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New technology can be complicated. We’ve put together a checklist to make it easy to choose the right foot scanner for your stores.
3D foot scanning technology is revolutionizing the footwear industry. Gone are the days of huffing and puffing while trying on multiple pairs of ill-fitting shoes or stepping on clunky measurement devices. The entire shopping experience has needed to be faster, better and more fun. Scanning shopper’s feet enables new possibilities for digital sales channels. Most retailers have limited knowledge about 3D scanning technology, therefore the task of vetting what’s out there can be daunting. There has been a sharp uptick in new foot scanning products being introduced to the market, and very often advantages and disadvantages of new products are unclear. What to pay attention to? Which technology works best? What questions to ask, to separate good from the bad?
Our guide for choosing the right technology.
1. User Experience
User experience is key to retail. The ideal experience should be one-click and effortless. If shoe shoppers and sales associates don’t engage and the experience isn’t enjoyable, no amount of accuracy or data savviness is going to help.
To evaluate the shoe shopper experience of the scanning process, you should examine the following parameters:
You want to make sure that the foot measurement results are accurate so that your sales associates will trust the technology they’ll be using every day. It’s easy to make bold claims about the accuracy, anyone can do it. It’s harder to back it up with actual material, scientific papers, or otherwise.
Here is what you should be looking at:
Making claims about accuracy is easy, many tech partners flaunt wild numbers. A 0.1mm accuracy is highly suspicious and unattainable, and it’s a red flag for other claims a potential tech partner may make. Request detailed explanations of what exactly the accuracy claims mean and how they were obtained! - Dig deep, ask for written detailed reports. The larger the number of feet used in the accuracy evaluation, the more you can trust the accuracy figures.
Some vendors claim that their technology captures a 3D shape of the foot, but only experts in computer vision and 3D scanning can tell how accurately the cameras and computational methods being used in a solution really capture 3D shapes. If you don’t have in-house knowledge in these fields, find help from an external consultant to get a technical assessment of the solution you want to use in your retail channels. This is important especially if you’re looking at solutions that use mobile phone cameras.
Equally important is an analytics dashboard that is delivered to your inbox. Metrics such as the average number of scans per day per store, the number of online scanners and so on, are vital to run a smooth operation in-store and online. Store managers need support from HQ. You should think of the following parameters when choosing any technology for your stores:
In today’s world, even cars get software updates whenever it is needed. An agile tech partner should respond to any issues or feedback quickly.
5. Omnichannel capabilities
Shoppers these days shop everywhere and expect a great experience in all channels. That is why the 3D data and insights gathered in the store should be available through your e-commerce sites. The importance of online sales got a boost from the Covid-19 crisis. Digital sales channels will be increasingly important even after the Covid 19 crisis. Whatever solution you pick needs to have a product offering to support digital sales and marketing channels, as well as strong integration possibilities with your existing digital platforms.
5. The Team Behind The Tech
Last but not least, remember that products are made by people and those people need a vision. You want to work with a tech partner that is agile and ambitious and continues to offer new solutions based on new technologies. The best companies to work with are tech-savvy and manage to maintain a talented team that enables your sales channels to win over existing and new shoe shoppers again and again.
Ales Jurca has been applying 3D foot scanning technology to the footwear industry since 1999. He used 3 different medical laser foot scanners in his early research, and he managed developments of 4 generations of retail foot scanners. Ales is the VP Footwear Research at Volumental.
Alper Aydemir is an entrepreneur with a background in robotics and computer vision. After a PhD in robotics, he has worked at NASA JPL and Google's Project Tango, aiming to bring computer vision to the masses. Alper is a co-founder and the CTO at Volumental.