The 6 Reasons adidas Will Waste Your Time and Break Your Heart
Growing up, I could have been the poster child for a raving adidas fan. I was nuts. The story of the UK teenager suspended from school because he shaved a trefoil in his head struck me as odd. Not because he did it, but because he got suspended. I did the same thing twenty years ago with my best friend, Scott Chalbert. We shaved trefoils into our heads before our Senior soccer season. Thankfully, I wasn’t suspended. But, I think you understand the depth of my passion.
Fast forward two decades in the soccer industry. I never thought I would write this post. When I was Vice President of a 35 store soccer specialty retailer, I used to get wined and dined by adidas, Nike, diadora – in fact, all of the major companies. Because of them, I’ve held the World Cup, had Tisha Venturini put her Olympic Gold Medal around my neck and attended every major soccer event in the best seats. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for all these brands. And, as a general rule of thumb, I don’t speak poorly about my competitors. I think it makes you look stupid.
But, as an industry veteran and a seasoned soccer coach, this isn’t a slag on these companies. It’s a discussion about how their business processes don’t match the needs of team uniform buyers. It is an educational piece for our volunteer soccer buyers around the country – to avoid the wasted time and impending heartbreak. A lack of experience leads buyers to think all brands and team suppliers are created equal. It isn’t true. I’m a “soccer guy” first and I’ve grown far too tired of disappointed buyer after disappointed buyer calling here with similar frustrating stories. After all, it’s the reason I started Totally Soccer: to solve the buying problems.
6 Reasons Brands Fail in Delivering Team Uniforms
These companies are great retail soccer brands. In fact, I wear their soccer shoes and guards. But, they fall short at supplying teams and clubs with soccer jerseys and uniforms consistently, reliably and at affordable prices. Here’s an insider’s view of why they’ll break your heart:
1. Pricing – Now that I’ve been involved in manufacturing soccer gear, I understand the costs. And, we manufacture our uniforms here in North America – not over in China. When I examine some of the styles offered for sale, I can’t help but to think, “Outrage!” The price value proposition just isn’t there – even if they sewed the jerseys with gold thread! I guess all of those inflated dollars go to paying off their sponsored athletes.
2. Delivery – When the production process moved abroad, companies lost control of flexibility and responsiveness. A product planner has to project a year in advance how much product will be sold. And, there is no reasonable way to project it. This leads to situations where product is not available to ship to your local retailer when you need it most. And, if you’re a repeat team, what do you do then when you can’t get just one more for the new player? Toss them in the bag and scrap your uniforms in place of t-shirts. That stinks.
3. Available Colors – A common complaint we hear: After scouring the internet, you finally find a jersey that you love. Unfortunately, they don’t produce it in your team colors. The journey must start again wasting hours upon hours of your time.
4. Consistent Colors – With factories all over the world in places like China and Vietnam, there is no way to maintain consistent colors. As a result, you may have one shade of red coming from one factory and another shade coming from another factory. Who wants that? It’s called a uniform for a reason. Because, well, everyone is uniform – or not.
5. Sizes – A major frustration for buyers is that not all styles are available in every size. This severely limits your team choices. Imagine finding a style you liked in the colors for your team only to find out they don’t make it in the sizes you require. This is especially important for youth teams aged 9-15. Back to the drawing board and time wasted.
6. Discontinued Product – the industry term for this problem is “planned obsolescence.” Discontinuing product is a way for brands to ensure teams must buy new product – based around the brand’s needs and not your team’s needs. And, even when you pick a uniform with an expected lifespan (time frame the company says they will produce the uniforms), brands have proven time and time again that they don’t adhere to those lifespans. We receive calls all the time from frantic buyers whose team’s uniforms have been discontinued prematurely. You just can’t trust the lifespan; there is no consequence to discontinuing product early.
When you layer on top that team uniforms are sold through local retailers, you add another layer of complexity that adds to the unreliability. These retailers are at the mercy of product planning and proper execution by adidas to even have a shot to get you uniforms. Even if the stars align and everything is ready to go, it ships on a UPS truck from adidas to the local retailer. Once the uniforms arrive from UPS, the retailer has to check-in the product to make sure everything is correct. Then, they have to organize the uniforms by team, so it can be personalized. From there, it goes over to the outside silkscreen printer where it gets in line to be printed among the thousands of t-shirts. Many days later, the product is ready for pickup, which is then organized and delivered back to the retailer. The retailer checks the quality (I hope) and further personalizes with numbers and names. All of this adds cost and time to you receiving your soccer uniforms before kickoff.
Now, although it might be cool to shave a companies logo in your head, we at TotallySoccer won’t ask any of our fans to do that to gain exposure. We feel our long standing track record of producing a high quality soccer jerseys and uniforms and great delivery success rate does our marketing for us. But, if you still want to shave your head or tattoo yourself with our logo, let us know and we can send you a file with our image to get started. It’ll be way easier than the cardboard cutout I used from the side of a shoebox.