August 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

New NIKEiD site turns athletes into artists

NIKEiD, the division of sportswear and apparel retailer Nike that allows athletes to customize their gear has re-launched its web site, giving consumers more options to personalize their apparel and footwear and more ways to see items before they buy.

NIKEiD, the division of sportswear and apparel retailer Nike that allows athletes to customize their gear has re-launched its web site, giving consumers more options to personalize their apparel and footwear and more ways to see items before they buy.

Nike, No. 47 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide , says the beefed-up site, NikeiD.com, offers new design tools and more customizable products. Shoppers can now personalize over 100 products including bags, footwear, and apparel and can do so in more ways, DJ VanHameren general manager for NikeiD tells Internet Retailer.

For example, consumers can now choose from several different types of cleats for soccer footwear, such as spikes suited for softer or firmer ground, select from narrow, medium or wide widths and purchase shoes in larger sizes. Sports enthusiasts also can see a 360-degree rotation of their creations, see products in different light, view shoe heels side-by-side to better see the ID they’ve chosen and view such details as stitching and fabric texture. Consumers also can choose to walk through a step-by-step customization procedure or design on their own without following a guide.

The new site, designed with the help of R/GA, a marketing services agency, also hosts an online community where shoppers can browse custom-made footwear created by visitors from across the globe. Shoppers can scan the community by color palette or by a theme-such as Michael Jordan. And, a My Locker section lets consumers house finished designs and those in the works to access later.

“We really thought about how we could make the product look as good as possible on a computer screen,” VanHameren says. “We’ve really tried to romance the product. The only thing you can’t do is try it and smell it.”

NikeiD also offers a widget that users can add to their desktops to view a sampling of the designs created at Nike’s New York-based NikeiD studio.

About 3 million unique visitors come to the NikeiD site each month, VanHameren says, and about 70% of NikeiD customers are under 21. Since 2004 VanHameren says the e-commerce web site’s sales have tripled. Nike won’t release NikeiD revenues.

NikeiD launched in 1999. This is its second re-design. Its first was in 2005.

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