mifitto, a young German company, is aiming to improve the shoe shopping experience with its 3D foot scanner. It is easier to find perfectly fitting shoes if feet are measured accurately. The concept, combined with an interactive touchscreen from Elo Touch Solutions (Elo), has already convinced the renowned Fraunhofer Society, a retail lab and leading German sporting goods stores.
With the 3D foot scanner, retail shops have a technology available that supports sales with benefits that are obvious to customers: the system searches for shoes that fit the feet – and not vice versa. First the feet are measured then mifitto searches for suitable suggestions.
The first mifitto systems, equipped with touch displays from Elo Touch Solutions, were installed in stores and in a retail lab in 2014. "When selecting the displays we chose high-quality, stable touchscreens with a reliable performance," says mifitto Director Thomas Harmes. Having tried models from other manufacturers with less than satisfactory performance, mifitto selected the Elo 3201L touchscreen. The 3201L model is available with projected capacitive (PCAP) or IntelliTouch® Plus surface acoustic wave touch technologies. Like other models in Elo's Interactive Digital Signage family (available in sizes up to 70 inch), the rugged full HD professional-grade display is equipped with an LCD screen with LED backlights and has a brightness of 350cd/m² which is ideal for indoor use.
mifitto spent 18 months developing the shoe and foot scanner. In addition to cooperation from experts in the footwear sector, the renowned Fraunhofer Society was also so convinced by the concept that they took an interest in the company. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (Fraunhofer IIS) were involved in the development of mifitto scanner. Thus mifitto had a research partner on board known for an invention that changed the world: Fraunhofer IIS researchers previously invented the MP3 format.
Since spring 2014 the scanner has been in use in four installations in Germany. In Nuremberg, the mifitto system has been a part of the retail lab "JOSEPHS® – The Service Factory" from the start. Since May this year, retailers and customers can experience new product and service concepts in the lab. In three-month test cycles based on a specific theme, a wide variety of products and services are presented to customers for testing and evaluation. The first theme using the 3D scanner and touch display launched under the slogan "Creative with hand and foot."
Equally creative when it comes to using the mifitto system is the sports shoe expert Teamsport Philipp. The company, with seven branches and an online shop, is one of the largest sports dealers in Germany for football equipment and shoes. Stores are the most important outlets of the company with about 70% of sales. Since April 2014, the Teamsport Philipp has used the mifitto scanner together with the 32-inch Elo touchscreen. "Until the end of the World Cup, the scanner was in use for football boots" said Christian Lenz of Teamsport Philipp. Football players in particular have special habits when buying boots. Some lace up their boots very tightly while others can play better in loose-fitting boots. That and the different sizes depending on the manufacturer are good reasons for using the system at the point of sale. After measuring the feet, product suggestions are shown on the touchscreen. In future, the mifitto system will be used for other product groups, such as running shoes. "The entire system is very easy to handle. It's an integrated, seamless system" concluded Lenz.
The mifitto scanner has been received with great interest in the shoe and sports sectors with more shops likely to take up the system in the near future. It has also turned into a substantial product and image database. At mifitto in Duisburg, 10,000 shoes per day were scanned and photographed, building a large collection of information about all kinds of shoes. This database can contribute to a reduction in e-commerce return rates and helps in-store customers, either individually or together with the shop assistant, find the perfect shoes more quickly and more easily. The visualisation and interactivity of the touchscreen plays a decisive role in the process.