Buying footwear is generally done in a brick & mortar store. The customer knows more or less what style and uses the shoes required should fulfill and he can then find the correct size and colour, try them on and if all is well pay and take the newly purchased shoes home. He may have previously done some research on the internet. Some shoes are hand-made by skilled artisans and used to be ordered from catalogues before the invention of the internet. But there were always limitations as the designer and manufacturer of the footwear also had limited options as data on customer preferences was limited to broad strokes.
But now there is another way that individualizes the purchasing process and includes an unparalleled online experience or Customer Journey to have a perfect fit, preferred design, colours, materials and accessories and which then arrives directly to your door.
This is Virtual Retailing and – as the name implies – engages the customer solely online. The steps are:
Customer-Customization – Design – Materials – Accessories – Payment- Manufacture – Delivery
This system has been designed and implemented by a company based in Italy and co-founded by Andrey Golub who is CEO & CTO of ELSE Corp- a Virtual Retail Company (E.L.S.E. – Exclusive Luxury Shopping Experience).
The interface between the customer and ELSE allows detailed information about customer likes and dislikes to be registered and stored. The more buyers that use ELSE will allow a definitive data-scape to be developed of the shoe buying public. The long-term aim is to offer Mass Customization to the consumer from designers and manufacturers using a Virtual Retailing Platform.
Virtual Retailing will form another element of Omnichannel Retailing in the footwear and fashion industries and is also part of the challenges and opportunities of new technologies related to digital and traditional distribution channels.