a touch of a button. You also have the option to filter products on the page by size so you’ll only see the items that are or will be available to you. 

This is also the place to keep up to date on the brand’s latest design collaborations with artists and designers such as UNION LA, Virgil Abloh, and dozens of others. Users can read short blurbs about the products, Q&As with the designers, and learn more about the inspiration behind the collab. 

At the top of the page, you’ll be able to switch over to the “In Stock” page where you can see all the shoes available. From this page, you can click on a particular shoe and it will direct you to a page with more photos, a longer description, and the price. You can also buy the shoe directly from the app after adding in your shipping and payment information. 

The “Upcoming” page features upcoming releases with information on the day and time, as well as the available sizes, the shoes will be released.

Discover

The Discover page is a great launching pad to learn everything there is to know about the world of Nike sneakers. Broken down into categories, you can click on each category to expand the section and be directed to a page that has multiple pieces of content.

NBA2K20 

Listed at the top of the Discover page, Nike’s partnership with NBA2K20 is a play to target the brand’s video game-playing audience. Nike, which has been known for its close ties to basketball since sponsoring NBA legend Michael Jordan in 1984, is a new generation of basketball fans to invest in the brand. 

The partnership invites players of the popular video game to unlock special access to 10 exclusive sneakers through special challenges in the game by linking accounts. 

KickCheck

Under this section, you can view Instagram Story-esque posts broken down by date where Nike and fashion lovers across the country can post photos of them showing off their kicks. Each post features the username of the person who submitted the photo along with the shoe model and sometimes their location. 

To be featured on SNKRS’ KickCheck, users need to post to their Instagram Story using the hashtag #SNKRSKickCheck.

This hashtag and feature on the app is an excellent way to increase engagement and expand a brand’s audience. It also serves to legitimize the brand itself as it places the customer at the center of the advertisement which makes it feel more authentic. This type of user-generated content advertising also plays into many young peoples’ own aspirations to be an influencer themselves. 

What You Got

This section features community members showing off their most prized pairs of Nikes through a series of videos with text captions. The videos feature users — ranging from Houston Rockets player PJ Tucker to psychotherapists to musicians — showing off their favorite shoes, sharing why they’re important to them, and what they love about the sneakers. These Instagram Story-esque posts are very visually appealing and users can tap through them or easily share them across social channels or through text. 

Similar to the SNKRS KickCheck, What You Got also uses loyal Nike sneaker fans to share their love for their shoes. This deep-seeded love and passion for shoes is something most sneakerheads share and What You Got can further emotionally tie a customer to the brand. It also elevates the voices of some of Nike’s dedicated followers — from famous athletes to the person next door — and makes them feel valued by the brand. 

Marketers can also use similar ways to engage their audience or followers by including them in branded video content that appears on the brand’s social media platforms. 

Behind the Design

This section takes SNKRS users behind the scenes and into Nike’s design studio with exclusive content that features Nike designers and collaborators. 

These posts range from interview Q&As with designers to graphic-driven stories that use storytelling and visual elements to share how certain shoes were designed and manufactured. 

In a time when 94% of people say they’re more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency, brands need to make sure they’re being authentic and truthful.  Behind the Design is Nike’s way of providing customers with interesting and engaging content that builds trust with their customers. 

Marketers can create similar videos or posts to not only build trust with their customers, but also makes them more invested and interested in the brand as a whole. 

Classic Catalogs 

The Classic Catalogs section dives deep into past shoes and clothing lines with mockup drawings and previously unseen design plans such as the 2004 Jordan Footwear Line or the 1981 Footwear lineup. 

This section taps into the sneaker community’s deep love of old and unique finds and, on a wider scale, society’s yearning for nostalgia. It can also appeal to the brand’s older audience who may have personal connections or memories for certain years, looks, or moments. 

Marketers can use a similar strategy to create a similar emotional bond between customer and brand through the use of Instagram stories or themed posts focusing on older products. This type of content can also attract those interested in learning more about the history of a certain industry and help you target a new audience. 

Jordan Brand

NBA star Michael Jordan originally wanted to sign a deal with Adidas or Converse. However, his deal with Nike has proved highly lucrative for both parties and the former basketball player has made over $1 billion over the course of the 36-year-long sponsorship. 

Nike still values this partnership and the SNKRS app has its own section to highlight the Jordan Brand. This section features shoppable images to product-line items such as shoes, hoodies, and jackets. Some posts tell the story behind other Jordan Brand products and short, image-heavy posts about influential people and organizations that have used the brand as inspiration such as the Harlem Children’s Zone. 

Talking Shop

These photo and text-heavy stories feature local shoe shops around the country that have a deep-rooted passion for the brand and selling Nikes. Not only do these posts engage app users who are interested to find new places to shop, but generate leads through people in those shops’ communities who may download the app to see the story.

For example, Nike profiled A Ma Maniere back in 2019 and the post featured beautiful images and a Q&A with the crew of the shop. The luxury fashion boutique was established in Atlanta but has since expanded to Washington, D.C., and Houston, and is known for shoe drops and showcasing European streetwear pieces for customers to buy. 

By developing a relationship with local business owners or figures in the community, marketers can get their brand in front of new audiences and establish trust in those markets. It also can be a way to let smaller businesses or sellers know that a larger brand values them and strengthens loyalty between the two brands. 

Inside the Vault

Inside the Vault invites SNKRS users to take a trip down memory lane and learn more about past sneakers that rose to fame after athletes wore them. These are text and image-driven stories that are both informational while remaining visually appealing to the user.

This section appeals to both nostalgia and those interested in the history of the brand itself. Marketers should take note of Nike’s continuous use of nostalgia  to appeal to their customers while using the old to create something new. 

Street SNKRS

Street SNKRS spotlights user-generated content from those who are as heavily invested in fashion as they are in shoes. Each highlighted member features a full-body image so users can get a sense of their street fashion as well as a close-up photo of their shoes. The captions for each post tell the name, username, and model of the shoe. 

Much like What You Got and KickCheck sections, Street SNKRS invites users to show off their personal style and add their voice into the brand’s community of shoe (and fashion) lovers. Marketers should use user-generated content that both reflects their brand while also allowing users to add their own personalities. These types of posts reaffirm to a brand’s fan base that they matter, while also showing other customers that they can be trusted. 

Profile

Your profile page features a page where you can view all of the products you’ve favorited or purchased on the app. Under your name, you’ll also find your Member Pass which is a scannable barcode that will state when you first became a member and is useful to check in at Nike stores and SNKRS events. 

Limited Release Items

SNKRS is also the place to be if you want to try to secure one of the brand’s limited release items or new drops. 

The Nike app caught the attention of media outlets such as USA Today when it sold out of a limited edition Colin Kaepernick jersey in under a minute this past September. The much-anticipated monochromatic “True to 7” football jersey was released to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the day the ex-NFL player kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality. 

If you don’t remember, Kaepernick, who played for the San Francisco 49ers, came under intense scrutiny after he kneeled to protest racial injustice and police brutality. When Nike featured Kaepernick in a 2018 ad campaign with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the brand was both praised and criticized. However, despite calls to burn Nike apparel and cut socks, the advertising campaign led to a 31% boost in sales and a $6 billion brand value increase which is in-line with consumers’ search for brands supporting social causes. 


Who’s Using SNKRS?

SNKRS is used by those in the sneaker community and loyal fans of the brand. These people come from across generations and oceans and reach across gender divides. 

Its heavy emphasis on street fashion and behind-the-scenes content could also be appealing for fashion designers and historians. 

What Marketers Can Learn From SNKRS?

Since SNKRS doesn’t offer any ad space and the only partnership it’s done far has been with NBA2K20, marketers should look to the app as a blueprint for how they can create high-performing apps or content that is engaging and informative for their audiences. 

Marketers should take note of the highly visual and engaging posts that offer users of the app access to content that isn’t easily available to other users so they feel like they’re a part of an insider community. SNKRS repackaging of user-generated content also makes the community personally invested in the app and brand, yet keeps the brand’s aesthetic. 

The fact that users can save shoes they like or buy directly from the app can also drive sales and increase time spent on the app. 

If your brand is in the shoe or streetwear industry, you can also make a bid to be featured on the app’s “Talking Shop” section. 

Conclusion

SNKRS exists in a niche area, but it’s seeing massive results because Nike knows its fan base. It knows how important limited release items are and how to get people excited and ready to buy them. It knows how important the brand is to the fashion and sports industries and capitalizes on a mixture of nostalgia with innovation. Combining the brand’s knowledge in all these areas, it’s created an app that is boosting the brand’s sales and cementing its place as the leader in the shoe industry.

The app serves as a place to create buzz and excitement surrounding new releases while also building community with other sneaker lovers across the world. It’s original, exclusive, and behind-the-scenes content also allows them to feel like they’re in the know about the company and creates an even stronger brand connection with those who influence the rest of the niche community. 

While there are limited options to participate or partner with the app itself, brands can look to Nike for inspiration on how to build and maintain a loyal fan base on top of driving sales through new platforms. 

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