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The sales in the athletic shoe industry in the recent years have gone down. Many of the consumers had grown used to seeing known athletes endorse a shoe brand name because of their worth at the time. Also many companies have ventured into the athletics shoe market therefore increasing competition. This has forced the major corporations to look for more innovative ways that will see them reach their target market. The recent strategy that has been adopted by many of the companies is to go online, use internet marketing and e-commerce. This essay is going to look at what companies have done or should do to realize success in this business (Kiley 2005 par4).
For many years Nike, Adidas-Salomon, and Reebok have been leading in the making of athletes' foot apparel. Each of these companies has its own strategy depending on their market. Nike has been the leader in athletic apparel and footwear for a long time, Adidas is the second in making sporting goods all over the world. Reebok follows these two from behind (admin 2010 par.1).
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Started in 1964, it has been a pioneer in the use of overseas factories to make products that are designed and sold in the United States. After a prosperous business period, the company experienced declining sales at one point and was forced to restructure its business by firing some employees and cutting some product lines, and this has paid off. In terms of products, Nike does not only deal athletic footwear and attire but also addresses collegiate, amateur, and professional sports. It does this through summer camps and sponsorships of teams to promote amateur athletics. It has also sponsored universities that offer athletic programs across the state. This has seen increases in its revenues. Using its web, Nike.com, it has made its products available and accessible to its customers all over the world. In the US, customers can have their products delivered to them at their door step within three days. To promote it products, Nike has come up with a series of commercials that can be watched via the Web or Television by its customers. The company has made customer service its top priority. The company has also established affiliate programs and alliances with other manufacturers specifically to promote its products. Its abundance of products that customers can look into and review, with pictures of each product, enables viewers to pick on their exact likes reducing risks of buying over the net (Vollmer & Precourt 2008 par 4).
Just like Nike, Rebook has also gone through turbulent waters for some time, but it took a different approach to its issues. This company produces four very distinct but complementary brands. These are: Reebok, Greg Norman Collection, Rockport, and Polo Ralph Lauren Footwear. The company dropped its apparel contracts with some of the professional teams. It also withdrew from most of the intercollegiate athletics. It also sells its products through its Web site and in the many stores that it has providing its customers a wide range of avenues through which they can access its products. It has prices that are relatively comparable to those of its retail partners. This reduces chances of taking sales away from their traditional channel partners. The company has not put much effort in the promotion of its Website although they place their web address at the bottom of their television commercials and also in printed advertisements. It was the first athletic company to provide its customers with the chance to purchase its products online. This is on a global platform, in more than 36 countries in the world. Its website is easy to browse and use with five languages where customers can easily be guided to the product information, specific features and corporate information. It has provided its customers with faster and direct buying mechanisms whereby purchases can be made on the spot, making it easier and efficient (John 2007par 5).
Based in Germany, Adidas is trying to regain its place as one of the leading producer of athletic footwear in the world. It started by merging with Salomon, a French company a move that many saw as a bad one. Just like Nike, Adidas restructured its business by first streamline the range of its products. The company designs, develops then markets a wide range of not just athletic but also active lifestyle footwear, apparel and hardware items under the Adidas, Taylor Made, Salomon, Bonfire, and Mavic brand names. The company sells its products in more 160 countries in the world. In terms of market, this has given it a wide customer scope. The company also makes products that cover a range of disciplines, tennis, and basketball and now Salomon has brought in golf, ski and bike gear. The company's website only offers athletic products with the prices being relatively comparable to those in the retail shops. In terms of promotions, the company gives commercials to its top athletes that enable customers get insights into the value of their products. It attracts many customers to its website by offering trips to major stadiums to see top athletes perform. This gives them a competitive advantage over the other companies (Pride & Ferrell 2008 par. 3).
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For companies to be successful in their businesses, they should have a strong marketing mix. Here Nike is the top company because its advertisements on television and the web, their strategic alliances were well designed. Adidas comes in second because it started selling its products on the web late but managed to promote its website very fast. Reebok comes in last because of its strategy of globalization, selling and providing products over the net to many countries. Therefore for any company that wishes to make a mark on the business world, it should have; strong marketing mix, well planed marketing strategies, and should always look for proper ways to retain their customers not forgetting a good company's mission statement to guide it towards its goals (Doyle n.d par.2).