Adidas – Is an ecommerce only strategy a good idea?


Last week wednesday I read an article on CNBC who did an interview with Kasper Rorsted (Chief Executive at Adidas). Rorsted stated that Adidas are looking to quadruple its ecommerce revenue by 2020.

Now that in itself is nothing spectacular for a company such as Adidas. However, he stated that Adidas will primarily focus its attention on digital channels. He went as far as to say that it would leave TV-Advertising behind entirely.

As much as I personally applaud the fact that a strong brand is willing and able to invest in digital as their primary source for customer acquisition, I find it somewhat troubling to focus only on one channel.


What makes for a solid marketing mix?

Now a lot can be said for digital advertising. It is measurable, the ROIs are plannable and its granularity is unparalleled. Yet one thing Rorsted said troubles me a little; “It’s clear that the younger consumer engages with us predominantly over the mobile device” (K. Rorsted)

As much as this might be true, I highly doubt that the statement reflects the customer demographics of Adidas. Nor does it reflect the socio-demographics of “all online users”.

The last few years there has been a clear shift towards the middle age groups in terms of socio-demographics on the internet. The generation that is currently between 29-34 is by far the highest represented on the largest  social media networks.

Digital Engagement is key for us; you don’t see TV advertising anymore – Kasper Rorsted said

This age demographics can not really be described as youngsters. Next to that, the age demographic with the highest online purchasing power is somewhere between 35-45 (in fashion).

Now as much as I love my online marketing channels, I also know that a solid marketing mix is key to longterm success. More and more pure online players (i.e.: Zalando & Amazon) are looking to invest in brick mortar stores and are gaining mainstream popularity through traditional offline channels.


The future of TV

With smart TVs on the rise and TV apps becoming more engaging / smarter, I would personally not write this medium off just yet. TV still has an overall penetration rate of around 75% of the total population.

The cross-medial channel integration of online and TV can work really well for certain business models. I hope that we will see a stronger blend of native advertising and TV in the near future. We need to make TV commercials relevant for the customer (again) and make sure that the channel break is as seamless as possible. Realtime TV in-app purchases could be a true dealbreaker in the future.

We should embrace the possibilities of that beautiful large screen that TV presents us with, and I would not write it off just yet. As a communication and branding channel it might be too expensive at the moment, but we need to use our digital knowledge to make advertising on TV sexy again.


I would not write TV off just yet

All in all, I personally believe that it comes down to the business model and fashion (in my opinion) can benefit strongly from a multi-channel marketing approach. What is important however, is to work with the data of each and every channel.

A multi-channel strategy fuels cross-platform buys and it is a little bit more tricky to derive its ROI entirely. But as cross-device tracking becomes better and more advanced, we should embrace all channels at our disposal.

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out for Adidas. Kasper Rorsted did a fantastic job at Henkel in the last few years with its digital marketing strategy. So if anyone can pull it off, it is surely him. Digital fashion is growing fast and it has evolved well in the last few years. One thing is for sure, TV is not where it should be right now. The media companies as well as Samsung, Philips, Google, Apple and friends need to act fast – and step up their game, or they will miss the digital boat.

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