Sales and Distribution Strategy


Our Global Sales function drives the commercial performance of the company by converting brand desire into profitable and sustainable business growth. It is our ambition to deliver the best shopping experience within the sporting goods industry across all consumer touchpoints. We strive to transform the marketplace by actively shaping and accelerating the growth of our profitable and integrated trade network. Our objective is to establish scalable business solutions in order to deliver premium experiences, thereby meeting and surpassing consumer expectations with an integrated brand offering.


Our sales strategy is crafted by a centralized and integrated marketplace team which supports the flawless execution of our brand strategies and drives operational excellence across the globe. In this context, we continued to execute our strategic business plan, ‘Creating the New’, across our six global markets during 2019. In a changing global landscape, our diverse market portfolio is an important asset in maximizing the business, elevating our competitiveness and achieving our ambitions for 2020.


With more than 2,500 own-retail stores, more than 15,000 mono-branded franchise stores and more than 150,000 wholesale doors, we have an unrivaled network of consumer touchpoints within our industry. In addition, through our own e-commerce channel, our single biggest store available to consumers in over 40 countries, we are leveraging a consistent global framework.

We are also seeing considerable success in leveraging our strong cross-functional partnerships with key wholesale partners, which is critical for ensuring a holistic consumer journey. By seamlessly integrating the channels within our market portfolio, we are uniquely positioned to pursue and succeed in strategies that deliver premium consumer experiences and increase the productivity of our distribution footprint. We replicate this model to capitalize on new consumer opportunities through own-retail destinations (own-retail stores and own e-commerce sites) as well as our wholesale partner doors (wholesale managed spaces online and brick & mortar). This is how we aim to create halo effects across all consumer touchpoints, resulting in further marketplace expansion.

In 2019, we advanced our sales strategy with several initiatives focused, amongst others, on premium consumer experiences, digital, marketplace transformation, cities and trade zones as well as productivity and efficiency of the sales platform.

Premium consumer experiences

We aim to be ‘omni-present’ along the consumer journey and strive to capture the full sales potential on the platforms available to our consumers. We also strive to minimize occasions when consumer demand is not met, by offering innovative solutions. Based on these objectives, we continue to focus on the following omni-channel initiatives:

  • ‘Inventory Check’ allows online shoppers to view in-store product availability.
  • ‘Click & Collect’ allows consumers to order online and purchase or reserve items for pick-up in a local store.
  • ‘Ship from Store’ allows us to service consumers faster than before by turning our stores into mini distribution centers.
  • ‘Buy Online, Return to Store’ not only provides consumers with a convenient way to return product purchases but also offers new buying opportunities.
  • ‘Partner Program’ enables us to expand our online offering to a larger group of consumers by making it available to selected key wholesale partners.
  • ‘Endless Aisle’ provides in-store visitors with access to our full range of products through our e-commerce platform.
  • Our adidas app is an always-on connection to the adidas brand and offers premium shopping experiences.

Digital focus

In 2019, we continued our focus on and investments into digital partners. As part of our Partner Program initiative that was launched in 2016, we successfully onboarded partners across Europe, North America, Emerging Markets and Asia-Pacific, allowing us to deliver incremental sales growth and learnings that will be leveraged to evolve and further grow the program in the future.

In addition, 2019 saw a further expansion of the adidas app, currently reaching over 30 countries across all major markets, thereby becoming an important new consumer touchpoint in the adidas digital ecosystem. The app is directly linked to the adidas e-commerce store and provides consumers with personal conversations, the chance to buy our most exclusive products, a frictionless checkout, seamless order tracking as well as personalized content and access to our membership program – the . The success of the app is significantly enhanced by continued investments in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which will enable us to develop an even deeper consumer understanding and connection.

Furthermore, we drove forward development and roll-out of our B2B order platform Click to allow for impactful and efficient interaction with our wholesale customers. Click is now live in 41 countries. Latest feature additions include improved orderbook management, measurement and digital customer service capabilities such as web chat to digitalize customer touchpoints.

Marketplace transformation

Our goal is to leverage and scale the success of our initiatives across our channels to better serve consumers. The key contributor to this approach is . Whenever we can actively manage the way our brands and products are presented at the point of sale, the impact on the consumer experience, and ultimately on our operational and financial performance, is significant. We have the power to do so in own retail (including e-commerce) and in wholesale (franchise stores, wholesale managed space online and brick & mortar). By 2020, we aim to generate more than 60% of our revenues through controlled space.

For us, own retail acts as a catalyst to our controlled space ambition. We amplify our success by translating key learnings from own retail to franchise stores and expanding franchising as a business model in existing as well as into new geographies. In 2019, we made significant investments in remodeling our stores and sharpening the top of the pyramid of our store fleet. By doing so, we have strengthened our own-retail presence in key cities and key trade zones. We extended our flagship fleet by opening flagship stores on Champs-Élysées in Paris and on London’s Oxford Street, which is our most digital store with more than 100 digital touchpoints. We expect these flagships to set new standards in terms of product presentation, execution and service that will be replicated across all other channels. We expect e-commerce to continue to be the fastest-growing channel that we operate, with revenues targeted to grow to € 4 billion in 2020. In wholesale, we will continue to expand our footprint with a focus on prioritized key accounts, targeting important consumer hotspots and trade zones, especially those that are part of our Cities initiative. Strategic partnerships to operate controlled space remain an important thrust of this expansion. In that regard, we will continue to support our key wholesale partners, ensuring that we have premium space in their new flagship stores.

Cities and trade zones

In the last couple of years, we saw continued success in our key cities New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Shanghai and Tokyo. Our collective market share further improved year on year in our key cities during 2019. We are on track to achieve our target to double revenues in our key cities by 2020 compared to the 2015 level. We will continue to focus on trade zones within the cities, specifically on how we deploy product, retail and activation initiatives. Our intention is to create one holistic brand experience for our consumers within these key commercial areas across all shopping channels and platforms.

Productivity and efficiency of sales platform

We are committed to further driving productivity improvements across our sales platform through a multi-faceted approach:

  • Premium presentation: Our physical selling spaces are an important factor in driving Net Promoter Score (NPS) and full-price sell-through. We further evolved the brand experience through the launch and expansion of premium store concepts such as , and for the adidas brand as well as and for the Reebok brand. Our own-retail concepts are designed for scalability. Consequently, we will continue to roll them out across our store base, which yields benefits across channels.
  • Consumer service excellence: Our Sales Academy program continues to help us to transform the culture and effectiveness of our sales teams. As a result, consumers enjoy significantly elevated service levels which have proven commercially rewarding through higher and net sales.
  • Personalized interaction: Our commitment to deliver a premium shopping experience is reflected online through our digital brand flagship stores, and, as well as our adidas app. E-commerce and digital communication are powerful tools for our brands to engage with consumers.
  • Insight-driven decision-making: We continue to invest in our analytical capabilities and technical infrastructure to become faster and more insight-driven in decision-making. Leveraging data such as cross-channel product sell-through and consumer purchasing behaviors delivers actionable insights in areas such as assortment planning and product life cycle management.
  • Distribution channel mix: Based on a thorough analysis of the profitability of our distribution channels in each of our markets, in 2019 we continued with our optimization program to shift focus and resources to our most profitable channels. By doing so, we have improved the distribution mix of our company and consequently increased our profitability.

We are confident that our sales strategy will help us realize significant improvements in brand desirability (as measured by our NPS), market share, net sales, and profitability. SEE INTERNAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Creators Club

Creators Club is a membership program that helps us deepen the relationship with our consumers. Linking all adidas apps, events, communities and channels into one single profile, the program rewards members with points for interacting with the brand, e.g. when making a purchase or using the ‘adidas Running by Runtastic’ or ‘adidas Training by Runtastic’ apps. Depending on the number of points, exclusive benefits are unlocked, including access to hype sneaker and apparel drops or invitations to special events.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A survey-based measure of how likely people are to recommend a brand. The survey is based on one single question to consumers: ‘How likely are you to recommend this brand to your friends?’, which can be answered within a scale from 0 to 10. Promoters are consumers giving the brand a 9 or 10 rating, while detractors are those between a 0 and 6 rating. The NPS is the difference between promoters and detractors measured in percentage points.

Controlled Space

Includes own-retail business, mono-branded franchise stores, shop-in-shops, joint ventures with retail partners and co-branded stores. Controlled space offers a high level of brand control and ensures optimal product offering and presentation according to brand requirements.


Stadium is an own-retail store concept for the adidas brand, inspired by high school stadiums. It aims to create a sports stadium-like atmosphere to enhance the in-store experience, such as a tunnel entrance, stands for live-game viewing on big screens, locker rooms instead of dressing rooms and track and field areas where consumers can test and experience products.

Originals the Collection

This retail concept for adidas Originals is visually inspired by the adidas brand archive. It is designed to create spaces as platforms to respond to an ever-changing culture, to the community, to our world and the collective memory of sport. Its design language is functional and flexible, iconic and relevant. The fluid, open-plan design highlights products in new and elevated ways.


Neighbourhood is adidas Originals’ premium own-retail store concept which brings the style and spirit of sport to the streets. The aim is to turn Originals stores into a local cultural epicenter. The store environment takes its inspiration from the neighborhood, which is at the heart of Originals.


FitHub is Reebok’s own-retail store concept, inspired by CrossFit gyms and fitness studios. Each FitHub offers a selection of Reebok’s best product assortment, from footwear to apparel and accessories. Also, it inspires people to move, to train, to get fit and have fun doing it with innovative fitness products, trusted advice from trained staff and community-based events.

Vector Style

Exclusively for the Asia-Pacific market, the Reebok Vector Style retail concept incorporates color, textures, and shapes within the space in order to convey a sense of movement and style. Capturing a more hip and modern pace, the design is meant to present the Reebok lifestyle product in a cool and interesting way. Architectural features within the store emulate the angles of Reebok’s Vector logo, so that the sense of action is reinforced throughout the space.

Conversion Rate

A key ratio in retail business describing the number of buying customers compared to those who entered the store without buying something; i.e. a 25% conversion rate means that 100 persons entered a store with 25 of them buying something.

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