Subscription services are all the rage these days. Consumers can get meal kits, clothing, makeup, and even monthly razors. Now, Nike (NKE -0.81%) is stepping into the fray -- just in time for the back-to-school shopping season.
The athletic apparel and footwear giant announced earlier this week that it will debut the Nike Adventure Club -- its first footwear subscription service -- and it's aimed at children. The service will let kids "regularly select Nike and Converse shoes for the right-fitting shoe as their feet -- and tastes -- evolve."
Nike Adventure Club will serve up kids sizes 4C to 7Y, which the company says equates roughly to ages 2 years old to 10 years old. They'll be able to choose from three tiers of service: the least expensive plan offers four pairs of shoes per year at $20 per month, with new shoes arriving every 90 days. The medium tier will supply six pairs of shoes annually, arriving at 60-day intervals for $30 per month. The premier plan -- which the company says is the best value -- will provide 12 pairs of shoes every year, with new shoes arriving every month for a $50 monthly subscription price. This tier will save parents about $10 per pair, on average.
Parents will have the option to upgrade, downgrade, or pause the subscription at any time.
Kids will be able to choose from more than 100 different styles of sneakers across a wide range of offerings from performance to casual to sportswear. Once they get the shoe, they can keep it if they like it. Once they've received a replacement, parents can box the shoes up and send them back. If the shoes don't fit -- a real concern for parents with growing children -- they can send them back for a replacement pair.
The company said that shoes that have been worn as part of the Nike Adventure Club will be assessed once they've been received. Those that are still in good condition will be donated to a nonprofit and given to needy kids. Those shoes that don't have any life left in them will be recycled via Nike's Grind program, which grinds up old athletic shoes and turns them into playgrounds or running tracks. This ensures that used shoes don't end up in the landfill.
"In providing footwear, we're always trying to answer, 'What do kids want?'" said Dominique Shortell, director of product experience and retention for Nike Adventure Club. "But an equally important question is, 'What kind of experience are we providing for their parents?' We want to make shopping for footwear as convenient as possible for them."
Nike is also touting its Peace of Mind guarantee, saying there's one simple monthly fee with no hidden charges, as well as always-free shipping, returns, and exchanges.
An element of fun
That's not all. The subscription service provides a number of enticements to keep kids interested in the program. This includes exclusive adventure guides filled with outdoor games and activities parents and kids can enjoy together. The guides are part of a collaborative partnership between Nike and KaBoom, a nonprofit "focused on encouraging kids to lead active, healthy lifestyles."
Nike says the program provides "easy access to high quality Nike and Converse kicks whenever and wherever you need them -- no more trips to the mall."
Low risk, high reward
The subscription-box space has been increasingly popular with consumers, helping save them the one thing they rarely have enough of -- time. The Nike Adventure Club gives kids a wide variety of choices they can make from the comfort of their own homes. Having a program of this sort is a relatively low-risk venture for Nike and might convert non-Nike customers with its ease and convenience.
Who knows? If the program is popular with kids, Nike might just expand the program to the adult sneaker-heads.