Nike launches a marketplace to collect virtual products

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Diving Brief:

  • Nike dives deeper into the virtual with the beta launch of a virtual product platform and creations, the company announced Monday. Registration to join .Swoosh begins in November, and Nike will invite a larger group of people to join over the course of the year.
  • The platform is powered by Web3 – the concept of a new blockchain-based version of the internet – and allows Nike members to collect and co-create virtual items like jerseys and shoes. Several reports indicate that the platform will also allow trading, but Nike did not respond to requests for comment on the feature.
  • Nike will launch a digital collection through the platform in 2023, based on customer feedback. The athletics retailer has developed a unique domain name for the effort, welcome.swoosh.nike, which it says will “ensure a safe and trusted space.”

Overview of the dive:

Nike’s new Web3 effort bills itself as a digital community, but it also serves as a sort of marketplace for shoppers to collect and potentially trade virtual goods.

Nike plans to launch digital collections on the platform, starting next year, that shoppers can wear in games and digital experiences. A select number of loyal members will also be able to design virtual items alongside Nike and earn royalties on the products they help create.

The athletics retailer is also pushing access to real-world events and products as a market advantage. Shoppers can get special access to physical products in select cases, and also receive invites to events, including “intimate conversations” with Nike athletes and designers.

Nike’s approach to building community emphasizes diversity, the retailer said. The company will invite its members to join local communities supported by Nike’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as a priority. It starts with the United States and some countries in Europe, and the chosen members will also receive a “skills boost” from Nike so that they are “ready to participate”.

“The goal: to broaden the definition of sport – and serve its future – by democratizing the web3 experience so that everyone can collect, create and own a piece of this new digital world,” the retailer said in its statement.

As the retail world and its consumer base learned more about the metaverse, Nike and others embarked on digital experiences. The retailer last year has partnered with Roblox on an interactive space called Nikelandwhich included a series of games as well as the ability to try out virtual hardware. Roblox has been a popular starting point for brands looking to interact with an active group of young customers in a virtual setting. As marketing efforts in the space evolve, retailers are increasingly linking their virtual experiences to real-world benefitsincluding physical products, discount codes and access to events.

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