Adidas Originals is taking a less-is-more approach to digital


Adidas streetwear brand Adidas Originals has made no secret of its bid to have more influence over a bloated customer experience. It will close stores, revise retail partnerships and push further into e-commerce in order to control how more of its products are marketed and sold.

The change has meant retail and digital marketers from its global brand marketing team were merged into one unit earlier this year. It was the start of a realization that while Adidas Originals might have fewer retail platforms, those limited experiences could be better for shoppers.

An app for the Adidas’ sub brand is being considered. Adidas launched its main shopping app last November and since then has taken it to eight countries, with more than 1.5 million downloads, according to its latest earnings report. People are more likely to purchase on the app than they are the site, according to the early feedback, which has led to Adidas Originals’ marketers wondering whether the clothing line needs its own version.

There’s an “opportunity for the Originals brands to have its own app because it gives us an opportunity to speak to a very particular audience but is also part of our ecosystem,“ said Swave Szymczyk, global director of digital and retail marketing at Adidas Originals. “Since bringing retail and digital together we’re really looking at customer acquisition in the stores.”

QR codes are being used by the Adidas Originals team to shake-up sneaker drops. Codes are sent to key influencers inside sneaker boxes that can then be shared with followers who use the code to watch the influencers unbox limited edition shoes.

“We do invest in a lot of research and panels, but we’re also doing more to stay closer to genuine influencers who have networks and understand what’s happening across the market,” said Szymczyk.

It’s a change of pace for the streetwear brand, which has previously tried to be across as many innovations in the space as it can. It left Adidas Originals with a global brand team of specialists in PR, social, online commerce and traditional retail, but without a unified goal behind certain innovations at times, said Szymczyk. He along with agency Intermarketing are working on the plan.

“We know we’re never going to be the cheapest [seller of Adidas products,” said Szymczyk. “There will always be someone who will discount the apparel and that’s fine because its not where we want to win. We want to win on the experience….but we’re not super advanced in the space yet and so we’re having to pick out the really important parts of the customer journey to focus on because we can’t fix everything that’s broken.”

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