I have been rooting around the websites of Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, the top three brands in the US sportswear market.
In this article, I’m going to compare and score the product pages of each ecommerce website.
By the end, we will have a winner.
Nike – Product imagery
Nike has the best composed product imagery of the three brands.
It is notable how well the clothing is photographed to ensure it looks its best. For example, items are only shown in full if they are on a model.
If a product is seen on its own, this is only done to show smart details (see below), and the item is crisply folded to ensure it maintains a premium look.
Compare this approach with Adidas (further below), for example, where items are photographed off a model, in full, and appear slightly limp and lifeless.
Nike’s product imagery is a good size (620 x 620), and I only have to hover over each thumbnail for it to appear in the larger pane.
There’s a fairly standard click-to-zoom function which works with zero latency.
Back to composition – there are some particularly creative images designed to show off the best features of each product. This can be seen below in the example of a trainer photographed in the dark to highlight its reflective strip.
There’s only one place where Nike can improve its product imagery and that’s adding model height and item size where appropriate, so that users can get a relative impression of fit.
However, I don’t think that’s enough to stop Nike earning full points here.
Adidas – Product imagery
At first glance, Adidas has similar product imagery to Nike.
However, as we have already pointed out above, products are not quite displayed with the same exacting standards (i.e. limp shirts).
But that doesn’t mean that product detail isn’t very well represented. Below you can see a nice detail of a trainer’s sole.
There are, however, a couple of small UX issues. Firstly, at 500 x 500, I didn’t find the product images to be big enough. They didn’t have the immediate salience of the Nike and Under Armour images.
Additionally, the user has to click each thumbnail to view it, rather than simply hovering over them (as one does on the Nike and Under Armour sites).
The zoom feature though is, again, standard and very efficient. And, unlike Nike, model height and item size is detailed on relevant images (see below).
Under Armour – Product imagery
Under Armour’s notable point of difference is that the camera has zoomed in a little closer on the products in question, which almost fill the viewing pane. This is necessary, because the product page lacks a zoom function.
Image sizes are good but there aren’t as many offered as on the Nike and Adidas pages.
For example, the trainer below has five images, instead of six or seven (the head-on view is missing).
Like Adidas, some good detail is provided showing model height and clothing size. And, similar to the Nike website, users only have to hover over thumbnails, rather than clicking them.
Products are presented well, but again not quite as nicely as Nike’s.
Nike – Product description
It may seem a little paradoxical, but the thing I like most about Nike’s product descriptions are their images.
Each description is formatted next to a product image, and it makes the copy a lot more impactful. The image makes me more likely to read and buy into the superlative description.
When it comes to the copy itself, it can only be described as authoritative and inventive.
The above example shows how subheaders can drive home product USPs, and the description header acts much like a product slogan (see below for an effective example).
On the downside, not every product description has been written with as much care. The screenshot below shows just one subheader – ‘benefits’ – which doesn’t do as much for the imagination.
There could also be some more technical detail (weight, dimensions etc), but Nike is selling the product here, not answering FAQs.
More functional detail such as ‘fit tips’ and a sizing chart lives further up the page, next to main product imagery.
The score has to be high because I believe these product descriptions help sell the product, and that’s the goal.
Adidas – Product description
Adidas has product descriptions that aren’t dissimilar to Nike’s.
In fact, they are stronger on style-/heritage-led copy (which befits the brand image) and use one bold subheader to greater effect.
However, note how the lack of an accompanying thumbnail pic makes the copy less inviting.
There is probably slightly more vanilla product detail, too, as opposed to Nike’s more technology flavoured copy.
As there’s not much between the two, Adidas gets the same score.
Under Armour – Product description
Yet again, there’s a clear difference when it comes to Under Armour and its product descriptions.
In the ‘Product DNA’ section, creative copy is in short supply, to the detriment of the description, but there is some added detail that is helpful to the consumer (e.g. weight and even UPF factor).
A static embedded sizing chart is presented alongside product descriptions, rather than the link to a dynamic tool that Nike and Adidas use.
Below the product DNA, Under Armour includes ‘featured technology’, which is a much more attractive and convincing section that should arguably be placed above the product DNA.
Imagery and technical USPs are employed to good effect (see below).
Nike – Recommendations
Nike’s recommendations are simple but classily done. Just four recommended products, with good detail (colours, price, title, category).
Adidas – Recommendations
Adidas lays it on thicker, with two lots of recommendations (with scrollable product carousel), as well as ‘recently viewed items’.
What’s nice is that the ‘others also bought’ feature allows Adidas to surface popular products in addition to related products.
These two features are staggered on the page (one beneath the product description and one above the footer), so it doesn’t feel like overkill.
Under Armour – Recommendations
Just the one set of recommendations from Under Armour, but a scrolling carousel allows more products to be showcased than Nike’s recommendations.
The product thumbnails though aren’t quite as appealing and the feature lacks impact. Detail is only shown on rollover, so price isn’t immediately obvious either.
Nike – Product reviews
Nike’s product reviews are fairly sophisticated.
First, there’s a breakdown of the average product rating, alongside a percentage figure for those that would recommend the product, and also average scores for size, comfort, fit and durability.
There is also a filter allowing users to filter the individual reviews (newest, highest rated etc.).
The individual reviews themselves have some pleasing details.
Each reviewer (see below), in this case of a basketball shoe, is asked to state their basketball position and skill level, so that purchasers can give greater credence to reviews that match their intended usage. The same goes for running shoes (mileage and ability).
Reviews can be upvoted or downvoted, though I’m not entirely sure what the point is, given that you can’t filter by these upvotes and they don’t appear to affect the order reviews are displayed. These upvotes function much as Facebook Likes do.
Users can also flag or comment on reviews. I didn’t find any comments during my browsing but it’s a useful functionality to give power-users the ability to answer queries.
As you can see from the screenshot below, reviewers not only fill in a text field but are given the ability to rate various qualities of the product.
What was particularly encouraging to see was Nike responses to reviews, such as the one below, which is a balanced and helpful response to a piece of constructive criticism.
Though I didn’t browse each website for hours on end, Nike’s was the only site on which I saw customer service responses to critical reviews. Adidas had responded to some reviews, but seemingly only positive ones.
In summary, Nike has a good review system, with little room for improvement.
Adidas – Product reviews
Adidas makes a virtue of its reviews more than the other two sites, with a more noticable star rating and call-to-action next to each product image.
Full marks for transparency. Nike uses a dull orange, with no call to action.
The review system itself is not dissimilar to Nike’s. Filters, ratings for four product qualities, and the ability to comment or deem the review helpful or otherwise.
All of this functionality is very clearly laid out, as you can see below.
There are a couple of points where Adidas doesn’t score as highly as Nike, though. Firstly, reviewers are listed as ‘verified purchasers’, but there is no information akin to Nike’s reviewer use history (e.g. basketball position, weekly running mileage etc.).
Furthermore, I could only find responses to positive reviews, and (if I’m being pedantic) each brand response seemed to encourage the user to do something else (e.g. submit a photo on social or sign up for an email newsletter), rather than focus on the review/product in question.
I’m being a bit picky, but Adidas could certainly reply to more negative/critical reviews. For example, there are several reviews of its Gazelle shoes that refer to colours on the website not looking exactly accurate – surely Adidas could help by making a comment here?
The last minor improvement that could be made is to show each reviewer’s ratings for size, width, comfort and quality. The average scores for these ratings are displayed, but not each individual’s.
Under Armour – Product reviews
Under Armour’s product reviews aren’t quite as slick as its two competitors’.
Some of the functionality is lacking – crucially, there are no average scores, and strangely no ability to flag, upvote or comment on reviews, apart from a select and seemingly random few.
On the plus side, reviews can be sorted by a large number of criteria, and the information given on each reviewer is good (height, age, gender, size purchased etc.).
An average-to-good review system.
Though many retailers are seeing the majority of their traffic arriving on mobile devices, this article has concentrated mainly on desktop (where the majority of conversions occur).
Of course, mobile is still important, so I whipped through a few product pages on my smaller device.
Nike – Mobile
What stands out here is how enjoyable it is to swipe through product imagery and through colour options, which also sit in a carousel, rather than a dropdown or matrix.
The impact of product imagery is maintained on the smaller device.
Product description and reviews are tucked away, whereas customisation and live chat are more prominent than on desktop. Usability is good, the site if fluid and quick.
Adidas – Mobile
Adidas notably has a bolder product title and price. Thumbnail product images are maintained, beneath the swipeable carousel.
All features seen on desktop are maintained on mobile, with product descriptions abridged and the option to reveal more.
I found Adidas’s rich product pages slower to load and navigate than Nike’s. But, as Adidas uses a responsive site rather than an ‘m.’, I’m going to give it the same score as Nike.
Under Armour - Mobile
I was impressed with Under Armour’s product pages on mobile. Features that appeared to lack design finesse on desktop were, conversely, chunky and easy to use on mobile.
Buttons are big, text is big, and the site is quick (and responsive).
Nike – Bonus points for live chat
Though the ‘chat with an expert’ function isn’t picked out and is easily missed, the fact that you can chat to someone about your running gear, for example, could be a good tool for customer service and sales.
Bonus points: 1
Adidas – Bonus points for Design your own, UGC & embedded video
There isn’t much video used on product pages by any of the three brands in question. Nike does have small video thumbnails on some product pages to explain particular lines (e.g. Nike Free, Nike Flyknit), but they are not prominent.
Adidas, however, does include some large embedded YouTube videos, such as the one below showing some of the design team discussing the product.
This is a nice addition.
Adidas is also better than Nike at integrated customisation options in to product pages.
Whereas Nike iD is simply a colour option, Adidas’s customisable products have a large ‘design your own’ call-to-action and sometimes a dynamic tool allowing users to type in a ‘quick customisation’ field, with the text appearing in the product image pane.
Lastly user-generated content (UGC) is a definite area where Adidas trumps its rivals. Its most popular products come with a nice gallery of user photos.
These are particularly effective examples of social proof, especially for bolder looks such as the Gazelle (see below).
Some newer product pages are still encouraging people to send in their pics, as you can see below.
Bonus points: 3
Totting up the scores, it’s pretty much a shared win for Adidas and Nike on the criteria we looked at. Both have very effective product pages, with Nike perhaps edging Adidas on style, and Adidas including a bit more functionality.
Under Armour is a little off the pace but only needs a few tweaks to close the gap.
- Nike: 21.5/25+
- Adidas: 22/25+
- Under Armour: 18.5/25+
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