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Nike's secret weapon against sneaker bots: Augmented reality

From Engadget - September 14, 2017

Earlier this year, Nike began experimenting with AR to sell limited-edition shoes through its SNKRS app for iOS. The implementation was fairly simple: To unlock the sneakers, you just had to go to the product page in the application, tap on a 3D model of them and then point your camera at a menu of David Chang's Fuku restaurant in New York City. (The sneaker being sold was a collaboration with the renowned chef, dubbed the Nike SB Dunk High Pro "Momofuku.") If you did not have access to a physical menu, you also had the option to point your device at a web version of it or special SNKRS posters located across NYC.

When Nike launched the feature, it did not advertise it as a tool to combat bots. But, whether it was intentional or not, AR seems to have helped the cause. According to Heidi O'Neill, president of Nike's direct to consumer business, who spoke at Recode's Code Commerce event on Thursday, the use of the tech in the SNKRS app "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."

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