Nike today confirmed that it will start selling products on Amazon.com, starting with “a limited Nike product assortment,” setting aside its longtime reluctance in a sign that working with the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is increasingly unavoidable for the world’s major brands.
The confirmation by Nike CEO Mark Parker followed a report by the Wall Street Journal that Amazon had agreed to better police counterfeit and third-party sales of Nike products.
“In the US, we’re executing a new pilot with Amazon with a limited Nike product assortment,” Parker said on Nike’s earnings conference call today.
He added, “As we do with all of our partners, we’re looking for ways to improve the Nike consumer experience on Amazon by elevating the way the brand is presented and increasing the quality of product storytelling. We’re in the early stages, but we look forward to evaluating the results of the pilot.”
The timing of the pilot isn’t clear, but the Journal reported previously that Amazon has notified third-party sellers that they’ll need to stop offering certain Nike products as of July 13.
Why the limited pilot? Reuters explains that the move brings plenty of risk for Nike: “Amazon’s no-frills site layout is all about easy transactions and serving up the lowest prices. Amazon offers a price-matching guarantee, for instance, and Nike could be pressured into aggressively discounting what it sells on the site. The scenario runs counter to Nike’s longtime mission of maintaining a premium, tightly controlled image.”
However, given Amazon’s dominance of e-commerce, it appears Nike couldn’t appear to ignore the site anymore.