Adidas is about to let its customers become its sellers.
In what the company believes to be the first deal of its kind for a sports brand, Adidas is teaming with Storr, the San Francisco-based online retail marketplace, to allow its best customers to open online stores of Adidas product that they can sell and earn a commission on. The program will become active within the next few weeks.
Storr, which launched in January with 600 accounts, allows people to open their own digital storefronts with just three clicks, and then curate the offering by highlighting their favorite products. They then sell that product to their friends and followers through the app, with the brands taking care of shipping and inventory and the sellers receiving a commission on what they sell.
In the case of Adidas, the brand is inviting about 10,000 of the top customers from its Creators Club to participate in the pilot program. Adidas itself will provide the customers with an assortment of its most popular products from which to choose and they will earn a 6 percent commission on what they sell. For the launch, it will be women’s only merchandise from the Adidas Originals and Outdoor lines. Other products may be added down the road.
“We want to enable the consumer to shape their journey with our brand,” said Chris Murphy, senior director of digital activation for Adidas. And by working with Storr, it “allows our consumer to do some of the driving.”
Murphy said this program tests the traditional retail model and embraces the idea that people are more apt to buy something if it’s recommended by a friend.
The Storr model takes that idea a bit further by allowing consumers to create their own environment for the brand and post the store to their social channels, Murphy said.
In addition to earning the commission, participating customers also have the option to donate proceeds from the sales to Girls on the Run, a charity that Adidas supports that help girls reach their full potential.
Adidas’ Creators Club was launched last year and is a free membership program with millions of participants who accumulate points based on their purchases, their writing and posting of reviews of Adidas product and their attendance at company events. There are tiers within the Creators Club and rewards include early access to hyped product, sporting events, etc.
Murphy said the opportunity to be involved in Storr is being viewed as “an additional reward.” The company hopes to roll this out to additional consumers in the future.
Adidas also works with influencers, celebrities and athletes to promote its products, but this program is more democratic, he said, because “anyone can sell.” Longer term, Murphy said, the chance to create a store on Storr will be expanded to other fans of the brand.
“We keep trying to live the idea of consumer-centricity,” he said. “We take that as a challenge to be different than others in our industry.”
It’s also part of Adidas’ ongoing strategic plan that includes an initiative to “open source.” That is defined as the building of a network of “athletes, creatives, consumers and other partners to help shape the future of sport and sports culture.” Among its highest-profile partnerships is the one launched in 2015 with Kanye West and his Yeezy collection. It has since been expanded to include Beyoncé, James Harden, Parley for the Oceans and other well-known names and companies.