Adidas selective strategy is not for everybody

There is a recent discussion about the selective strategy of Adidas. Many retailers are angry, because they do not get all products, some of them will be sold exclusively through Adidas own online-shop and selected Partners, like Zalando (Germany).

To smooth the heated discussion, Adidas offers an affiliate-partner program, through which retailers can channel prospective customers to Adidas’ online-shop.

This is, of course, a bad deal.

Not only would the (online) retailer lose conversion, he also loses other sales-opportunities now (the customer maybe would have bought other products from other manufacturers) but also later: customer-live-time-value is ZERO.

Let us not forget that, three years ago, Adidas was much more aggressive in the past, disallowing their retail partners to sell on online platforms like Amazon until German antitrust authorities intervened. In other words: they changed from maximum selectiveness back in the day to partial selectiveness now.

This strategy is not for everybody.

Parador, the German manufacturer of wooden flooring closed his online-shop for end-consumer in 2016 just shortly after re-opening. The pressure of retail-partners was too strong.

Despite all the discussion about branded manufacturers selling directly, it is often overlooked that a real competitive online sales strategy is only for very strong brands that are not so easily listed out and have a high and regular demand with big shopping cart tickets (apparel).

For other brands that do not fit into this category it is critical to first establish an oversight and then to weight opportunities and risks to develop a fitted and balanced approach.


Leave a Reply