PORTLAND: Digital is playing a key role as Nike's "catalyst for innovation", a trend covering areas from product customisation and sales to customer service, the sports company has revealed.

Mark Parker, its chief executive officer, was elaborating on the opportunities in front of the sports giant while speaking during a third quarter earnings conference call. He identified three ways in which digital was helping the business: digitally-enabled products and services, digital brand connections and ecommerce.

He said that digital had "helped us realize our vision for ecommerce", and that the company's online business had grown by 33% during the last quarter.

Considerable potential remains, he explained, as the brand would be "driving more innovation into the shopping experience, elevating the level of service and expanding customisation online", as well as making it easier to find and buy products.

He also described digital as "the currency we use to invest and grow the business the same way NikeFuel points is the currency of movement we use to inspire athletes".

Charles Denson, the president of Nike Brand, said China would also play an important role in Nike's long-term growth, even if it would take the company time to get things right in that country, requiring an investment both in its brand and the relationship with the customer.

"Our purpose and our opportunity is to create a strong pull market," he declared. "We do that by being the most exciting and relevant brand, the creator of the most important innovation and a source for the most exciting retail."

One of Nike"s more important recent innovations has been its Flyknit technology, which knits polyester yarn into a one-piece running shoe upper that is stretchy, snug and lightweight.

Chief financial officer Donald Blair said: "This technology will allow us to do things we have never ever been able to do before and I think they will continue to resonate at a very high level with consumers."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff