Why is Nike targeting my kids?

Did you know that Nike is launching a Netflix-style monthly subscription for kids’ sneakers?

It’s called the ‘Nike Adventure Club’, it’s aimed at two-year-olds to 10-year-olds, and it kicked off in the US last week.

There are three tiers of subscription: $20, $30 or $50 a month. Meaning that parents who sign up get a brand-new pair of sneakers once a month, once every two months or once every three months respectively.

Sidenote:

What kid needs a new pair of Nike sneakers each month?

When I was a boy, I scored my older cousin’s Dunlop Volleys. Problem was they were about four sizes too big, which meant that every so often I’d kick the footy and my shoe would fly off and hit my cousin in the short and curlies.

When I protested to Dad, he got on his knees and pressed down on the empty toes of my shoes: “Plenty of room to grow into these”, he cheerfully announced.

(Nowadays my wife worries that our 18-month-old doesn’t have enough ‘arch support’. But I digress.)

Marketers are following the lead of tech companies and moving to subscription-based payments.

Today you can pay a monthly subscription for Amazon books, but what about renting your bookshelf?

Well, you can.

Ikea has announced it’s trialling a furniture rental subscription service across 30 countries. (Which makes perfect sense, especially if you’re a renter. When your lease ends you can just hand back your hacked-together bed, rather than throwing it out or trying to sell it on Gumtree for a few bucks.)

Businesses are clearly attracted to subscriptions for the lucrative recurring revenue: why bother going through the costly exercise of selling to the same customers over and over again, when you can charge them a small monthly fee?

Case in point: scrappy start-up Dollar Shave Club took a razor to global giant Gillette by launching a monthly shaver subscription. They quickly signed up 3.2 million customers to a monthly autobill, and in less than five years sold the business for a cool $1 billion to Unilever.

The final reason businesses like subscriptions is that they build a deeper relationship with the consumer:

“One of the things [Nike CFO] Andy Campion gets excited about, is that we are now building relationships with kids from two years old”, says Dave Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.

Okay, so that’s next level corporate creepy (hello, Dollarmites).

Then again, these guys really do ‘Just Do it’: their $60 kiddie shoes really only cost about $2, and are probably sewn together by Nike’s other youth-based stakeholders … dirt-poor Bangladeshi kids working in sweatshops.

Whatever the motivation, one thing is clear: subscriptions are here to stay.

Tread Your Own Path!