Footwear Innovation – Swedish Style
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting VP of sales Anna Malkan at her amazing company Volumental based here in Stockholm. From the minute I walked one could feel the buzz of an organization in growth mode with an important mission. The company is focused on getting everyone in the world in better fitting shoes. Being part shoe dog myself I do have a good understanding of the how difficult it is to fit shoes well. I also have first-hand experience in the cascading effects ill-fitting shoes have on returns, inventory, sales and one’s bottom line. Hope all you shoe brands reading this have a magical foot model that represents all your consumers.
Volumental is a software company than has created a device and platform that 3-D scans your feet from all angles and stores the info in their global database. First of all, the experience of getting your feet scanned by a futuristic looking scale and instantly getting a 360 degree model sent to your email with precise data ranging from length, instep, arch, ball girth and ankle diameter and how it corresponds to the rest of the population in pretty cool in itself. Looking at the 3-D model and the data gave me the feeling of immediately recognizing they were my feet and meeting them for the first time, simultaneously. A true personal experience.
The company’s mission is not only to help you get proper fitting shoes but to also help brands and retailers gain a better understanding of how our feet are really shaped and the differences that occur between different geographies, cultures and lifestyles. Brands and Retailers also benefit from using their data to create better product development and inventory strategies on a global scale. It was pretty exciting to see true innovation happing in the footwear industry.
My entrepreneurial spider senses starting tingling immediately and I was thinking of new business models and strategies straight away. One off bespoke luxury shoes, of course, or was there a certain niche foot type that has been ignored that a brand could target? What segment consisting of serious recreational athletics wouldn’t want custom fitting shoes? What happens when with technology is combined with cheaper 3-D printers and another tech that we haven’t even thought of yet?? Ahh!!! One thing I left with was that the industry WILL be disrupted and it’s going to happen sooner than we all think.