Athletics News

Five Suggestions for NIKE as they Return to Running Retailers

Coffee with Larry, Monday, October 17, 2022...thoughts on a misspent youth

This is a Larry Rant, in text form, on NIKE’s return to actual retail.

Five Suggestions for NIKE as they Return to Running Retailers

NIKE announced to analysts this week that they would ‘elevate’ their relationships with running retailers. We at RunBlogRun find that decision quite satisfying. Still, as a public service, because most folks at NIKE with a history of seeing cycles of love and loathing in Running Retail are gone, fired, or retired, we would humbly like to offer five suggestions:

1. NIKE needs an ambassador for Running Retail. About fifteen years ago, NIKE was about to be kicked out of the Running Event. Retailers were so tired of the lack of interest that NIKE was showing at the running retail culture that they wanted them out of their most important trade event. If it had not been for Freddy Doyle, a long-term NIKE employee (top 20 GBTC marathoner with 2:20 PB) and a guy who could get the devil and Michael the Archangel to have a beer. NIKE needs someone who gets running, understands the NIKE culture, and has the ear of management- that is simple.

2. NIKE needs to create a product unique to Running Retail. Colors, launches, and exclusive products can be purchased by brick-and-mortar stores and ON THEIR WEBSITES. Help make their sites sticky and build content that can ONLY be found on running retail sites. Think out of the box. NIKE needs people in their marketing teams who understand running and know and are not intimidated by running culture.

3. NIKE needs to go old school. Hold on-site media events for running. Acting like Running really matters. Bring in running media, not just content creators who make NIKE happy; they need critical shoe reviewers. Provide them access to the product, listen, and take notes.

4. NIKE must act as if running retail is the ONLY way to truth and enlightenment. NIKE has screwed this pooch several times now. General George Patton noted that he was not good with paying for real estate twice. Why does NIKE do this every 7 years, where they forget that running gave them their start? HOKA, ON, and Brooks do this each and every day. They work very hard to ensure retailers know they need them and will work hard to keep them.

5. NIKE needs to listen to real runners again. That means speaking to coaches, athletes, and retailers who did not use
NIKE. NIKE needs to hear the bad stuff, which will be terrible. Phil Knight is a beautiful example. He hired the late John Slusher, Sr., who so annoyed Knight that he noted,…

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