Retailers must avoid alienating the ‘un-cool kids’

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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

School can be a nightmare and one of the worst anybody can suffer is to be the last person to be picked when the selections are made for sporting teams. And let’s not even go near the potential embarrassment of being left on the sidelines of school dances/discos/proms.


Glitch: available to the ‘cool kids’

While being left out can be a life-scarring event for many young people it can also be used as a ‘clever’ marketing tool by retailers and brands. Adidas is the latest company to use the power of the internet to make products only available to certain carefully selected people – let’s call them the ‘cool kids’ shall we because that is effectively what they are – while mere mortals are left out.

For Adidas’ new Glitch range of football boots it is making them available on a referrals-only basis through an app. The company is putting power in the hands of specific social media ‘influencers’ who can determine which individuals get an access code that is required in order for a purchase of the boots to be made. These selected individuals determine exactly who gets the opportunity to wear the exclusive range of boots.

Adidas is putting the marketing activity into the hands of its influencers, which is a rather clever way of offloading effort and cost. This initiative also allows the company to easily monitor the activities around the brand and to quickly adapt to any feedback received on the boots.

This is clearly not the only example of digital channels and social media being used as a vehicle for exclusive distribution of goods by retailers and brands. For customers who gain access to exclusive items this way it undoubtedly engenders warmth and loyalty towards the brand. But for the ‘un-cool kids’ I wonder if it has the potential to do the absolute opposite.

One of the great beauties of the internet is the transparency that it provides – whether that is related to pricing or information etc… But it can also be used for more opaque, selective, activities as in the case of Glitch. Retailers and brands have to tread very carefully if they are to balance rewarding the ‘cool kids’ while also avoiding alienating the rest of us.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.