New Personalization Platform Helps Footwear Retailers Find the Perfect Fit

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New Personalization Platform Helps Footwear Retailers Find the Perfect Fit

04/02/2020

Volumental is helping retailers in their quest to sell Cinderella’s slipper.

Demonstrating the value of personalization, the footwear retail tech company revealed findings from its scans of 2 million U.S. customers at over 600 retail stores nationwide from 2016 to 2020.

Among them: While the average foot size in the United States is 11 for men and 9 for women, just 40% of men and women with these foot sizes fit only one shoe style width option, typically known as “medium” width shoes.

The American standard shoe sizing system defines widths with a nominal step increment of 4.76mm. As the number of available shoe widths for a specific product increases, so does the potential customer base for that product.

Shoe brands offering two shoe style width options for U.S. males of size 11 will provide 69% of that population with a better fit; 87% with three choices, 95% for four, almost 99% for five.

For U.S. women with foot size 9, 71% of that population will have a better fit with two choices; 89% with three choices, 97% for four, and overt 99% fit when five shoe widths are available.

The firm’s Volumental Engage marketing personalization platform is intended to help retailers leverage this type of data by building e-commerce experiences, promotional marketing content, retargeting and loyalty programs.

Features include:

E-commerce personalization: Volumental personalizes the product discovery experience for shoppers who are connected to a 3D foot scan and can see detailed visualizations of how a particular shoe would fit them.

Personalized promotional email: Retailers can create targeted email content and shoe recommendations based on a customer’s 3D foot profile, training and activity level, and the time passed since their last purchase.

Personalized promotions based on past purchases: Retailers can leverage machine learning capabilities by cross-referencing purchase history and creating personalized recommendations based on similar foot dimensions and purchase history of other customers.

Personal shoe wall: Personalized page for customers with shoe fit-based recommendations can be displayed.

Shoe tags: Sellers can share fit information for shoes listed online and describe how the shoe will fit common foot types by adding this information to online stores.

“Retailers know the benefits of leveraging their customer data for personalization efforts from marketing to supply chain to inventory management. But many footwear brands are not incorporating basic data into the design of their footwear,” said Ales Jurca, vice president of footwear research at Volumental.

“Based on our findings, footwear brands can provide better fitting shoes for the majority of customers through two possible solutions," Jurca added. "The first is to produce several widths per size. The other option is to create specific styles that fit customers with narrow feet and other styles that fit customers with wide feet.”

After decades of operating solely via direct mail, the company has spent the last five years shifting efforts toward e-commerce. In February it became one of the first to test a new personalization platform to increase its subscriber base.