We’ve seen a lot of stores realize that while the physical store isn’t dead, it does need to change with the help of technology. Makes sense that Nike would be on board! We’ve seen them use radical new robotics technology to change the way they make shoes, along with a successful partnership with Apple and the Apple Watch. This week they made a tech move that could impact the in-store experience, buying 3D scanning company Invertex for an undisclosed sum.
And why not — Invertex almost seems like it was built to be acquired by a company like Nike! Invertex specializes in 3D scanning technology that can create virtual models of feet, then match them to the best-fitting shoes available. That last part uses AI to make recommendations, so we can imagine that in the future, Nike will have scanning stations that will be able to make detailed models of your feet, then make recommendations based on what kind of shoes you’re looking for.
Who knows, it could even help you try on shoes virtually! That’s been the angle a lot of other stores and technology companies have taken using augmented reality technology, something we’ve seen a lot of in the beauty industry. Considering that those virtual try-on cosmetics apps also need to take into account skin tone and lighting, virtually trying on shoes is probably a simple task for technology to handle, so we wouldn’t be surprised at all if Nike moved in this direction now that they’ve got their own scanning and recommendation technology!
But, Nike also has the same problems there as apparel retailers do. While virtually trying on shoes can give shoppers a sense of whether or not they like the style, relatively few will be ready to buy without actually trying the shoes on to get a sense of fit. Still sounds intriguing, but we’ll have to see whether this kind of scanning and recommendation tech really shakes up shopping, or if it just ends up being a curiosity.