Technology is changing how shoes are sold and owned. Source: Shutterstock

Technology is changing how shoes are sold and owned. Source: Shutterstock

Can e-commerce efforts & blockchain patents guarantee success for Nike?

ANALYSTS believe 2020 will be an exciting year for Nike.

Innovation isn’t a foreign concept to the sports shoe and apparel company, but its efforts in the last few years have put it in a position to really delight customers, engage with them in a meaningful way, and create a sense of excitement and new energy.

Take the company’s most recent patent system and method for providing cryptographically secured digital assets, for example. The patent essentially puts the company in a position to launch ‘CryptoKicks’ or crypto-backed (authenticity guaranteed by blockchain) sports shoes in the future.

The innovation was sparked by the complexities that high-quality footwear brands face in markets flooded by imitation goods — which makes the innovation especially relevant to Asia.

Obviously, the launch of ‘CryptoKicks’ will not only create momentum for the brand but also offer peace of mind to those investing in high-value shoes that can often cost more than US$500.

“When a consumer buys a genuine pair of shoes–colloquially known as ‘kicks’ — a digital representation of a shoe may be generated, linked with the consumer, and assigned a cryptographic token, where the digital shoe and cryptographic token collectively represent a ‘CryptoKick’,” read the patent application.

Nike’s visualization of the innovation indicates that the digital representation may include a computer-generated avatar of the shoe or a limited-edition artist rendition of the shoe.

Technically speaking, the digital asset can also be secured by an encryption-protected block that contains a hash pointer as a link to a related block in a decentralized blockchain, a transaction timestamp, and transaction data.

Using the digital asset, the buyer can securely trade or sell the tangible pair of shoes, trade or sell the digital shoe, store the digital shoe in a cryptocurrency wallet or other digital blockchain lockers.

What’s interesting is that Nike also imagines that the blockchain patent will enable it to allow customers to intermingle or “breed” one pair of digital shoes with another pair of digital shoes to create “shoe offsprings” which will be considered as new, tangible pairs of shoes.

With sneakerheads (enthusiasts) spending more time and money on their collection each year, the breeding that Nike is referring to is expected to be very useful in the digital world, allowing customers to engage with their purchase in video games, social media, and other platforms.

Of course, the average everyday consumer might not be as interested in sneakers guaranteed by the blockchain. However, they’re definitely interested in gaining access to authentic sneakers, which is why the company’s heavy focus on e-commerce is expected to play a big role in its success in 2020.

In China, for example, Nike has partnered with Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Tmall to drive business in the country and delight users who frequent the platform.

Nike also has a partnership with Tencent’s WeChat, the most popular messaging and everyday consumer platform in China.

“Nike’s momentum across geographies, categories and channels is strong. Digital prowess, increasing speed-to-market capabilities, a robust product pipeline and improved offerings in the moderate and better channels are driving top-line growth and margin expansion,” said Susquehanna Financial Group Analyst Sam Poser about Nike recently.

The answer to the question “Can e-commerce efforts & blockchain patents guarantee success for Nike?” therefore seems to be a loud, resouding “Yes”! 2020 will be exciting for Nike’s fans and customers.