Nike takes steps to bolster site

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Athletic retail giant Nike has undergone the first major renovation of its online store since the 1999 launch, seeking deeper product storytelling, faster functionality and enhanced customer service.

Nike, Beaverton, OR, turned to ad agency R/GA, which has worked with clients like L'Oreal Paris, Nokia and Verizon.

"Technology is always evolving, so Nike wanted to evolve, too," said John Mayo-Smith, R/GA chief technical officer. "We are always looking at ways to improve the user experience."

The new retail experience includes a name change to NikeStore.com. New shopping features are available on the site now, and others will be activated in the future.

The site features the latest in Nike shoes for the whole family like the Air Zoom Plus, which runs for $100. It also sells Nike brand clothing like the seamless long-sleeved top for women at $70.

Structurally, the new site is built on the Adobe Flash platform. Nike and R/GA, New York, redesigned and rebuilt the online product catalog to take advantage of Flash. Benefits include faster downloads, expedited checkout, better performance and a smoother, more intuitive user interface than the previous HTML site.

The result is a more dynamic online shopping experience. The most notable change to the interaction is that customers can navigate within the site itself. NikeStore's navigation system assigns each product a set of definitive characteristics such as color, sport category, price and product technology. Users can filter the entire inventory of Nike products, narrowing the 30,000 products on the site to those most relevant. Nike will continue to use the Endeca search platform that powers the current site.

"The e-commerce experience that consumers are having online is much more seamless today," Mr. Mayo-Smith said. "Instead of waiting for an HTML page to load, now things are faster. Nike wanted to stay on the cutting edge."

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