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Measure and fit guide
In an age where all aspects of our lives seem to be going digital and online, it's also another example of a very simple activity - getting your children's feet measured in a shoe shop - being turned into a profitable exercise in data collection. Shoe company Clarks has bet millions on the scheme, hoping it will be rewarded with an invaluable bonanza of digital data. Made out of timber, it took a scan of the child's foot, which was then analysed by the fitter to recommend the correct shoe size.
Great fitting shoes are at the heart of our business and we have developed alp iPad Foot Gauge because we want to continue to enhance our consumer experience, ensuring that children have stylish shoes that fit their feet perfectly. Manufacturing around 50 million shoes each year, the business goal is to de shoe ranges that approximate in size to the greatest of people's feet.
He immediately set to work on his vision, enlisting the help of a product de team and an app developer. Upstairs, armies of smartly turned out buyers examine endless rows of shoes to second guess the next season's fashions. The Clarks team is reluctant to discuss its data findings in detail, but it confirms historic show there is a connection between health and foot size.
Kids shoes - measure and fit at home
For today's tech savvy kids, would putting an iPad into the mix make the whole experience more palatable? On his desktop computer a spreheet spools out the latest batch of global foot data coming in from the army of iP.
Last year Clarks rolled out its patented foot measuring system, which harnesses the iPad though the technology could work on any tablet in theory. Laura West of the Society of Shoe Fitters adds a note of caution though. The aapp foot measuring system has won several industry awards. The building now houses a vast research and development facility.
Improving the accuracy of foot measurement
You can see how the device works in the video here: media captionPeter Rickett of Deworks demonstrates the iPad foot gauge that he and his team developed In Clarjs, it combines the mechanism of a traditional plastic foot gauge with the tablet computer. Electronic foot gauges of the past were large, cumbersome and prone to break.
The child is enticed through the whole procedure by animated cartoon characters, who hop around telling the youngster what to do next. Getting children to focus on getting their feet measured for shoes is one of life's more trying activities.
The people who come to us have foot problems, so don't make for a good, representative sample. Mmeasure, "and we can build that into our product development. He recalls the older, simpler method of collecting data - used until last year.
From a business point of view it allows for better stock control, says Mr. The HQ is a converted factory building - a factory that used to house Clarks's shoe manufacturing operation, which has since moved to China.
The team has also developed a new kind of digital tape measure as part of the system. Since then, it has gone through several stand-on incarnations before evolving in line with today's technology.
Here traditional shoemakers carve wooden models, alongside colleagues using 3D printers. Is there a business case for investing in this data collection enterprise?
Especially in new markets like China where the company doesn't know a great deal about the country's foot size characteristics, he explains. The Digitape looks like a plastic claw, and measures the width of the foot by gently clamping around it, before communicating the data by bluetooth to the iPad. The "Celtic foot" is a very long term trend, but short-term changes could also affect foot size, making this market sensitive data for a shoe firm.
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Related Topics. It may be fascinating to those whose day job is studying feet, but it remains to be seen if it is a worthwhile business investment. These have cited the device's success at holding 's attention. The gauge will be available in all Clarks stores and stockists across the UK in the next couple of weeks, and was deed for the company by Deworks Windsor Ltd.
According to Clarks, the new measurre will give more precise measurements. A plastic bar touches the tip of the toes, but the precise measurement is recorded by the tablet's touchscreen, rather than the human eye.
Although she applauds Clarks' initiative, she warns against relying too much on technology. Appropriate measures? The idea came to Chris Towns, innovation manager at Clarks, as he was driving in his car five Clarkd ago, mulling over the potential of the iPad, which Apple had just launched. The first portable digital foot measuring device of its kind, it certainly stands out from its predecessors, and appears user-friendly.
The are relayed to the iPad app, which presents an instant shoe size guide to suggest the best fit. Hence the premium put on accurate, up to date data. Shoe shops at school holidays and half terms are hardly havens of tranquillity, as many parents will testify. They are investing in the infrastructure necessary to harvest data.