Online shopping is convenient, especially if you don’t live close to your favourite stores, but buying things like shoes and undergarments online can be a hassle, especially if you’re not sure of your size, or the sites you order from have a costly return policy. Now, though, when it comes to shoes you don’t have to guess anymore, even though your shoe size might vary from brand to brand. All you need is Nike’s new app.
How does Nike figure out your shoe size using just a smartphone app?
Measuring Your Shoe Size
Right now, if you try to measure your shoe size at the store, you’ll end up having to put your feet on a cold steel measurement tool that was invented in 1927. In spite of its age, it’s still the most accurate way to measure your shoe size, even though the sizing isn’t always standard between brands. The measurement is usually within a half to full size of your standard measurement but if you’re shopping online, one size off can make all the difference.
That’s the problem that Nike’s new app, Nike Fit, is hoping to solve.
The New Nike App
By combining computer vision, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, Nike Fit can discover your shoe size within two millimetres. You’ll be able to use your phone’s camera to capture an image of your feet. This image is fed back into Nike’s machine learning database to figure out the perfect size for each of their available shoe models. Eventually, Nike stores will also have this technology available for those times when you’re shopping in person. New shoes will be added to the database before. According to industry experts, roughly 60 percent of consumers are wearing the wrong size shoe.
Nike has always been known for its shoes, but now it’s trying to set itself up as a tech company as well. “Fundamentally, at this stage, Nike is a technology company. It’s a technology company that builds upon its historical strengths in footwear design, storytelling, and inspiration, and it is able to use those in combination to solve problems that no one else can solve,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s vice president of direct products, growth, and innovation.
Nike Fit will roll out in the U.S in July, then to Europe later in the summer. As of right now, South Africa has no word on when the app will roll out locally. If you like Nike shoes, you don’t have long to wait before you’ll be able to determine your shoe size with your cell phone.
Upcoming Consumer Technology
Nike Fit isn’t the only new consumer or retail-based technology that is poised to shape the retail industry. Ikea and Amazon are working on augmented reality apps that allow you to see what a piece of furniture will look like in your home before you ever make a purchase. Amazon and other retailers are also working toward creating cashier-less stores. Scan your items with your smartphone, pay with a credit or debit card, and walk out without ever having to talk to a cashier. Companies are also working toward omni-channel opportunities. Place your order online and either have it delivered for free, or shipped to a local store.
Order Your New Shoes!
These technologies are changing the way we look at retail purchases. Instead of having to take a trip to the shoe store, you can discover your size and order your new Nikes all from one app. I’m excited to test this out and see how it works when purchasing new sneakers online.
The retail industry is changing, but thankfully all you need to take advantage of it is the smartphone that’s already in your pocket.