Brick-and-mortar retail has tried to offer customized customer experiences for decades, with various degrees of success. Now, one company is aiming to bring those efforts to the next level.
FitStation powered by HP provides individual off-the-shelf shoe and insole recommendations, 3-D printed insoles and individualized custom footwear. Additionally, FitStation captures 3-D scans of the foot, foot pressure measurements and gait analysis to create a one-of-a-kind digital profile of each foot, visible on a screen.
HP last year partnered with insole manufacturer Superfeet to roll out a pilot program in specialty footwear stores across the U.S. Along with bringing Superfeet’s fit expertise to the sales floor, the platform allows retailers to fit customers for ME3D custom insoles and soon, customized footwear.
“Custom experience—that’s how we’ve existed, by tailoring the experience to the individual,” said Adam White, co-owner of Running Central in Peoria, Illinois. “Now with technology like FitStation we can take that approach and infuse it with customized product that customers need to come into the store to get.”
Running Central is among the 14 retailers participating in Superfeet’s pilot. White said FitStation serves as a “barrier breaker” with customers by creating a visual of the fitting process. “To see it on screen, capture that information and be able to talk about it helps build trust between customers and our staff,” he said.
The addition of FitStation at Go Far in Boulder, Colorado adds a unique value proposition to the new store. Operating manager Kate King said the technology acts as a guide in the fitting process, allowing staff to interact with consumers on a higher level.
Learning about footwear and insoles is not an easy task when you have 70 styles on the wall, King said. FitStation helps fill in the gaps.
While FitStation is not intended to replace sales people, White said it is setting the tone for cutting edge retail. “The ability to customize product via technology on the showroom floor of a brick-and-mortar store and be able to retain that business for the brick-and-mortar channel is key,” he said. “It is an exciting evolution in our retail channel.”