Invertex, an Israeli fashion technology start-up, on Thursday said it will soon launch ScanMat, a device enabled with 3D-scanning and deep-learning technology designed for in-store and online use and aimed at helping customers find (and buy) the right size shoes for them.
Invertex said it plans to launch ScanMat later this month as part of the Tech Lab showcase at the Shop.org event in Los Angeles. Invertex is touting the ScanMat as a low-profile, lower-cost alternative to other types of scanner hardware.
After ScanMat scans a customer’s feet, it creates a profile and sends that profile to the customer either via SMS or e-mail in a matter of seconds, according to Invertex. Customers can then scan any shoe in the store and be notified of the correct size alongside recommendations of other items that will fit. Customers also are automatically redirected to e-commerce for future purchases.
When anyone buys shoes online, they must reckon with the question of whether or not the shoe will fit “true to size” and decide which of the customer reviews they will believe — the ones that say the shoes run a little small, those that say they run large or the group that claims you should ignore everyone else because they fit just fine.
Invertex, which raised $2 million in seed funding earlier this year, is trying to work with retailers to solve this problem, allowing customers to get their feet scanned and have that information handy when they plan to buy shoes, regardless of how and where they make that purchase. In doing so, Invertex also could help retailers give their physical stores additional value as a significant touchpoint in the omnichannel shopping process.
The company also suggested that customers also could scan their feet at home using the technology as part of a retailer's app to help them order the correct size shoes. It would seem the technology might also be applied to customize shoe manufacturing on an individual consumer basis, though perhaps that is a ways off. Invertex did not immediately respond to a request from Retail Dive for more details on its business models and plans.
Invertex claims that it might be able to reduce return rates on shoe purchases by up to 50% in some cases. Additionally, the data collected by ScanMat already incorporates thousands of individual feet and shoe models and could serve as a valuable resource as retailers plan advertising and customer care strategies, among other uses.
It will be interesting to see how retailers respond and how the technology is applied. Apparel and shoe brands have begun to dabble with similar technologies. For example, Adidas has been busy working with 3D-scanning and customized production. Retailers may need some time to see how customers respond to the ScanMat, to what degree they use it, and if it has a measurable effect on their revenue and return rates.