Hotter Shoes is to become the first UK-based footwear brand in its category to integrate Augmented Reality (AR) in its app, enabling customers to try products for fit, colour and design virtually; without needing to leave their own home.
The business, which has accelerated its transformation to become a digital-first retailer in the last 12 months, has invested heavily in its AR functionality working with leading technology firm WANNA since October 2020. Hotter’s app now has many products available for virtual AR experiences. The business will add more product ranges as the business continues to transform its customer experience via digital platforms.
The launch of the firm’s AR app functionality coincides with the opening of the firm’s 17 stores post Covid-19 restrictions. For the first time, each location has industry-leading 3D foot measuring technology, meaning that a bespoke shoe fitting service will be available for Hotter customers both in-store and at home.
Victoria Betts, Chief Commercial Officer at Hotter, said: “We’re thrilled to be leading the way in the industry, as we continually focus on innovation to provide the very highest quality customer service alongside developing fantastic product ranges. 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.”
As the UK’s biggest footwear manufacturer selling more than 1.3m shoes a year, Hotter has invested £120,000 into its app. This is in addition to the £250,000 investment in its Hotter Footprint™ technology to deliver a precision fit experience to customers. The 3D scanning technology enables the customer to understand their foot shape, and precisely measures feet length and width so they can enjoy a bespoke shoe fitting experience.
Hotter’s app uses the same foot scanning technology. This allows customers to take photos of their foot, which the app’s technology uses to recommend shoe size and width size. Users will be able to see a visual of the fitted shoe. The retailer has a core female customer base aged 55+, with a growing 35-55 year demographic. Hotter is the first UK footwear retailer in this category to launch the AR technology in its app, which is a direct response to the changing consumer demands during and post Coronavirus lockdowns.
The shift to online transactions during the pandemic and Hotter’s investment in technology has driven 90% of its new customers being acquired through digital channels. Hotter is also reporting a 40% rise in transactions completed via its app – both on iOS and Android devices – in 2020 when compared to 2019.
Betts added: “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.”
Sergey Arkhangelskiy, CEO at WANNA, said: “Our mission is to create a completely new user experience in e-commerce 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.”
The Hotter app is available on both iOS and Android.