Nike buys custom fit start-up

NikeNike has taken another step towards modernising its offer, announcing the acquisition of 3D scanning start-up Invertex in a move that will allow it to deliver measure-to-fit services online.

The Israeli based computer vision firm was bought for an undisclosed sum and is Nike’s second acquisition in recent months following its purchase of consumer data business Zodiac in March.

Invertex found David Bleicher has previously the technology as a “mass customisation” tool that enables customers to fit products to customers online through mobile applications that scan shoppers bodies.

The business has also launched a smart mat product that uses maching learning to scan feet in-store and achieve what the business calls “unprecedented” levels of sizing reccomendations.

Nike said the deal would deepen its digital capabilities at a time when it is rushing to capitalise on growing demand for online experiences.

“The acquisition of Invertex will deepen our bench of digital talent and further our capabilities in computer vision and artificial intelligence as we create the most compelling Nike consumer experience at every touch point,” said Nike Chief Digital Officer, Adam Sussman.

Nike said Bleicher and his team will focus on “ground breaking innovations” under the Nike umbrella.

“Nike’s connection to and understanding of their consumer is unsurpassed and we look forward to joining their team to help drive the Consumer Direct Offense,” Bleicher said of the deal.

Online sales of sneakers in the US have been growing but are relatively subdued compared to other categories, according to Statista data.

Bleicher believes that this is because of a lack of easy to use sizing tools online.

The move is part of a concerted effort from Nike chief executive Mark Parker to bolster the sneaker giant’s digital credentials at a time when competitors such as Adidas are investing heavily in their own online capabilities.

“While we’re constantly building these skills in-house, we’re also acquiring capabilities to accelerate our strategy,” Parker said in an earnings call in March when it acquired Zodiac.

The Nike executive team believes its digital initiatives will drive its recently charted “triple double” growth strategy to double its e-commerce revenues over the next five years and generate over 50 per cent of its revenue from new platforms by 2022.

“The consumer today expects a premium experience, with innovative product and services delivered faster and more personally,” Parker said when announcing the strategy. “Fuelled by a transformation of our business, we are attacking growth opportunities through innovation, speed and digital to accelerate long-term, sustainable and profitable growth.”

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