Volumental’s FitTech Technology Makes Inappropriate Shoes a Past

Volumental is out to modernize the shoe purchasing experience by helping customers find their exact shoe size and recommending suitable shoes. Shoe returns are a huge headache for the retail industry, as shoe standards are wildly inconsistent; 44% of shoppers say they return their shoes, and more than 70% return their shoes because they fit improperly. The company said Volumental has helped its retail partners reduce their returns by 20%.

Alper Aydemir, co-founder and CEO of Volumental, said the technology, called FitTech, matches consumers with shoes that fit perfectly, using computer vision, purchase data and AI that “learns” from 30 million 3D foot scans from customers, including Under Armor.
UAA
New Balance, Fleet Feet, Red Wing Shoes, The Athlete’s Foot, Stride Rite and Road Runner Sports, among others.

Aydemir, who has a background in technology, including a PhD in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, worked in NASA’s robotics division and was part of Google.
GOOG
Augmented Reality initiative.

“I think my heart is in developing products and scaling technology that can solve real-world problems,” he said. “I find myself in the fashion, footwear industry. I am solving an important problem. Our vision is to shape a future where everyone exists and what we do is match people with products that fit them perfectly. We want to occupy that emotional space. Size is not a number, it’s an emotion. How does it fit and how does it feel. ”

“This is the future of retail,” Aydemir said. “The first use case is brick and mortar in stores. You can get a scan of your feet in four seconds. Then we move on to the recommendations. When you incorporate that into email marketing, it doubles the conversion amount.”

Volumental is now working to bring the experience to mobile phones. “It’s not a gimmick, you’re learning about your body. Consumers turn on Volumental’s FitTech multiple times and use it online.”

Aydemir has clothing on his mind, but applying Volumental technology to ready-to-wear is not that close. “Product development is very close and valuable to us,” he said. “Some shoe companies, based on scans, have revamped their entire line. If we get to those, we’ll produce products that fit better. Instead of giving me the sixth color of the shoe, why not create more width? Women need to go one size larger and sometimes it doesn’t fit well.

“We are chatting with some of the biggest brands in footwear,” Aydemir added. “Right now we’re just shoes, but we want to tackle apparel. I am a firm believer in doing something really well. I really want to do the shoe vertically well. We highly value many people. We can take these lessons and apply them to clothing.

FitTech starts by scanning feet, collecting shape and size data from millions of people around the world. This database of 3D foot scans is matched with data purchased from FinTech by Volumental’s retail partners. Advanced algorithms compress numbers to produce size and style suggestions. Since shoppers have the opportunity to create a profile based on their 3D scan, they can be quickly included in loyalty programs and email campaigns.

Alex Tollman, director of retail experience at Fleet Feet, said that 75% of retailer customers are scanned when they visit stores. “Consumers find that their actual shoe size is different from what they thought from the start. We understand this a lot. One of the most interesting things is that people don’t realize they have wide feet. They are used to wearing shoes that are too long for them, so they get extra width in the front of the shoe.

“We show them this after they go through the screening process,” Tollman added. “They can wear shoes that fit better with a wide choice so they don’t get caught on the toes of the shoes. One of the biggest insights we realized was that there was such an untapped opportunity in width, so we’ve significantly increased our offering in wide shoes.”

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