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Adidas corners mobile pre-orders with footwear reservation app

Adidas is driving pre-orders for its limited-edition sneakers with the adidas Confirmed mobile application, the footwear sector’s first app designed to offer consumers the ability to reserve the shoes from their smartphone thanks to geo-targeting technology.

The Confirmed app’s technology will be able to verify a customer’s location to prevent computer systems from gaming the system and interfering with launches via social media promotions. Consumers interested in purchasing the brand’s limited-edition sneakers can receive push notifications when a release is nearing, and promptly reserve a specific shoe size and location for pick-up within the app.

“It’s not just about the customer, it’s also about retailer inventory levels,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Miami, FL. “Retailers buy shoes in a variety of multi-size cases.

“Because these sneakers are so expensive, they’re going to want to cut their inventory as lean as possible, without upsetting customers. The reservation system will create a very egalitarian way for people to buy a scarce commodity, and also give the retailer an opportunity to fill the order from another location,” she said.

“So it’s a win/win.  The retailer maximizes the value of their inventory while the consumer avoids uncertainty and annoying lines.”

Ms. Rosenblum is not affiliated with adidas, but agreed to comment as an expert on retail.

Revamping retail
If adidas experiences success with the Confirmed app, which is currently only available for New York City residents, it could pave the way for other retailers to roll out similar offerings that would likely revolutionize mcommerce and benefit the brand as well as the consumer.

It would also open up doors for software and technology marketers, such as Apple, that face extremely long shopping lines at their bricks-and-mortar stores after introducing a new product to the market.

Fans that are interested in purchasing a pair of the sneakers designed by Kanye West for adidas will have their first chance at them if they choose to purchase using the Confirmed app. Mr. West has designed the Yeezy and Yeezy II sneakers for Nike in the past to widespread success, suggesting similar results for his collaboration with adidas, although experts believe the brand’s footwear is already popular enough to cement success.

“That’s not really relevant at all, except in a tertiary way – theoretically, the celebrity editions will be expensive,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “I don’t see Mr. West as having any more influence than that.”

Consumer-friendly technology
Consumers will likely appreciate adidas’s efforts to streamline the purchasing process and make shopping for its products as user-friendly as possible. As soon as their reserved purchase becomes available in a store, users that have enabled the app’s push notifications will be alerted.

The Confirmed app is free to download for Android and iOS devices. While product launches are limited to New York City at this time, fans are encouraged to download the app so that they can receive notifications regarding future launches in other cities.

Adidas’s release of Confirmed displays the sheer consumer demand for its products, and also showcases how mobile can be leveraged to organize the shopping process and cater directly to fans waiting for the launch of a new item.

“This is honestly not about drumming up interest,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “It’s presuming that the interest is there.

“The mobile strategy allows them to leverage the actual product and avoid disappointing consumers.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York