How Nike is fighting off bots and counterfeiters

Nike doesn’t want consumers to “feel like they’ve lost.”

Nike is looking out for sneakerheads fighting to land a pair of the hottest shoes on release day.

That’s according to Heidi O’Neill, who leads Nike’s direct consumer business and claims that the retailer is successfully stemming the tide of bots that try to secure every possible pair of sneakers and resell them for a profit.

A new program on one of Nike’s apps that uses augmented reality “has come very close to eliminating bots — and taking the sneaker hunt [to] as close to a fair game that I think it is anywhere in the industry.”

“We don’t want to disappoint,” she said onstage at Code Commerce in New York City. “While it’s a game, we don’t want our members and people who love the brand and love sneakers to feel like they’ve lost.”

Bots might try to resell the shoes on third-party platforms like Amazon. Other sellers could try and cash in on counterfeit items. Nike historically was a prominent holdout from Amazon’s site, but O’Neill said NIke’s new pilot program with Amazon was succeeding in reducing the number of resellers.

“We’ve elevated the Amazon experience,” she said. “That is both through the lens of the reseller as well as how they experience the Nike brand.”

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