Published: Fri, November 15, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Nike calls off pilot program with Amazon

Nike calls off pilot program with Amazon

The Oregon-based company says it chose to end the experiment, in which it sold products on Amazon's website as it focuses on "elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships". "We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally". In addition, Amazon has continued to expand its own in-house brands, often using the success of resellers as a cue to launch its own competing products.

After years of not officially being on Amazon, Nike began offering sneakers and clothing directly on Amazon through the pilot program as it looked to take more control of its brand on the site. But shoppers may not notice a difference: Nike's goods will still be available on Amazon.com, sold by independent sellers that list their merchandise directly on Amazon's marketplace.

Nike may not need Amazon: The company said it wants to focus on selling its swoosh-branded gear on its own site and apps, which has fueled a rise in sales.

"Nike has enormous reach and its products are in demand, so it can afford to be selective about where its products are distributed because customers will come find Nike where it is offered", said Neil Saunders, an analyst at GlobalData Retail. Donahoe, the former CEO of eBay, takes over for departing Nike CEO Mark Parker on January 13. Birkenstock, known for its sandals with soles made of cork, stopped selling directly to Amazon in 2017, unhappy with the amount of the counterfeits on the site and how other sellers were pricing its shoes.

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The announcement was a setback for Amazon, which has been trying to lure big brands to its site.

Shortly after its Amazon pilot began, Nike unveiled plans to overhaul its retail strategy.

In 2017, Nike did business with 30,000 retailers around the world. Nike posted a 42 percent increase in digital sales in its most recent quarter. Nike's participation had signalled that Amazon was taking the concerns of major brands seriously.

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