How Nike Is Rethinking Membership Offerings on Mobile Platforms

The athletic apparel giant has been making a big brand play on mobile in recent months and is banking on a mixture of content and rewards to drive engagement. This week, it added some outside partners to the mix.

Nike may be best known for its shoes, its logo, and its athletic apparel, but it could be on the cusp of gaining a new rep among membership pros—as an example of what to do on mobile.

The company, which has built a massive mobile audience in recent years, has gained momentum through its NikePlus activity-tracking service, which has expanded from its roots as an iPod add-on to a robust consumer offering that includes discounts for consumers, special perks in retail stores, and apps that offer guided runs, personalized training, and content.

And now, Nike is going further to underline the value of membership. Last year, it announced its NikePlus Unlocks rewards program, which initially offered Nike-specific perks. This week, it’s bringing on a variety of new reward partners, including Apple Music, the mindfulness service Headspace, and the education service ClassPass.

Its best feature may be the completely on-brand way you earn those rewards: through gamification, specifically through workouts.

“For the first time, we’ll be acknowledging that sweat equity and translating that into actual rewards,” the company’s Gillian Almy told Fast Company.

Nike has run similar programs for years, but as TechCrunch reports, its approach has diversified over the past year as the company has doubled down on its app game.

According to Nike Chief Digital Officer Adam Sussman, quoted in an investor document from October 2017 [PDF], the company has increased membership by 30 percent, to more than 100 million members. Sussman said Nike is aiming high in the next five years, hoping to triple its reach, because of the business impact the membership offering has.

“We also know that membership drives significant value,” he noted. “NikePlus members who shop via our mobile apps spend 3x the amount that guests spend on”

Perhaps it makes sense that a sporting goods company has a strong mobile game.

(Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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