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Why York Athletics Thinks Its Online Foot Measurement Tool Will Lure In New Customers

With fit not being the same between brands — or even the different shoes that they offer — York Athletics Mfg. believes it has found a solution specifically for its customers.

The Boston-based performance athletic brand has launched York Fit Finder, a three-dimensional foot measurement tool designed to find a user’s shoe size by using the camera on their phone or tablet. The innovation — created in partnership with digital shoe sizing and fitting company FindMeAShoe — scans and measures the shape and proportions of a foot to identify a personalized shoe size recommendation.

Rather than create an app, York and FindMeAShoe developed a web application with nothing to download, which has been in the making for roughly a year. And the process to find the right fit is simple.

After clicking the Find Your Perfect Fit button, you place your foot on a piece of paper with your heel up against a wall. Next, you take a photo of your foot and the York Fit Finder will find your measurement. (At the end, you can save your personalized fit profile for future use by logging into your York Athletics Locker.)

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Where this tech differs from similar innovations, the brand explained, is that the York Fit Finder simulates your foot entry and position inside the shoe.

“Because we have one last shape that goes across four models, what the algorithm does in the scanner is it scans your left and right foot for shape, but what we’ve also done is scanned our last and each one of our uppers. The algorithm places your foot shape actually inside of the shape of our sneaker and then spits out your York fit, which is incredibly accurate,” York Athletics co-founder and CEO Mark McGarry explained to FN. “Within our data scrubs, the information we have, it’s between 1 and 2 mm variance. So it’s optimized to fit 98% of people’s feet.”

York Athletics VP of digital Dan McAuliffe added, “Because we’re a smaller brand that has a little bit more of a universal fit as compared to other brands who’ve tried to tackle this, they have so many different SKUs, styles, fits where it becomes very hard to manage all the variance between those different styles and shapes. With us having a bit more uniformity, it allows us to increase on our accuracy.”

York Athletics Mfg. Frank Half & Half
York Athletics Mfg. Frank “Half & Half.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of York Athletics Mfg.

McAuliffe described the company’s return rate as exceptional, stating it sits between 9% and 12%. Because of the low return rate, he explained that the creation of York Fit Finder was to lure in new customers.

“We have this great return rate. Well, that’s for those who choose to purchase from us. There’s plenty of people who have that question of, ‘I don’t have to deal with returns, I don’t know my size — ‘I’m this in Nike, I’m this in Adidas,'” McAuliffe told FN. “We’re able to provide them with confidence by saying, ‘Hey, here’s the size that we recommend.’ This hopefully will open up an opportunity for us to reach a wider audience and establish that confidence up front for those who might have been on the fence.”

McGarry added, “As a newer brand, new customers may be like, ‘This brand looks great, these shoes are awesome,’ but there’s still a little barrier where customers are like, ‘I never heard of these guys so I don’t want to order a shoe and have to send it back if it doesn’t fit.’ We attach this to our new customer acquisition strategy to educate them, to say ‘Here’s a web application that’s super easy to use and will guarantee your fit to help break down that barrier for the first time purchase.'”

And with COVID-19 forcing people to shop more at home rather than in stores, the timing of the launch couldn’t be more ideal.

“With the rise of DTC and e-com purchases, more people are buying footwear online in the comfort of their home — that’s increasing year over year — but the Brannock Device that was created for retail was kind of the only way of measuring foot size. This was an effort to solve for that. We’re we’re giving a customer this unique experience where they can get a custom fit in the comfort of their own home,” McGarry said.

York Fit Finder can be used for both Android and Apple devices. For Android, the web browser to use is Chrome, and Safari is the browser to use for Apple products.

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