Wholesale or partner retail has historically been a major revenue driver for Nike. Among, today more than 30,000, retail partner that generate around 70% of Nike’s business, there are just a handful of accounts that bring in a lion share of the wholesale business and as such are considered as strategic accounts. The Parreto rule or the “80-20” applies in Nike’s case as well, so 20% of partners generate about 80% of the business in each territory (North America, EMEA, APAC).
In a very brand driven business and organization like Nike, brand function, brand strategy and branding execution has a prominent position that permeates all aspects of business operations. Given the importance of brand and branding and importance of wholesale as a channel – it’s not surprising that Nike established a dedicated (digital) brand team and department solely focused on brand support of wholesale partners. In 2013, being early to recognize the growth promise of online and e-commerce sales and being on the forefront of trends, Nike organizes a digital brand support department for whoelsale.com partners. The department’s single mission was driving digital brand business growth of wholesale partners with nascent e-commerce capabilities and partnering with, then only emerging, today, sport and fashion online retail powerhouses. This newly formed, almost start-up like, team was tasked with continuous digital brand enablement of category’s growth and sales targets with individual and group accounts across Western Europe. To be able to operationalize brand strategy execution in a context of a complex global organization implementing centralized global branding and diverse and extensive network of wholesale partner network there were two significant structural transformations to be made. First, centralization of digital brand management and execution and, second, tiering of wholesale partner’s branding support.
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