Stepping Up the Footwear Retail Experience with Technology – Sourcing Journal

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An all-too-common consumer experience is finding that the “correct” shoe size is not a perfect fit. Numerical sizes are not standardized across brands and styles, leading to frustration and a potential missed sale opportunity.

Retail technology firm Volumental has created foot scanning devices that help consumers avoid a footwear sizing headache. At partner retail stores, shoppers can get scanned, see their size results and then receive personalized recommendations of shoes that will fit them best based on aspects such as their foot shape, arch and more. This experience not only removes guesswork, but it also engages shoppers and provides valuable information about their individual feet. It also encourages loyalty; consumers are incentivized to give a retailer their email in exchange for their scan data, opening the lines of communication. “The cohort of people with scans actually return to the store and brand more and more often,” Volumental CEO and co-founder Alper Aydemir noted during a fireside chat with Kate Nishimura, features editor at Sourcing Journal.

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For these reasons, retailers who incorporate Volumental—such as Fleet Feet and Red Wing Shoes—see sales grow 20 percent and returns fall 18 percent. As Aydemir explained, the human touch is part of what drives these positive KPIs. “It’s never the technology itself that delivers the results at the end,” he said. “It’s mainly about the people and the execution of the teams, of the retail operations and all the support functions around it.”

In the decade since Volumental started, Aydemir noted that one of the learnings has been to keep the shopper at the center of its developments. Thinking about what experience and feelings the consumer wants and working backwards leads to better products and technology. “We probably wouldn’t have come this far without that,” he said.

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Watch the video to hear more about how Volumental’s technology works, the impact of personalization and Aydemir’s predictions for the future of footwear retail. 

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