A silhouette surrounds Roger Federer's Nike shoes during his fourth round match at the 2018 Australian Open. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
This week, Nike launched a partnership with Facebook that will allow shoppers to take an augmented reality look at pairs of limited-edition sneakers before they decide to buy. Announced at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, the feature uses Facebook’s Messenger app, which is aiming to use augmented reality to help brands reach out to customers.
Shoppers using Messenger can currently link their SNKRS account to the app and reveal Kyrie Irving’s Kyrie 4 Red Carpet sneaks using an emoji passcode. The shoes appear on a virtual platform and can be viewed from any number of angles and also shared with friends and family.
However, Nike fans might not be able to get hold of the $150 red sneakers in reality anytime soon, unless they are willing to pay more on the resale market. The shoes sold out within minutes of Nike and Facebook’s announcement.
Nike’s use of the new Facebook Messenger AR feature is a clear signal of the shoe company’s expanding use of technology to attract and retain customers and make the shopping experience memorable.
The Oregon-based corporation, which counts many of the world’s highest-profile athletes among its brand endorsers, recently developed 3D-printed shoes for a world-class marathoner, acquired computer vision firm Invertex to digitize its shoe customization options, and introduced an interactive sneaker design platform for customers. Nike is likely hoping these recent innovations in their digital approach help lift the company’s sales—it was reported Thursday that German firm Adidas is topping Nike and American rival Under Armour in U.S. sales.