Shoe shopping online offers customers lower prices, a wider selection and unlimited shopping time.  You can shop for any shoe style, any time, all from the comfort of your home or mobile device. However, there is a lack of standardization of sizing in the shoe industry that has left customers longing for a better online experience. Without the opportunity to try on shoes, customers are left to guess their size due to the discrepancy in size and fit across shoe models and brands. Because of this, 75% of customers are hesitant to shop for shoes online, and those who do are often left disappointed, as one-third of shoes bought online are returned.

Now, a Pittsburgh-based startup, Shoefitr, has found a solution. Using its innovative technology, the company has managed to reduce shoe-fitting frustration for both customers and retailers. Case studies with various running, soccer and casual shoe websites have shown that Shoefitr reduces the rate of fit-related returns by an average of 20%. This saves time and money for all involved, as well as all those delivery truck trips and their greenhouse gas emissions.

Know your shoe, inside and out

The secret to Shoefitr’s success is its 3D-scanning technology and sizing application. Shoefitr is able to scan the inside of shoes to provide precise measurements that customers can compare to their current comfortable shoe. Data on shape, heel and toe height, sole thickness and deformation under weight allow customers to find the right shoe easier than ever.  You simply choose the shoe you want to buy, submit sizing information about one of your current shoes, and the application returns 3D and 2D size and fit comparisons. The process takes seconds, and replaces having to try on several shoes and walk around through a store.

Think how much time and money you could save with this application. If you wore a size 9, and ordered that size for every shoe you ordered online, you’d get a wrong fit 45% of the time! Shoefitr’s technology not only increases customer satisfaction, but makes shoppers more willing to try new styles of shoes and more likely to build site loyalty.

Shoefitr’s sizing application not only has fiscal benefits, but can significantly reduce the environmental impact of e-commerce. Returns from online purchases cost retail giant Zappos $375 million in 2009, and shoe returns produce approximately 8,500 tons carbon emissions annually. It would take 350,000 trees to absorb that amount of C02 in the same time span, more than 11 times the number of trees in Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Park.

Shoefitr’s digital shoe database currently includes athletic and casual shoes, and even high heels. It is partnered with 18 retailers, including Brooks, New Balance and Toms.

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