Start-Rite shoes produce a feet of digital integration

Start-Rite shoes homepage screen grabWe’re always on the look out for ideas that cross the digital and physical boundary. This week a Dare client told us about his great experience with Startriteshoes.com. He’s a bit older than their target audience, but his kids aren’t, and he has been impressed by their quality and fit. That said, to get hold of the product, parents will undoubtebly know the discomfort of dragging their children out at the weekend to try shoes, only a trip dentist can match the inevitable lack of enthusiasm.

Ideally this process would happen online;  largely quiet, no crowds, calm. If only you could be sure of getting the right fit. For adults, buying shoes online is easy but the frequency with which kids’ sizes change makes getting the right fit a little harder.

Our client was delighted to discover that Startriteshoes.com featured an tool (Click’n’Fit) that made the most of the ubiquity of digital cameras to allow a shoe fitting to take place online at home and consequently the purchase can take place without having to suffer the tantrums, smelly socks and sulky staff of the high-street shoe shop.

How Start-rite sole-ved the problem of buying online

1. You photograph your child’s feet positioned on a special grid (which you print off) in three orientations.

2. Upload these photos

3. the site responds with accurate sizing based on an analysis of the feet in relation to the grid.

I have seen plenty of examples of the web solving the friction of offline experiences (grocery shopping deliveries) and even the embarrasment factor (men buying lingerie). Start-Rite is a great example of using a digital environment to bring some theatre to the experience. Kids can get involved in printing and photographing each other’s feet and the interactions and relationships take place in the intimacy and comfort of home. Later, when it is time for more shoes, one could conceive of the children asking to “do the photograph thing”.

The success of Kodak was in taking a previously laborious film and developing interaction and turning it into simple cartridge roll film – “you press the button and we do the rest“. iTunes did a similar thing a hundred years later for music; it might not bequite so revolutionary but digital photo-sizing for children’s shoes means Startrite have left miserable shoe shopping on its last legs and at they continue to make kid’s feet more comfortable. Double rainbow.

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