Aetrex Worldwide Inc. has taken the idiom “if the shoe fits, wear it,” to the next level.
At the FN CEO Summit on June 9 and 10, Jennie Bell, deputy managing editor at Footwear News, led a discussion on “The Future of Shoe Fitting” with Larry Schwartz, chief creative officer and Matt Schwartz, executive vice president, Aetrex Worldwide Inc.
On the heels of its latest launch, the Albert Scanner 3-D Fit, Aetrex has leaned into technology to differentiate and deliver the closest fit possible to its customers with its product, a stand-on platform for brick-and-mortar stores that delivers a quick fix to determining shoe size.
There are two categories for foot scanning: pressure-based, which is tied to orthotics and foot health, and 3-D reconstruction of the foot through AI that allows for an advanced shoe fit. For Aetrex, the company’s new scanning technology is all about 3-D measurements and advanced shoe fitting, and its Albert II Pro, which launched last year, had already integrated the two technologies for a comprehensive sizing experience.
Larry Schwartz said, “The idea of using AI for shoe fitting is actually more basic than some of the other ways AI is used. With our technology, the more that data is populated into the AI engine, the faster and more accurate the fitting becomes.”
And to reassure any Luddites apprehensive of such a technology, Matt Schwartz added that “For those who think of words like ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Machine Learning’ as abstract and something a little harder to relate to in terms of practicalities, the punch line for shoe retail is that the technology exists right now to tell customers what shoes and particular styles – and then for any style, what size in that style – is most likely to satisfy them, and most likely to work for them. And that’s very powerful.”
Shoe fitting is about many different variables, Matt explained, and its Albert Scanner 3-D Fit works alongside its Fit Genius AI platform that can be integrated into an e-commerce platform, which can dramatically reduce returns for the e-commerce component of footwear retailing.
“The benefit is that not only are we attracting people to the brick-and-mortar experience, [but we are also] giving them a reason to keep coming back to it,” Matt said. “At the same time, we’re reducing returns and increasing the lifetime value of that customer.”
“Then you add to this the fact that Albert puts the consumer in a position to transfer the scan experience to their phone through a QR code, and that increases email acquisition. With every email you also get all this data – so as a retailer, we can then communicate with the consumers when they’re not shopping with us in a way that’s personalized, that’s catered to what we know about them, and that’s more likely to increase conversion rates from digital marketing assets.”
The technology is affordably priced at $1,995 for the scanner, and Aetrex offers built-in financing programs for retailers, costing as low as $55 per month, with its SaaS fee priced at $150 per month.
Matt explained that the product is “really for anybody who sells shoes. That’s what this is about. You go to a shoe store and you stand on Albert, and within seconds [you] have this super high-tech, really engaging experience that guides me to the right shoes and the right sizes” – all while enhancing, simplifying, and energizing the in-store experience for consumers.
Summit sponsors include presenting sponsor PayPal and event sponsors Aetrex, Caleres, FDRA, K-Swiss, Riskified, SkyPad, Sperry, Two Ten and Zappos.