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Nike bets on Instagram to drive shoe sales through interactive site

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April 24, 2013

Nike is leveraging Instagram with a new microsite that not only lets consumers customize their own pair of sneakers, but also shop from their smartphones, tablets and desktops.

The site syncs with a user’s Instagram account and is accessible at http://photoid.nike.com. Nike is using the campaign to push the brand’s line of Nike Air Max sneakers.

“It’s definitely a good idea to take a consumer’s existing photos on Instagram and allow them to reuse them as backdrops for Nike sneakers,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

“It’s much easier to integrate into a mobile Web site than the full Instagram app as the mobile site can easily overlay on the full Instagram site,” he said.

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Nike. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Nike declined to comment for this story.

Design on mobile
Using a picture from an Instagram account, consumers can create custom background pictures that feature Nike’s shoes.

Once consumers pick a photo from their Instagram account, they can choose one of three different shoes — the Nike Air Max 90 iD, Nike Air Max 95 iD or the Nike Air Max 1 iD – for their picture.

The site then uses the Instagram photo to create a color scheme for a shoe that matches the background color.

The shoe can be customized with different colors and a title. It can then be shared via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Additionally, consumers can swipe their finger across the screen to view the shoe from multiple angles.

From there, consumers can click-through to Nike’s mobile or Web site to buy their customized shoe.

Via the site, consumers are walked through an 11-step process to customize each part of their new running shoe. Nike claims that products are shipped to consumers four weeks after an order is placed.

The site is available in the United States, France, Britain, Spain, Germany, China, Italy and Japan.

To help promote the new site, Nike is also leveraging its own Instagram account with a call-to-action at the top of the page and photo posts.

Mobile engagement
According to Nike, Air Max shoes are known as a symbol of self-expression and includes designs that are often reinterpreted.

Therefore, using mobile and social is a great way for consumers to not only create their own designs but also share the company’s products to friends and family.

Additionally, the site is an example of how marketers are increasingly tapping into the unique features of the mobile Web to mimic the rich experiences that are typically associated with applications.

For example, the color recognition feature is a smart way to help inspire users with their own creations.

In this case, a mobile site helps Nike reach a wider group of consumers than an app could.

However, some experts believe that this initiative will be more successful at increasing brand awareness than sales for Nike.

“I suspect that Nike’s objective is simply to get consumers to engage with the brand in a new way and post these pictures to their Instagram followers,” Mr. Buckingham said.

“Perhaps this will generate more awareness and brand recognition and therefore indirectly generate more sales,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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