Sportswear giant adidas sees itself as an omnichannel Olympian, building muscle and speed into its digital strategy with performance-enhancing technology. This came across loud and clear during a presentation at the Retail Week Tech event in London on 2nd October 2019.
Full of energy and proudly branded-up while speaking from the ‘Retail Re-engineered’ stage, Parag Parekh, vice president of global sales at adidas Group said that retailers “need to grasp the extent to which digital is fundamentally changing the way consumers behave and the way we must work”.
The sheer volume of online sales – he predicts over $4billion revenue for adidas online in 2020 – requires a new approach to offering customers digital experiences that are relevant, exciting and fast. He explained how the complex business structure of the group, split across wholesale, retail and franchising, and ecommerce presents challenges for meeting customer needs. With so many touchpoints, investment in technology and human effort is essential to offer consistently good and on-brand customer experiences.
Consistency across customer touchpoints
“We need to be committed to consumer obsession across all touch points,” said Parekh (pictured left). “Gen Z and Gen Y have very high expectations. So how do we make sure we are present and visible whey they are connecting with us?” Improvements must be delivered at speed. “We want to find and adopt the latest tech quickly to keep pace with change.”
Parekh shared with the audience what he believes makes adidas a leader in this field of global, omnichannel retailing. From fully optimising search and website usability, to supply chain excellence, to offering apps that will streamline and speed up the shopping experience, the focus is on making use of the very latest technology.
adidas has partnered with StationF in Paris – the technology start-up campus which funds and nourishes entrepreneurs. This can lead to fast adoption of emerging digital solutions and apps, said Parekh, and already apps from StationF are being put live at adidas, including Radius8 and the Hero app.
adidas app bridges online and offline
The adidas app now offers seamless one touch ordering, order tracking and timely notifications so that customers know the status of their order all the way through the process. “What it offers needs to continue in store and we have just enabled new elements that can help us deliver the fastest instore experience to our customers,” said Parekh.
Functionality is being developed that will speed up service and reduce down the time it takes to get hold of items. “In store too often the customer asks for a trainer to try and the member of staff disappears for five minutes. That is five minutes of dead time,” said Parekh. “We need to have the instore hardware and connectivity with customers’ devices to cut down that wasted time.” If customers can begin the process of checking for stock availability in the store of their choice via their phone, and reserving it to try when they arrive at the store, this can cut friction from the journey, so is something adidas wants to offer.
Biggest adidas flagship ever opening soon
On October 24th 2019 a spectacular new London flagship will open on 425 Oxford Street, showcasing many new omnichannel features and the latest smart digital technology. Parekh said adidasLDN represents more than just a store, it will be adidas’ leading light for retail, and a place where “Game, Life and World” can be celebrated – the three core pillars of the adidas brand.
adidas on Instagram’s Digital Mall
Alongside Dior, H&M, Burberry and a few others, adiadas’ Instagram app now has in-app checkout. Taking another step towards becoming a digital mall, Instagram introduced implementation of a checkout page earlier this year. Customers can buy products without leaving the Instagram app, and make quick purchases in the future due to payment information storage.
“We are one of the first few brands to go live with Insta checkout,” said Parekh. ”It took us just six weeks to go live, which shows how it’s possible to move with real agility these days when introducing new channel shopping.”
Attendees to this conference session left convinced – this is athletic retailing at its best.