Nike seeks to improve its omnichannel inventory optimization with newly acquired analytics platform Celect.

Nike Inc. announced today that it has acquired analytics platform Celect, which specializes in omnichannel inventory optimization via hyper-local demand predictions.

Celect is a cloud-based platform and has an “intellectual property portfolio across data science and software engineering,” according to Nike’s announcement of the acquisition. The vendor uses foot traffic in stores to improve product allocation, according to its website.

Celect will accelerate Nike’s digital advantage, says Eric Sprunk, Nike’s chief operating officer in the release announcing the acquisition.

“As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data-optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior,” Sprunk says. “This is how we serve consumers more personally at scale.”

The move is critical to Nike’s ambition to scale its personal service to its loyal consumers, says Forrester Research Inc. principal analyst George Lawrie.

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“Nike is one of the world’s leaders in understanding that the era of mass marketing and bulk distribution is at an end,” Lawrie says. “In the era of mass marketing and mass distribution, brands (and retailers) could manage with aggregate data and approximations.”

But now, Lawrie says, retailers and consumer brand manufacturers need to use precision analytics, based on real-time streams of data, in order to accurately anticipate customer demands “and to orchestrate carriers and production sites to meet them,” he says.

Since its launch in 2013, Celect has raised $30.2 million over four funding rounds, with the most recent round in December 2018 for $15 million, according to Crunchbase. Celect investors include August Capital, Activant Capital, Fung Capital and NGP Capital.

Celect has fewer than 50 employees, according to Crunchbase, who Nike says will be immediately integrated into Nike’s global operations team. Celect co-founders Vivek Farias and Devavrat Shah will consult with Nike on an ongoing basis, as well as continue as professors as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nike says. Nike is No. 34 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000

On its website, Celect names several large apparel brands as its clients, including Urban Outfitters Inc. (No. 46), Neiman Marcus (No. 51), Nordstrom Inc. (No. 18), Ralph Lauren Corp. (No. 85), Puma, Aldo (No. 942), The Talbots Inc. (No. 84), Lucky Brand LLC (No. 697) and Aeropostale Inc. (No. 252).

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This is not the first technology vendor acquisition Nike has made, as it acquired computer vision firm Invertex Ltd. in April 2018. The Invertex technology helped power Nike’s new app-based shoe-sizing tool Nike Fit, which it launched in May 2019.

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