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Solving Online Footwear Returns with AI Recommendations

Online retailers have a recurring returns problem, especially in the footwear category where they can be as high as 30 to 40 percent.  As e-commerce continues to grow at an exponential rate, this challenge will unfortunately only become more prevalent. But, one company is combining 3D foot scanning and artificial intelligence (AI) in an effort to eliminate the issue entirely and give consumers the right shoe fit every time.

Aetrex recently unveiled FitGenius, an AI platform that is now integrated into their foot scanning technology. The program works by matching shoppers’ unique foot profiles, which are gathered from a foot scan in store, with a retailer’s footwear catalog. The software uses AI to analyze the data and provide the shopper with ideal footwear recommendations by style and size for their unique feet. Upon getting a foot scan in-store, FitGenius can make shoe recommendations anywhere the consumer shops, whether in store or on the retailer’s website.

In a fireside chat with Sourcing Journal, Larry Schwartz, CEO of Aetrex, explained that there are two categories of data that can be collected during a foot scan: 3D measurements that measure length, width, girth, instep height, arch height, among other data points; and pressure data underfoot, which helps determine where you’d be prone to discomfort or pain.

“When someone gets their feet scanned, we capture a tremendous amount of data about their feet. And, we can use a retailer’s product feed to determine the top styles that are most likely to fit the shopper and have the lowest returns for the retailer,” Schwartz said. The system gets updated in real time, so once Aetrex has access to the retailer’s latest inventory feed, the software knows what is out of stock and what not to recommend.

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He also explained how the system “learns” as it collects more data. “As you do more scanning and you capture more data, the FitGenius AI engine becomes more accurate,” Schwartz said about the “smart” system during the chat. “At a certain point, typically a few months, we’re able to match your feet with other similar foot profiles who have shopped in store. And, based on their purchase history, we can custom recommend shoes that are much more likely to fit your feet.”

One of the challenges when shopping for footwear online is that consumers typically only know their length and possibly their width. But, the reality is that feet are three-dimensional, and shoes are too. So, there are many more factors at play. According to Schwartz, “the combination of an accurate 3D reconstruction of your feet with our FitGenius AI engine, allows us to solve this problem and recommend the right shoes in the appropriate size.”

What’s more, retailers can leverage Aetrex’s FitGenius software to develop personalized emails and social media marketing campaigns that recommend the most relevant, best-fitting products for each consumer.

Watch the video above to learn more about the Aetrex FitGenius AI platform and how the company can help retailers personalize the footwear shopping experience.