Editor Dan Owen caught up with adidas Golf Managing Director Andrew Law and Sales Director Sam Strange to find out how they have been helping their retail partners through lockdown.
How have you helped your retailers?
AL: What our retail partners are going through, we’re going through too. And the fact adidas is a big company doesn’t make us immune from the effects of the pandemic. 70 years in business, and the last two quarters will be the worst in our history. That’s put a lot of pressure on all aspects of the adidas business globally. We were set to have a fantastic year with record sales before the pandemic set in.
Our sale team are all back working now. They were on furlough for a short period of time, but they’re all back working now and contactable. If anyone reading this hasn’t heard from them, reach out to them, but all our retailers should be hearing from them shortly if they haven’t already.
However, we will get through it and we believe that will come out stronger. Because we are going through it then we also have an inkling as to what our retail partners are going through.
First and foremost, we reached out and told our retail partners we’ll give you help with your payments. Product landed from adidas in February and March. Payments would have normally been due in April and May. But retailers haven’t sold any product. We reached out to them formally in a letter to the trade explaining we’re here to help. Whether you’re adidas or a golf retailer, cash has is king in order to keep your business afloat. We’re not demanding payments, just speak to us and we’re here to help.
Secondly, with any open orders, we are allowing our partners to cancel them. We wanted to offer real flexibility and not force product on our partners that they weren’t in a position to sell.
Thirdly our sales team instigated the ‘Listening Project.’ We can’t pretend to be a retailer. Our directive to the team was speak to the retailers and listen to what they’ve got to say, what their challenges and needs are in this difficult time. We’ve found a lot of commonalities and found some unique things we believe will help us to manage our retail partners better now and in the future.
SS: We’re offering all our greengrass partners across Europe a write down on the product that they have within their business. If they can clear their invoices by August we are offering a discount write down on that product.
There is the option to return product if the retailer feels they are stuck in a hole they can’t get out of. Although we haven’t had many people take us up on this.
And for our open order book, it’s best described as written in pencil rather than pen. We can change it, we can move things around, we can push dates back. What we’re seeing from our online retail partners so far is positive. We’re hoping that trend remains as shops reopen.
What is your focus for the rest of this year?
AL: The priority from a product standpoint for the rest of the year will be Codechaos. We’re intent on creating demand for our products because creating demand helps sell through. Sales have been strong so far, and the MyGolfSpy award for best spikeless shoe has really helped with validation for the shoes.
adidas have been involved in a variety of fundraising efforts for the COVID-10 Pandemic. How has the company helped?
AL: The company has done a number of things. One of the things we’re proudest of is producing face shields using the same materials as the 4D midsoles found in our running shoes. We’ve given to first responders who need them the most. Our partner Carbon has been producing over 50,000 of these per week.
We’ve donated €3 million to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and €1.25 million to the China Youth Development Foundation, as we want to ensure relief is distributed where it’s needed most.
We’re matching all employee donations to COVID-19 relief efforts at 200%.
adidas started reallocating design and supply chain resources to create reusable Face Covers. £2 from every pack sold is donated to Save The Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund up to €1.5m, running until June 30.
Our #HOMETEAMHERO Challenge was an open invite to our teammates around the world to rally and dedicate their workouts for good. From May 29 – June 7, for every hour of tracked activity, adidas donated $1 to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), with the goal of reaching one million hours.
During April and May, adidas and Reebok donated an additional £2 for every item purchased over £20 from online sites or mobile apps to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
How will this effect what you do going forward?
SS: Moving into 2021 we will have a smaller Spring Summer range. There will be an element of carry over product, especially in footwear. Our apparel launch to trade will be pushed back a month. And SS21 will launch hit retailers in March with two colour drops, rather than January with 3 colour drops. Our range will be condensed because we know that the trade is probably going to have some legacy products carrying over from the second half of this year into the first half of next year.
The product team have been working very hard over the past couple of months to rein in and streamline the range. It’s a very strong, consumer-friendly range.
Normally we would be going live with the SS21 sell in shortly. But this is low down on a retailers list of priorities at the moment, so we have delayed it a month.
Any final thoughts?
AL: As we go into the new season, we’re telling people that if the Coronavirus impact is still with us next year when product starts to land, we will work with them, so they don’t feel obliged to take everything they order. We need to share their burden. adidas is dedicated to helping the authentic golf retail channel and we will all come through this stronger if we work together.
We are all in this together. Our listening project has helped us recognize the very unique pressures that a lot of our retail partners are under. I would encourage them to reach out to us, pick up the phone, or send us an email. We may not have all the answers, but we’re here to help.