My take on the Nike+ FuelStation. Be sure to read part 1 of this post first.
TOM, 23, LIKES RED STRIPE.
I’d heard a lot about the Nike+ FuelStation on industry blogs, so I was expecting something pretty special from the retail space of the future. As far as I can tell, the main aim is to promote FuelBand, Nike’s electronic motion-sensing wristband. The gadget converts your movement throughout the day into points called ‘NikeFuel’, so you can see how much energy you’ve burned when you sync it with your phone. The band’s special algorithm even distinguishes between different types of activity, so presumably a bit of midnight ‘me-time’ won’t get racked up as an intensive 10-minute sprint (OK, 3-minute sprint).
Anyway, I thought the store itself was, in a word, underwhelming. The interior looked pretty cool, but I couldn’t help feeling that the interactive elements fell flat. The FuelBand guides were essentially electronic brochures on touchscreen tables, and I almost missed the motion activated LED wall in the entrance.
The Kinect-powered fuel pod recorded your movements in a swirly dot matrix pattern (you can see our pathetic display of non-athleticism here which looked impressive, but that’s about it.
I think the problem with FuelStation is the lack of a consistent link to the product and the whole concept of NikeFuel as a way to manage your fitness. It’s like the designers of the experience got so caught up in the technology that they missed some great opportunities to educate customers. For example, the fuel pod could have worked out how much energy you expired during your 30-second video, then given you a NikeFuel score at the end. This would have given users a tangible sense of how the system works, and would have given people more of a reason to share their results.
All in all FuelStation is a nice little brand showcase, but it’s a case of style over substance. A little more thought in the planning process could have made the experience more valuable for Nike and visitors alike.