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Adidas is no longer on the bench

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Retailers are ensuring that the ‘Internet of Everything’ has a place in the sporting world, as fitness apparel is being transformed to keep up with consumer demand.

In this year’s Six Nations rugby championship, 2m rows of data have been fed back to broadcasters, coaches and members of the audience through mobile apps. Tackles, tries and passes can be accounted for, while also informing the team where they are going wrong and how they can improve. The data is provided by cameras, video screens and GPS.

Retailers are the ones that are being pushed to keep up with the growing demand of consumers who want to be in the know, particularly when it comes to sport. Expectations are raised and brand popularity relies on which company is remaining ahead of the game.

The sportswear retailer is fully aware of the industry’s need for innovation and is making 2015 the year to boost its tech expertise. In order to do so, the German brand will be fitting NFC- enabled smartphones into its footwear, sports equipment and apparel. The move will make it easier for Adidas to truly understand what it is that its customers want.

“We won’t recommend them sweaters if they’re in the south and it’s warm and we can actually start to be very specific about how we reach them just through content that’s fully available from them and mashed up in real-time.” said Jon Warner, Innovation Specialist at Adidas.

Once in store, the NFC enabled smartphone will deliver targeted messages. It will also allow the customer to connect to new shoes they are interested in for further information.

Adidas has used NFC chips in the past, on its running shoes, and will explore the technology with its footballs. This will have an impact on influential games, allowing retailers to recognise World Cup balls and the affect they have in big games.

The move is a step in the right direction for the company, which confirmed a net loss of €140m for the final three months up to December 2014, considerably higher than the €10m loss for the fourth quarter of 2013. In a press release the company confirmed that despite its struggles, it will continue to push for further growth:

“The adidas Group is and will remain a growth company. In 2015, we will see sales increases across all our brands, despite tough comparison with the 2014 World Cup year as well as the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine which negatively impacts our business in Russia/CIS”.

After collaborations with fashion designer Stella McCartney and music mogul Kanye West for his Yeezy collection, Adidasis doing all in its power to catch up to industry powerhouse Nike, which saw its revenues up 15% to $7.4m, for its fiscal 2015 second quarter ending November 30, 2014.

Herbert Hainer, CEO of The Adidas Group cited that the company will release its business plan towards the end of the month:

“We will ensure that our bottom line grows faster than our top line. With these improvements, we are laying solid foundations for our new strategic business plan which we will present at the end of March.”

Recognised as an employer of choice in Germany and China by Focus magazine in 2014, Adidas is pushing technology to score the ultimate goal - to make the company the colossus of the sporting world.

Published on Monday 16 March by Rachel Gee

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