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“We have to anticipate demand”: Nike acquires predictive analytics firm

Sportswear giant Nike has acquired a predictive analytics firm called Celect, a move that it says will support its customer direct offensive strategy, which is a company-wide effort to leverage the power of digital to drive growth.

Using its cloud-based analytics platform, Celect will allow Nike to optimise its inventory across its omnichannel environment by delivering hyper-local demand predictions.

“With the acquisition of Celect, Nike greatly accelerates our digital advantage by adding a platform developed by world-class data scientists,” Eric Sprunk, Nike’s chief operating officer, said.

“As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data-optimised and hyper-focused on consumer behaviour. This is how we serve customers more personally at scale.”

The Celect team is to be integrated into Nike’s global operations team, while its co-founders will serve as consultants moving forward.

Celect chief executive John Andrews said the team was excited to be joining the global sportswear business.

According to CNBC, Nike opted to acquire Celect on the basis that it would take them two to three years to create a similar product in-house.

“It’s really difficult work… predicting the retail shopping patterns and behaviour … This [acquisition] gets us much more accelerated,” Sprunk told CNBC.

“We have to anticipate demand. We don’t have six months to do it. We have 30 minutes.”

The deal will bolster Nike’s direct-to-consumer offer by allowing it to better understand consumer demand, and predictively provide stock based on more localised purchasing behaviour.

A report from e-commerce consultancy Practicology found Nike, and Nespresso, have industry leading direct-to-consumer approaches.

According to the report, Nike’s direct-to-consumer sales are growing substantially quicker than those through its wholesale channel due to exclusive and personalised product ranges, alongside editorial-style content that positions Nike as an expert in the field. 

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