Nike has always been at the forefront of digital transformation. Artificial intelligence, e-commerce and in-store experiential technology have been an important part of the brand's strategy for many years. More recently, it has been working to capitalize on the excitement of new concepts such as metaverse and NFT. Nike recently sold a virtual sneaker in the form of an NFT for $134,000.
By the end of 2021, Nike entered the metaverse. Nikeland is the brand's purpose-built metaverse space, which uses the Roblox platform to allow fans to meet, interact, participate in promotions and enjoy a range of brand-related experiences. The brand has also acquired a company that specializes in designing virtual sneakers in the shape of non-fungible tokens (NFT). RTFKT, a French startup that wants to launch digital sneakers that can be worn by avatars in virtual worlds, in Zoom or Google Meet, or displayed in augmented reality through a smartphone.
According to Nike, 7 million visitors have been to Nikeland since its launch in November 2021. They have enjoyed sport celebrity guest appearances as LeBron James, and purchased exclusive digital products to decorate their avatars.
In April 2022, Nike released its first collection of virtual sneakers, called Cryptokicks. This collection included 20,000 different NFTs designed by the artist Takashi Murakami. Each sneaker is associated with an NFT. By purchasing it, you get the right to receive an exclusive digital sneaker from the brand. In this way, Nike seeks to create a bridge between shoe collectors and NFT collectors.
One of these virtual sneakers was recently sold for $134,000. It was bought at auction by an Internet user on OpenSea, one of the main platforms of the ecosystem. The starting price when the collection was launched was $8500.
"The mechanics around NFTs and sneakers are quite similar. Both are created around rarity and limited stocks. It's about community, status and belonging to something," analyzes Jurgen Alker, who runs an NFT studio for Highsnobiety.
Nike is the first brand to demonstrate that a "lifestyle selling" philosophy can work as successfully in the digital world as in the real world