It can be difficult to buy a pair of shoes online, and if you have a high instep, wide feet, or a bone spur, the problem is exacerbated. It is common for customers shopping online to buy two sizes of the same model so they can try them on at home and return the pair that doesn’t fit.
The size of the problem is considerable, with half of all shoes bought online being returned. The primary reason for these returns is a poor fit or wrong size — a staggering 75%!
There is a significant cost to these returns. In Europe alone, 330,000 tons of CO2 emissions are created every year by people returning shoes. Returns and re-shipments cost the industry €10 billion annually and cost customers a cumulative 275 million hours — an average of 32 minutes per return — per year. And this doesn’t account for the amount of waste that is generated, including the additional packaging involved and items that are returned but cannot be resold.
On the customer side, some people only discover a pair of shoes doesn’t fit well when they wear them out for the first time, after which they are unable to return them. What happens to these shoes? Some will be listed on peer-to-peer secondhand sites but others will sadly go to landfill, where 22 billion pairs end up each year.
The global online footwear market is thriving, with a market size valued at US $99.1 billion in 2021 and a predicted growth rate of 6.8% from 2022 to 2028. According to a study by Quantis, the footwear industry currently responsible for 1.4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Additionally, 77% of people believing the shoe industry should do more to reduce its level of waste. The market is crying out for an innovative approach to scale down waste.
Enter German startup Footprint Technologies. The company has stepped up to the challenge of reducing waste in the footwear industry through the development of an innovative solution that benefits the customer, the planet, and the industry as a whole.
Using technology based on artificial intelligence (AI), shoppers can now scan their own feet to a high degree of accuracy and match it to find the perfect fit model and size of shoe.