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Hotter Shoes uses AR to enable shoppers to use their smartphone to try on footwear

Brands see opportunity online. Image courtesy of Hotter

Hotter Shoes is using augmented reality (AR) in its mobile app to enable shoppers to try on its footwear using their smartphones. Customers can use digital technology in its stores as well to ensure the perfect fit.

Hotter, which makes its footwear in the UK and sells more than 1.3m shoes a year, says it’s the first UK footwear retailer targeting women aged 55 and over to use AR in its app. The move, it says, is a direct response to changing customer demands both during and since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Shoppers have moved online during the last year – and Hotter has stepped up the pace of change towards digital first retailing at the same time. Some 90% of Hotter new customers are now acquired through digital channels. In 2020, 40% more transactions were completed via its iOS and Android apps than in 2019. 

Victoria Betts, chief commercial officer at Hotter, says: “Like all retailers across the world, we have seen a phenomenal shift to online transactions on our website and app in the last 12 months; we have reacted quickly to give consumers choice. This major investment across our stores and app mean that our core principles of comfort and fit are delivered no matter where the customer is at the time of purchase.”

Hotter has invested £250,000 in Hotter Footprint technology that uses 3D scanning to measure foot length and with, in order to recommend the shoes that will best fit. The technology is used both in its 17 UK stores, now that they have reopened from Covid-19 lockdowns, and in its mobile app, in which Hotter has invested a further £120,000. 

App users take a photograph of their foot, which Hotter Footprint technology analyses to recommend both shoe size and width size, before showing a visual of the fitted shoe. Hotter say app The digital-first retailer now enables users to try on a variety of shoes with AR. 

Betts says: “It’s amazing to think people will be able to try shoes on while in the comfort of their own home, ordering straight to their door with the peace of mind that their new shoes will fit well and look great.

“Coupled with the technology now available across all of our stores, we will be offering convenience, precision fitting and high quality service every step of the way. Each of our stores will hold less inventory than before the pandemic as we recognise customers will expect a more experiential service than ever before when shopping on the high street.”

The AR functionality was developed by AR specialist Wanna, whose chief executive Sergey Arkhangelskiy says: “Our mission is to create a completely new user experience in ecommerce by providing users with new ways of interaction with the product. We are very happy to partner with Hotter and offer a technology that allows trying on shoes from the comfort of one’s home. It is a completely safe way to shop in times of social distancing. We’re pleased to be supporting the Hotter team on their mission to become a digital-first retailer.”

Hotter Shoes is a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research. It sells to 4m customers in the UK and overseas online, via mail order and through 17 UK shops. 

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