Nike has unveiled a new version of its activity tracking app, called Nike+, which now offers a coaching feature for people at various fitness levels as well as an online, personalized store that consumers that tailors the shopping experience for Nike products to the user.
“Today showcases a breadth of innovation that only Nike can deliver,” Nike President and CEO Mark Parker said in a statement. “It represents a fundamental shift in how we serve the athlete. We’ve entered a new era of personalized performance. Athletes want more than a dashboard and data – they want a more personal relationship, one that gives them real solutions and total access to the best product and services.”
The new app will offer a personalized feed that recommends products that are personalized to the user’s athletic regimen. It will also provide users with coaching that accommodates the user’s schedule.
In the last few years, there has been a growing trend of retailers, especially athletic apparel companies, using health apps as marketing channels to sell their wares to users. Nike was one of the first retailers to get into digital health with its Nike+iPod partnership with Apple back in 2006. MobiHealthNews has been tracking Nike+ for nearly seven years.
But since then, a number of apparel companies have bought their way into digital health. In 2013, Under Armour acquired fitness tracking app company MapMyFitness and two years later, Under Armour spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire three other apps, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, and Gritness, which was a much smaller, quieter deal.
Shortly after Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness, that company's co-founder and VP of Innovation Strategy Kevin Callahan said in an interview that Under Armour would use his company's work out data to help them sell apparel.
And within the last year, two other apparel brands acquired fitness apps. In August 2015, Adidas acquired Austrian fitness app and device company Runtastic. Then, last month, Boston-based FitnessKeeper, maker of the Runkeeper app, announced an agreement to be acquired by Japanese apparel and running shoe company Asics.
"Partnering with Asics to fulfill [our] vision together makes a ton of sense," Runkeeper founder and CEO Jason Jacobs wrote in a Medium post at the time. "We both have deep roots in and focus on running as a core component of the fitness experience. There is strong alignment between our brands and core values. And from people using our Shoe Tracker feature in the app, we know that Asics shoes are by far the ones that Runkeeper users run in the most!"