Adidas, the athletic brand whose sales rose 18% last year to 19.3 billion euros, will take orders by chatbot for designer Alexander Wang’s second Adidas Originals collection on July 29. The launch is in the same nontraditional retail formula he started with last season’s parked trailer truck stores, Vogue magazine reported.
People who text the number 917-512-7715 at 12 p.m. that day can place an order with the chatbot. The order will be wrapped in duct tape and delivered in New York City by bike messenger, according to Refinery29. The line of clothing will be available at more retailers on August 5.
Wang’s new line is inspired by rave culture and cycling, he told Vogue. The collection’s launched is accompanied by a short film on YouTube that shows bike messengers wearing the new collection as they speed by the phone number to text.
For the uninitiated to Alexander Wang’s unconventional methods of promoting his fashion lines, the idea of setting up a chatbot to take orders delivered by bike messenger sounds farfetched. But it just may work, and generate huge publicity for the new line in the same way that Marc Jacobs partnered with Uber to launch his Daisy fragrance last year. Uber users who entered a code into the Uber app could request a free ride in an Uber car whose interior was decorated with daisies.
The promotion is also an interesting way to test out chatbots, the computer programs that simulate human conversation and have been derided for being awkward. Chatbots are more popular among the millennial generation that’s more familiar with mobile technology. About 40% of millennials say they interact with a bot daily, according to a study by 3Cinteractive, a provider of mobile marketing services.
Although chatbots are multiplying, they're still not exactly pervasive. Forrester Research found just 4% of companies have launched chatbots, and another 31% percent plan to implement them. Limitations of the technology are holding back their use. The niche appeal of chatbots works for a designer like Wang, who can use them to drive a sense of exclusivity and excitement around his brand.