3D Configurators: Nike’s Secret Tool For Changing Trends

Case Studies | 7 min read |
Nike's 3D shoe configurator

In today's dynamic business landscape, one of the biggest challenges faced by brands is how to remain relevant in the face of constantly changing trends, evolving customer preferences, and new technologies. Crafting a marketing strategy that not only adapts to these changes but also stays true to the brand identity is a daunting task that many brands struggle with. However, there are some brands that not only survive but also thrive and achieve exceptional success. One such brand is Nike.

The iconic sportswear brand has been in the industry for decades, and it continues to live up to its motto of being a brand that just does it, whatever it takes, to stay ahead of the competition. But how does Nike manage to achieve this feat? The answer lies in the brand's innovative approach to product development and marketing. One of the cool tools that Nike employs to stay relevant and ahead of the game is the use of 3D product configurators.

A 3D product configurator is a digital tool that allows customers to customise a product's features, such as colour, style, and materials, using a three-dimensional interface. By leveraging technology such as 3D product configurators in Nike By You, the sportswear brand creates personalized and engaging experiences for its customers. Nike's ability to stay relevant and ahead of the game is a testament to its commitment to innovation and its understanding of its customers' evolving needs and preferences.

However, to understand how Nike uses the 3D product configurator to stand out from the crowd, we need to start at the beginning.

How It All Started…

Nike has been one of the world's leading athletic apparel and footwear brands for decades. But what sets Nike apart from its competitors is its proactive approach to embracing modern-day technologies. The brand is constantly disrupting itself and its marketing technologies to stay ahead of the competition and maintain its position as an ever-evolving global brand. This can be traced back to 2000 when Nike launched an initiative called Nike ID.

If you think Nike recently started offering its customers an opportunity to personalise their shoes, think again. Back in 2000, Nike ID was an initiative that allowed customers to customise their shoes. It was a major step forward in the world of athletic footwear, allowing customers to design shoes that reflected their unique style and preferences. Nike ID quickly became a hit, and the brand continued to innovate with its personalisation options.

But Nike didn’t just stop at that. It continued to evolve, and the brand embraced advanced technologies and tools in its attempt to stay relevant. These tools turned out to be a game changer.

How 3D Product Configurators Gave Nike An Edge

In 2018, the brand decided to switch things up a bit. It decided to rebrand the Nike ID initiative to Nike By You, which used a 3D product configurator. And this is what happened:

Increased Revenue

The revamped website to accommodate Nike By You used 3D product configurators to give customers an even more immersive and personalised experience. Customers could now view the shoes in 360-degree views and customise every inch of the shoe, including the swoosh symbol. The configurator uses 3D modeling software to create a realistic representation of the shoe, allowing customers to zoom in on specific shoe areas to see details such as stitching and texture. This level of personalisation and understanding of the product helped Nike boost sales and increase customer loyalty. In fact, Nike’s revenue increased from $36,397 million to $46,710 in just a span of 4 years. Now, that’s how you do it!

Increased Website Traffic

By embracing 3D product configurators, Nike allowed its customers to create unique, personalised products that they feel more connected to. Nike was no longer just a brand that sold athletic footwear, but a brand that offered a highly customised and personal shopping experience to each and every customer worldwide. This has helped Nike stay ahead of the curve, as more and more consumers are looking for personalised products that speak to their individual tastes and preferences. To further emphasise just how much Nike’s customers love the brand, a study shows that the brand’s website gets over 60 million visits per month, and 7 minutes is the average time a visitor spends on the page.

Reduced Return Rate

One of the major challenges of the footwear industry is that the return rate for shoes is around 27%, and according to Nike’s US customer service team, over 500,000 customers complain about purchasing the wrong shoe. To combat this issue, the brand came up with the master plan of combining two technologies: a 3D product configurator and an augmented reality tool. Customers can now not only find the right shoe size using Nike Fit but also use Nike By You to co-create shoes that reflect their unique personality. Nike leverages the endowment effect to build customer loyalty and reduce returns.

Increased Customer Retention

In addition to all of the above, the 3D product configurator has also allowed Nike to be more agile and responsive to customer demands. Because the technology is easily adjustable and updatable, Nike can quickly respond to changes in customer preferences and market trends. This has helped the brand stay relevant and be on top of trends. The use of 3D product configurators has also helped the brand build stronger relationships with its customers. By allowing customers to create highly personalised products, the brand has been able to connect with customers on a more emotional level, building brand loyalty and increasing customer retention.

Improved Customer Data

And to top it all off, the 3D product configurator that Nike By You uses allows Nike to collect data on customer preferences. By analyzing customers' choices when designing their shoes, the evergreen sportswear brand gains insights into which colours, materials, and styles are most popular. This data can then be used to inform future product development and marketing strategies.

When it comes to evolving the 3D product configurator, Nike is trying its best to leave no stone unturned. A testament to that would be its partnership with artists and designers to create exclusive collections for Nike By You, such as the recent collaboration with artist Tom Sachs, KAWS, and Virgil Abloh. This gives customers more options to choose from and play around with, especially when it comes to creating designs that stand out.

Wrapping Up…

You gotta hand it to Nike; it's always on top of its game. It's not just the 3D product configurator in Nike By You that's making them stand out, it's also their ability to keep up with changing times, technology, and trends. That's probably why they're still one of the coolest brands out there, even though they started way back in 1964. Nike has created a space that's hard to replace, leaving the competition in the dust. They know what the young crowd wants, and boy, do they deliver it with style. It's no wonder they're considered to be one of the most youth-oriented brands out there despite being 59 years old! All in all, Nike's got their finger on the pulse of the market, and they're not letting go anytime soon.

If you’re a brand that wants to take a page out of Nike’s success story and integrate 3D product configurators in your marketing strategy, then Exhibit 360 is the place for you. We provide unique and innovative 3D product configurator solutions that will help you increase conversions, better communicate with your customers and reduce returns. Contact us to learn more.

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