Adidas forced to scrap marketplace ban

adidasAdidas have rescinded their ban on selling Adidas and Reebok products on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

In a u-turn from their announcement in 2012 banning the sale of their products on marketplaces when they said they wanted to “ensure that Adidas and Reebok will be presented in the right environment at all times”, they reckon that ecommerce distribution channels have improved so much over the past two years that they’re now happy to have their products sold on the sites.

In a statement Adidas said “We have decided to extend our e-commerce guidelines to also include open market places: if our retail partners adhere to our criteria, there will be no restriction for online sales in any channel!”

Whilst eBay has continually evolved over the past few years, it’s hard to see where the functionality of Amazon has changed much – one of the things retailers love about Amazon is that pretty much nothing changes from day to day and the site just carries on working. One might suspect that the change in Adidas’ position has more to do with the German Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, saying that the Adidas “ban on sales via online market places and the restrictions imposed on authorised retailers with regard to search engine advertising gave cause for serious competition concerns”.

The Bundeskartellamt went on to add “In response to this, Adidas submitted an amended version of its conditions of sale for e-commerce, in which it has completely abandoned its ban on sales via online market places”.

Of course it does sound somewhat better to blame the marketplaces for the initial ban and then to explain the change of heart on the fact the marketplaces have improved so much, rather than say that they are scrapping their selective distribution policy because the Bundeskartellamt asserts it doesn’t comply with competition law.

Adidas also say that all authorised retailers are now free to use Adidas brand related terms as search words for search engine advertising such as Google AdWords.