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Volumental Data Shows Where Retail Is Getting Back to Normal

As retail steps back into the open following months of coronavirus lockdowns, Volumental has gathered foot-scanning data that offers insight into regional reopening differences.

According to Volumental data for the week ending May 24, retail partners like Fleet Foot collected just 35 percent of the scans they generated the week of March 2-8—before shelter-in-place mandates took hold.

Five weeks earlier, retailers in April generated just 1 percent of the foot scans relative to their pre-virus levels. As stores have begun to reopen, Volumental has crossed the 6-million-scan mark, a milestone that CEO Moritz Schiebold said signals a good omen for retail.

“Since our first scanner hit the shop floor in 2016, it has meant we have been able to help footwear retailers fit people better, help store clerks deliver a technical and helpful experience, and save retailers time in delivering the best shoe to every customer,” Schiebold said. “Lastly it allows us to build our dataset so that we can create more products to help people find footwear that fits them and build those out in different channels, such as online and mobile.”

This kind of technology is slow to catch on in the footwear industry, Schiebold said, but can provide valuable service and information for footwear retailers and brands.

For instance, Volumental foot scan data showed that states including Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas recorded scans at 70 percent of their typical rates. In comparison, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania were at only 25 percent of their previous marks.

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As stores begin to reopen, Schiebold said Volumental’s technology will also give footwear retailers an option that could reduce the level of contact between store associates and customers.

“The number one advantage that foot scanning has over traditional methods in this new era of social distancing is the ability to fit people from a distance,” Schiebold said. “Fit specialists/store staff can easily scan and get people’s foot measurements while maintaining a safe distance.

“All that the fit specialist needs to do is press the ‘scan’ button on their tablet, and depending on their internet connection, they could even press scan and fit their customers from another room if they wanted to,” he added.

Schiebold said the Brannock device, the traditional foot-measuring tool found in shoe departments nationwide, can also lead to uncomfortable disagreements between associates and customers that would be easier to resolve with the accuracy and precision of digital measurements.

Volumental’s foot-scan data offers insight into how certain brands manufacture footwear in different sizes, emphasizing the role of highly detailed scans in determining a consumer’s ideal fit.