How Footwear Retailers Use Aetrex to Slash Costly Returns Up to 50% – Sourcing Journal
Returns, returns, returns.
That’s the trillion-dollar problem many retailers are trying to solve as an influx of returns continues to boost cost and complexity across industries.
In the footwear sector, one of the driving factors for returns is fit. In fact, Jeffrey Stern, senior vice president, brand GM at Rocky Brands, LeHigh CustomFit, said people are actually wearing the wrong size shoe “because they either don’t know their true foot size or they don’t want to admit they have a larger size or a wider foot.”
Solving fit & reducing returns with Aetrex technology
To stop return rates from increasing further, Rocky Brands’ LeHigh Outfitters—a brand providing “quality” safety footwear to the industrial workforce—took matters into its own hands by partnering with Aetrex, a global leader in foot scanning technology.
Before partnering with Aetrex, LeHigh had a 13 to 15 percent return rate for existing customers and 20 to 24 percent for new customers. With a business model that guarantees free shipping and free returns, LeHigh was working overtime to perfect customers’ fit in hopes of lowering cumbersome, expensive return rates, “because returns are the bane of any online business,” Stern said.
That’s why LeHigh started using Aetrex’s premium foot scanning device called Albert 2 Pro, a 3D scanner that captures unmatched data and information about feet, enabling retailers and consumers to make informed buying decisions regarding footwear and orthotic purchases.
In addition to the Albert 2 Pro, Lehigh also uses Aetrex’s AI footwear recommendation platform called FitGenius™ which is designed to recommend footwear for each individual based on one’s 3D measurements, as well as purchase data on each shoe in a retailer’s catalog.
With the help of Aetrex’s Albert 2 Pro, LeHigh was able to capture complete 3D measurements of its customers’ feet—including girth, instep height, arch height and more—which are all “vital” to understanding feet and finding the best fit. In addition, the Albert 2 Pro helped LeHigh collect customer emails and phone numbers for the company to create targeted digital marketing messages.
“We send both emails and SMS texts to those who opt in to remind them of things specific to our business model, like their subsidy becoming available or to remind them that their renewal period is coming up,” Stern said.
Additionally, LeHigh utilizes the customer data to ensure employees are purchasing proper and safe footwear by emailing/texting them to purchase their footwear within certain timelines.
Using both Aetrex’s Albert 2 Pro foot scanner and the FitGenius AI platform creates an opportunity for LeHigh to really get specific with each customer and offer recommendations that not only fit best but are the safest shoes for their individual occupation. “Once we get a customer’s 3D foot measurements and their personal information, we create a personal profile and offer them information and safety footwear styles that they need and that’s relevant to them, creating a streamlined customer experience,” Stern added.
The results speak for themselves.
Since Aetrex’s Albert 2 Pro technology was implemented, LeHigh has reduced its return rates by 50 percent—all the way down to just 8 percent.
“Having an annualized return rate of 8 percent is significantly lower than the industry standard—which can trend between 30 to 40 percent—and one of the big reasons we utilize Aetrex in our integrative process,” Stern said. “Having the option to take the scanner on the road to our clients has been a game-changer, and allows us to provide an unchallenging and accurate fitting process—which in turn is providing great customer service and improving loyalty.”
To learn more about Aetrex, click here.