Amazon.com Inc. aims to help consumers take the guesswork out of buying shoes online. The Seattle-based behemoth has acquired Shoefitr, a Pittsburgh, Pa., developer of a 3D technology designed to match shoppers with shoes that would best fit their individual foot. Financial details of the purchase have not been released.
Shoefitr’s proprietary technology can scan any shoe both inside and out. Consumers can then enter the size and model of a shoe they’re currently wearing and Shoefitr can compare it with its extensive database of scanned shoes to recommend the style and size of shoe that would deliver a similar fit. The program takes into account variables that include shape, sole thickness and weight of a particular shoe, comparing them to the customer’s current pair.
According to Shoefitr, its system can reduce the number of shoe returns by 25 percent — a huge benefit for the online retailer, since its return rate can run from 35 percent to 50 percent. Additionally, the company noted that due to the lack of standardization of shoe sizing in the industry, if shoppers were to order the same size in every shoe on the market, they would be wrong 45 percent of the time.
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Shoefitr was founded in 2010 by college athletes and entrepreneurs Matt Wilkinson, Nick End and Breck Fresen, who began by fitting running shoes. They then expanded the platform to include shoes of all types.
Since Shoefitr already counts Brooks, Cole Haan, Ecco, Puma and Toms among its clients, it is not yet determined how these relationships will go forward.