Merrell partners with 3D tech provider on consumer app

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Courtesy NetVirta

A footwear brand of Wolverine Worldwide is leveraging the scan technology of another provider to launch the beta version of a shoe-fit advising app.

Merrell, a brand of Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide, is partnering with Boston-based NetVirta, a global provider of smartphone 3D body scanning technology and creator of Verifyt, to power the beta version of the Merrell Shoe Advisor mobile application. Shoe Advisor is a consumer-facing app designed to ensure an accurate, personalized shoe fit recommendation.

Verifyt will aim to provide Merrell’s customers with an easy, gamified, augmented reality-powered 3D experience to find the correct shoe size and fit in less than a minute.

Janice Tennant. Courtesy Merrell

“At Merrell, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the consumer experience in the outdoors,” said Janice Tennant, chief marketing officer for Merrell. “Fit of shoes is a major pain point for many consumers, especially while shopping, and it is the reason why piloting this emerging technology with NetVirta in our mobile app felt like a good partnership.”

Jeff Chen, CEO and co-founder of NetVirta, said the smartphone scanning technology helps customers shop online with confidence while reducing the number of returns necessary.

“Our technology was originally built for the medical industry and meets the demands retailers have for accuracy, speed and ease of use,” he said.

Jeff Chen. Courtesy NetVirta

Industry reports show that of footwear purchased online, returns average between 35 and 40%, with an estimated 72% ascribed to bad fit.

Based on research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NetVirta developed an FDA Class II-cleared smartphone technology app for 3D body shape scanning eight years ago. Its medical app, CurveCapture, is widely adopted by thousands of clinicians in more than 13 countries to 3D scan patients for custom-fit orthoses and prostheses.

In addition to the medical industry, NetVirta’s Verifyt app technology enables the sports equipment industry to provide custom-fit gear to athletes, the company said. Professional and college football teams use Verifyt to scan players’ heads for custom-fit helmets.

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