Hotter Shows, the UK’s largest footwear manufacturer, is adapting to changing consumer habits with the introduction of precision self-measuring technology as well as a new range of shoes designed to meet the ‘working from home’ demand of its customers.
The retailers has invested more than £750,000 in comfort and stability product technology to develop its latest collection of 63 new styles, more than half of which are within the firm’s comfort and casual lines, suitable for prolonged indoor use. This, says the company, is as a direct result of the shift in purchasing decisions as people continue to work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Alongside this, Hotter has introduced several waterproof walking boot designs this season, as the business responds to the drop in formal outdoor wear and upsurge in active footwear.
The brand’s significant investment in product design technological capabilities is in addition to a £250,000 investment in its innovative, industry leading Hotter Footprint technology for its Technology Centres to deliver a Precision Fit experience to customers.
The 3D scanning technology enables the customer to understand their foot shape, and precisely measures feet length and width so they can enjoy a bespoke shoe fitting experience.
Hotter, an international omnichannel retailer with a clearly defined target audience and growing digital base, has made these significant investments to counterbalance the downward trend in formal outdoor shoe sales, which has seen other major brands collapse. The footwear market has been polarised by the Coronavirus pandemic, with slipper sales surging 46% to £36.8m across the UK in the 12 weeks to September 2020 as lockdown restrictions kept people indoors.
Ian Watson, CEO at Hotter, explains: “Comfortable indoor shoes and practical active footwear designs have become a priority for Hotter. This is both to react to consumer demand and bolster the business for further growth this year. Our Freesole shoes, designed to be comfortable and supportive, have been bestsellers as customers have found them particularly suitable for prolonged indoor use during the lockdown.”
Hotter reported a 27% leap in online sales YoY in the last six weeks of 2020, successfully navigating the tough retail environment and tapping into the boom in online shopping. Selling over one million pairs of shoes a year, it also hailed a particularly strong Black Friday weekend, up 24% from 2019.
For this reason, Hotter, which has more than 4m customers in the UK and overseas, has reported a strong start to 2021 and is positive that its renewed investment in enhanced product technology builds itself a strong future.
Watson adds: “We have built up a reputation for manufacturing extremely high quality shoes for the needs and tastes of our consumers in our 60+ year history. Comfort, stability and fit are at the core of our offering and we are renowned for having all of these features in every shoe.”
Claire Pearl, Chief Product Officer at Hotter Shoes, said: “We’ve adapted quickly to the huge shift we’ve seen in consumer behaviour and I’m incredibly proud to see Hotter’s latest collection launch this month. While we know our customers are at home more and have fewer formal occasions to attend, it’s been our pleasure to incorporate trends and designs as they seek comfortable, modern and practical footwear more than ever before.
“This season’s collection is very targeted, with contrasting materials and ‘pops’ of colour for interest in our walking boots for example. We’ve also added to our active footwear range, including a new ‘chunky’ trainer design. Our collection is built on the foundations of expert shoe-making techniques and fantastic design, while remaining true to our Hotter heritage.”