Adidas Gives Competitors a Run for Their Money

Discussion
Aug 19, 2010

By George Anderson

A new Adidas store in Tokyo is looking to put competitors back on their heels with a concept that makes them part of the regular training routine for Japanese consumers.

According to a report on the Tokyo Weekender site, Adidas Runbase not only features the latest in shoes and clothing from the company, but also provides 248 lockers in the store that consumers can rent to leave their street duds as they go for a jog. When the run is over, consumers can use one of 16 showers on the premises.

The store has also adjusted its hours, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 10 at night, to better serve serious runners. "The Runbase is more than a branded locker room; expert staff are at hand to provide guidance on which equipment is best for you, and its location near the Imperial Palace means you will be in good company, as the area is the most popular place to jog in the city," according to Tokyo Weekender.

Adidas is not the only or first sportswear firm to open a store based on engaging the consumer on an experiential level.

New Balance opened its Experience Store in Shanghai in February. Among its marketing initiatives, the store is sponsoring 6K races in six major cities across China this year, according to FreshnessMag.com. The event includes activities that meet the needs of runners at all levels.

Discussion Questions: Are experiential concept stores the future of retailing? Does the Runbase concept have legs (groan, we know)?

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9 Comments on "Adidas Gives Competitors a Run for Their Money"


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Anne Howe
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Alas, I am only a walker who lives in the ‘burbs, but if I lived in the crowded city this retail concept would be super useful. I believe experiential retail has a lot of potential in the US, especially when it provides real service to the shopper. This concept could definitely increase footsteps into the store (couldn’t resist) and isn’t that what retail is essentially all about?

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Experience stores are fun for consumers, so they are welcomed, but they are expensive to operate. They will remain novelties, but be important to building brand image.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

It’s a fabulous idea but I can’t see US retailers adopting it for 3 reasons:

1) It takes up valuable real estate
2) Retailers have a hard enough time cleaning up 1 toilet stall…how are they going to keep locker rooms and showers clean?
3) It will cost too much to maintain (see #2 above).

I don’t see any ROI here.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
10 years 8 months ago

I think Adidas is right on the money here–experiential retailing is the direction for several shopper segments. Apple’s success is tied in great measure to their stores, where shoppers try out, discuss, compare, connect, and revisit. Things that interest can engage shoppers on a continuing basis. Having a comfortable gathering place for like minded people with lockers and showers, knowledgeable staff, easy to shop and purchase–and a great place to run–this can work in many urban centers.

David Rich
Guest
David Rich
10 years 8 months ago

I think we will see more stores try to create experiences like this one. In order to make shopping a destination experience, retailers need to do more than just stock rooms with products. Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in Austin, TX, Mellow Johnny’s, actually operates in a similar manner as this Adidas store. There are lockers for cyclists in store and a cafe to sit down, refuel and chat with other bikers. It’s all about creating a community in this retail age.

Doug Fleener
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I love the concept, and I think that this is a great example of how stores and brands can engage a customer beyond the typical transactional approach. While I’m sure Adidas won’t be retrofitting every one of their stores with lockers, I do think it shows that Adidas is thinking of how to be more relevant in their customer’s life. That’s the advice every retailer can run with. (Pun intended, of course.)

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I am sure the Real Estate Landlords will welcome the opportunity to lease more space. And more space is what this is going to require which brings me to this question: How does Adidas intent to pay for this on a long term basis?

I agree with Paula…who is going to clean the locker room and showers? Whoops, that was two questions.

Larry Allen
Guest
Larry Allen
10 years 8 months ago

This is exactly the kind of engagement more retailers need to embrace. I used this exact approach (minus showers) in my two The Athlete’s Foot Store locations 10 years ago (complete with sponsoring two running clubs/teams and ownership of one of the top 10K race qualifiers in Atlanta). Adidas obviously understands the need to become a part of the runner’s “lifestyle,” not just a vendor to it.

For those who dismiss it as unsustainable, I respectfully suggest that, if it could be done by a two-store franchisee, then certainly corporate retail can manage it. If the business model does not support this type of activity, then the business model needs to change.

Devangshu Dutta
Guest
Devangshu Dutta
10 years 8 months ago

Many sports-brands, including Adidas, have expanded product offerings into sports-inspired leisurewear to grow their business footprint. With each new ‘fashion’ product they have diluted their sports heritage a little more.

If this concept proves profitable, then it’s a great business model for expansion and diversification. Even if it is only partially successful financially, at the very least, experiential engagement such as this is more ‘live’ than pure advertising. It puts sports and performance at the top of the agenda again, and has to be a good thing for the brand.

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