Customer Retention : Virtual Fitting Technology Drives Repeat Purchases for SoccerPro.comJanuary 2013 By Joe Keenan
One of the pain points consumers typically associate with shopping for apparel and shoes online is the inability to try products on for size. The luxury of being able to try on a product before making a purchase decision used to be the exclusive domain of brick-and-mortar retailers, but that's no longer the case. Virtual fitting technologies are revolutionizing apparel and footwear retailers' websites, allowing them to compete on an equal playing field with their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
One such retailer is SoccerPro.com, an online seller of soccer shoes, apparel and equipment, which implemented a virtual fitting application on its website in 2011. The retailer partnered with Shoefitr, a Pittsburgh-based company that creates software to help online shoe shoppers figure out which size shoe to purchase. Since launching the virtual fitting app, SoccerPro.com has seen its product return rate decrease 28 percent year-over-year. In addition, the retailer's percentage of repeat buyers has increased, as customers are more satisfied with their initial purchases.
"Fit is everything in a performance shoe," said Tony Marrero, SoccerPro.com's director of e-commerce, in a press release from Shoefitr. "Shoefitr is exactly the tool we were looking for to help our customers find the right fit. Showing the literal adjustments in the shape of a shoe compared to another gives a competitive soccer player the confidence they need to purchase a new style of cleat."
Shoefitr uses 3-D imaging technology to scan the insides of shoes. The measurements are accurate to 250 microns, which is critical for a shoe retailer like SoccerPro.com, with the difference between a perfect fitting shoe and a poorly fitting one often as small as a few millimeters. For soccer players, the fit of their cleats affects their ability to control, pass and shoot the ball. Shoefitr's application recommends the best fitting size shoe for each shopper by creating a visual display comparing the fit of a shoe a shopper currently wears to the one they're considering purchasing on SoccerPro.com.