- Nike is rolling out new technology that will enable customers to find their perfect fit of shoe from the brand.
- Customers will use the foot-scanning feature on the app, via their smartphone camera. This scanner picks up 13 different measurements, and a machine algorithm then recommends the best fit for the shoe that they are shopping for.
- Nike hopes that this new technology will lower return rates and help with inventory planning. This data could also be an important tool for product development in the future.
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60% of us are wearing the wrong shoe size, according to Nike. But, the company has a plan to fix this.
This summer, Nike is rolling out a new technology that will enable customers to find their perfect shoe size. Customers only need to log on to the app and scan their feet using their smartphone camera. A machine algorithm will then recommend the best fit for a particular type of Nike shoe. The entire process takes seconds.
This scanning technology will be rolled out in the US in July and to select countries in Europe (the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain) later this summer. Customers can use it to shop online at home or in-store, where a customer sales assistant will do the scanning for them.
"We really feel we have made a breakthrough," Michael Martin, global head of digital products at Nike, said in conversation with Business Insider, while in Amsterdam to showcase Nike Fit for the first time publicly.
Martin said that today's shoe sizes are based on a system that dates back hundreds of years. Nike's plan is to move away from the traditional sizing system that is "essentially medieval," he said. "Size is fundamentally a lie."
Nike won't be doing away with sizes altogether — customers aren't quite ready for that, Martin said. The new technology means that shoppers will be directed toward the size that fits them best rather than have them automatically opt for the size they think they may be.
It's taken just 12 months to get this new technology off the ground. Nike recently acquired Israeli 3D-scanning company Invertex, a startup that specializes in making custom orthotics and that has helped to create the technology to make it happen.
In the future, Nike envisions offering a completely personalized product for customers, unrelated to gender or age.
"Our ultimate goal is to look for a totally personal fit," Martin said.
This technology could also be extremely beneficial to Nike if it helps to lower return rates and improve inventory planning.
Martin said that by taking the measurements of its customers, Nike could adjust inventory to best suit each city or country.
He used Amsterdam as an example.
"There's a lot of tall Dutch people walking around here and when I look at the size of the feet, I would expect that we would be selling more of our larger sizes than we would elsewhere," he said.
"Nike, like everyone else, uses standard distributions for buy depth, and that's been a reasonable approach when you think of it on a global level. But when you think of it on a county or city level, we could adjust that distribution curve to better represent that population."
Moreover, this will likely end up being extremely valuable data to have when working on new products.