Nike learns who its customers are11/08/2010
Nike has redefined the shoe market – and it’s global reach is due in part to its innovative use of forward-thinking technology to apply resources wisely across the global enterprise.
One of those technologies is GIS. Information, such as customer and store locations can be placed on a map, and analysed against marketing information – including profiles of areas down to a census block group or customer address.
This approach ensures GIS technology delivers value in applications such as site selection and property management – but also across the broader retail process, from planning and building to buying and shipping products.
Seeing is everything
Nike first licensed GIS from Esri in 1993 for use in the company’s sales department – to help staff management understand where Nike products were being distributed. Being able to visualise this on a map gave new insights into where to distribute product based on demographic information, sales history and other factors, such as where schools with competitive sports teams are located.
Seeing all this information combined visually on a map made the decision-making process more fact-based and easier to communicate throughout the company and to partners.
Beginning in 2003, the sustainable business and innovation department also began using GIS technology to map shoe collection locations for Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program. The technology allowed the company to locate shoe repositories for donations and find communities in need of resurfaced sports courts.
Since the beginning of the Reuse-a-Shoe program, the company has recycled more than 20 million pairs of athletic shoes and contributed to more than 250 sports surfaces. Nike has continued to expand the use of the technology to retail and operational, or commerce, areas of the organisation.
Understanding the market place, one customer at a time
Today, Nike uses Esri Business Analyst software as both a desktop and server-based GIS that can be used over the internet as a secure application. GIS is used to help solve complex business problems across its organisation. Business Analyst provides access to data including geographic, demographic and marketplace information that Nike combines with its own point-of-sale and 'door', or retail store, location data.
Using Business Analyst, Nike’s regional teams map, analyse and share key planning information with other departments. GIS provides added business intelligence to retail marketplace strategy and the evaluation of marketplace return on investment.
The process Nike uses to apply GIS technology is replicable for any location, since the data and tools used are standardised. Using Business Analyst, trade area rings of appropriate size around doors are created and analysed using demographic and other data provided through Business Analyst, along with data points created from internal information, like customer data. Various reports, such as demographic, income and retail expenditure for each area of interest, can be easily created and consolidated into one comprehensive report.
The GIS solution includes a secure internet application, information and tools that are accessible throughout the company and by Nike affiliates, such as Cole Haan, Converse, Hurley and Umbro. Business Analyst users create custom reports via pull-down menus that provide information, such as retail expenditure, market research information for sports participation, and much more.
While affiliates cannot change the base data, they can incorporate their business information, such as their own store locations, and benefit from using the Nike information for their own marketing analysis.
Significant returns with GIS
GIS reduces the time and effort spent on researching information and creating reports. Analysing the data provides new insights and improves the quality and scope of business data.
Moving to server-based GIS ensures that data is shared by the company and the same data is used by everyone. Having the information Nike needs in a central place means reports can be run quickly.
By seeing the existing suite of markets and activities in stores, analysis, such as site selection and market optimisation, is improved. Unlimited access to the data and maps allows global employees to see the same information simultaneously, and it can be shared more broadly across multiple groups.
The road ahead
GIS data and software have provided an effective solution for Nike. Communication has been enhanced, and the ease of use has made sharing information effective. With GIS, Nike has the technology to keep its finger on the pulse of everyday business operations.