Adidas Uses Technology To Track Products Into Stores, Gain Insight Into Purchase Funnel

Adidas has extended its supply chain processes and best practices into the marketing funnel. The company is using radio frequency identification technology to track its products from manufacturing facilities to store shelves, and near field communication technology from the shelf out the store door and to consumers' homes. The extended supply chain allows the sports brand to aggregate the data to achieve a more detailed picture of its customers.

Jon Werner, innovation explorer at Adidas, told Search Marketing Daily Saturday at South By Southwest (SXSW) after speaking on a panel about wearable ads that the RFID tag is removed at the point of sale, but some versions of the company's tennis shoes are embedded with NFC semiconductor chips that have the capability to receive and discard information.

The company wants to know who buys their product in the retail store. To do that, Adidas integrated NFC into two versions of its shoes. The technology would serve the consumers wearing the shoes a marketing message, personalizing the message based on their interaction level. "Now that we know they own the product, we pay a lot more attention," Werner said. "It's not just a random Twitter tweet or a Facebook post." 

The opt-in process for the digitalization of merchandise gives Adidas the data to gain greater knowledge about the customer. On the shelf, Adidas knows when consumers pick up the shoe and when they put it down. This provides the brand with more information to forecast trends and provide real-time inventory counts at local stores.

While it's not clear whether Adidas uses this feature, the technology could tell consumers searching on engines that five local retail stores have a size 9 in red. Having that data would extend the supply chain into the marketing funnel by sending consumers retargeting messages when products become available in stock at local stores. This would connect consumers from the search engine to the store.

Intel also has extended its use of the technology and best practices from the manufacturing process through the supply chain and into the marketing strategy. As companies continue to struggle with the use of data and attribution, here are two companies with the experience of processing and sifting through raw data collected from semiconductor chips, using what's important and discarding the rest.

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