Imigize is an innovative approach to solving the issue of buying footwear online. In contrast to buying clothes online, footwear can be problematic and result in ill-fitting or totally not-fitting shoes arriving in the post. The hassle of returning these shoes has resulted in a very uptake of online footware levels but Imigize is going to change all that.
Valery Chernik, CEO of Imigize which he runs with his son, spoke to Irish Tech Sons about where the company has come from, how it solved the fitting problem, why blockchain and when they would go for an ICO.
I. Imigize looks to enter the online retail show business, what kind of retail background do either of you have
Among the founders of Imigize, all are businessmen and entrepreneurs with many years of experience in retail and other business lines.
Besides the IT business, there are many years of experience in the printing industry, industrial production of notebooks and sketchbooks. Textile business: ODM production of T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts. The team has also a long and interesting history with the production of items from genuine leather: briefcases, folders, leather accessories for electronic devices and office.
Recently, the owner of the network of 200 footwear stores has entered our business.
2. How did you stumble upon the idea of online shoe sales being less popular and often resulted in returns (through bad fitting)
At a certain stage of business development for the production of premium leather products, we began to look closely at the luxury goods market: brand clothes and shoes.
By that time, we had begun developing relationships with the European fashion brands, and great prospects for further development had opened. The market had also been ready. In 2014 we were engaged in online sales of luxury corporate souvenir products in the b2b sector and there was an exit to the managing staff of the largest companies of the Russian Federation and the CIS. Demand among major directors and managers for strict business suits and VIP class shoes was great.
We’ve decided to occupy this niche. We spent around $300 K.
But at first deliveries of brand clothes and footwear for top management turned out to be a failure. Frequently clothes and shoes would not be of the proper size. A person would order shoes 9, and we would bring 9, but it would not fit while physically trying it on.
This business failure situation has forced us to analyze the problem of clothes and footwear online trade.
Researching online market of shoe trade, we have found an evident problem with goods returns precisely because of the wrong size. Online shoe sales now do not exceed 7% of the total turnover of footwear trade. Often, this is due to the fact that people don’t want the burden returning badly fitting goods. In addition to the time losses, it is also about a loss of money, as often online stores transfer to the customer the financial responsibility of buying non-fitting goods. As a result, 90% of potential customers don’t buy shoes on the Internet.
All this gave us an idea of creating a remote contactless fitting service.
3. Tell me about the patented software that allows you to both measure the volume of a shoe as well as matching to the volume of an individual foot
Our patents are related to the scientific discovery of the inner volume measurements of items without destroying it. We have patentted this method in the EU, the USA, China, Japan and Russia.
Based on this invention, we have developed an industrial technology of 3D measurements of the inner volume of footwear with high performance (up to 10 million models per year). We built the first in the world – a pilot measuring center for digital 3D footwear scanning in St. Petersburg, Russia.
We intend establishing such centers in the places of the global production of shoes and clothes localization (China, Vietnam, Thailand, etc.) so that items come to the online stores with digital identification. By doing that, any online shopper can immediately use our fitting service.
The inability to accurately measure inner volumes of footwear and clothes has previously been a stumbling block in solving a problem of a virtual fitting. All attempts to solve stayed in measuring the greatest length and width of the inner shoe insole.
Our technology creates a full three-dimensional model of the inner volume of any produced shoes. It is not hard having this model to compare it with a customer’s 3D feet scan, which can be obtained using a laser scanner.
But we took it a step further. We thought that not all people would be able to use such expensive device as a laser scanner. Often it is unavailable. But everyone has now a smartphone.
And we have developed a mobile app that allows creating a 3D scan of feet at home.
The available beta-version of IMISCAN:
The comparison of three-dimensional models of the internal volume of shoes from the store’s assortment and the 3D model of customer’s feet is carried out by a selection algorithm based on AI. This is also the know-how.
The algorithm considers not only the size fitting degree but also individual criteria of each customer. It analyses and compares more than 20 parameters on a shoe and foot, taking into account the position of toes, instep, height and width of feet and heel.
Our technology of inner volume measurement allows extending the contactless fitting service to clothes. But it is the next step in our expansion to the online market.
4. Who are you talking to in shoe production and or distribution?
Apart from the co-founder, who managed their own network of 200 footwear stores, two international advisors are on our team closely associated with leading footwear brands manufacturers in China:
William Wong, President of the Hong Kong Brands Federation
Robert Hiley, former Vice President of Timberland Footwear in VF Corporation
We genuinely appreciate their support of the Imigize project. In August we will participate in the global footwear exhibition -Global Footwear Sustainability Summit in Shanghai.
We will have a stand and will demonstrate the “live” service. We intend to meet manufacturers and retailers of main global footwear brands. We are also negotiating with large Chinese footwear manufacturers.
Preparations are underway for the construction of the first industrial measurement center of shoes in China jointly with one of the Chinese partners. This Measurement Center will be responsible for the implementation of the technology in the Chinese market, and then in the global market.
5. What brands are coming on board?
We are working with brands such as Anta Sport, Ecco, Keddo, Converse, Vans, Strobbs and Heelys.
Moreover, a large Russian online store of running shoes RunLab is our client. They manage brands such as: Saucony, Hoka, Asics, Mizuno, Salomon, Nike, and Adidas.
6. Do you have an MVP – if so it is in beta and available for download?
We have a full commercial project with a small income.
We have decided to launch the Imigize project in Russia/CIS as the first test market. This is due to the location of our developers’ office in Saint-Petersburg and quick response time to resolve any issues.
Currently, clients of the Imigize service are RunLab, Wildberries, Sportmaster.
The commercial launch was made in RunLab: https://www.runlab.ru/krossovki/vman/ (sign up, go to the catalog and click the «only fitting» button).
A pilot launch had been made in Wildberries in February, 2018:
Currently, pilot project works in the closed test mode and in a few weeks will be available for general public use.
We are preparing the launch in Sportmaster, which is scheduled for June 2018.
We have three exclusive outlets for our initial Imigize service:
- Runlab (www.runlab.ru) 500 000 customers.
- Wildberries (www.wildberries.ru) 30 000 000 unique users monthly
- Sportmaster (www.sportmaster.ru) 90 000 000 clients
According to the Imigize project roadmap, not less than 100 largest global online stores will be using the service by 2021.
7. when does your ICO begin – what are your soft and hard caps
We have started developing the concept of ICO since autumn 2017.
For more than 6 months, we have worked on the details of the project: the concept of a token, the economy of the token, and the legal issues.
The main aspect is the integration of the Imigize project to the blockchain.
From the beginning the storing and access to highly-precise customers’ 3D data produced many questions by the service users. In the end, we store highly-precise customer’s 3D clone. It is an indispensable condition for proper work of the Imigize contactless online fitting service.
How to protect this data from unauthorized access? The blockchain technology solves this issue.
Imigize encourages shoppers to provide the data to online stores in a secure mode, so they can immediately offer them only comfortable in size shoes and clothes.
Imigize tokens that are received by customers for using the service are free of charge, serve as discounts and can be used by a customer in any of the online stores connected to Imigize.
Currently, we are negotiating with funds and professional individuals and conducting sales in the private pre-sale mode. Our soft and hard caps are $1M and $60M respectively.
8. How can people participate in your ICO, are there bounties and airdrops?
Currently, we are discussing the possibility and launch dates of airdrops with our partners.
Follow the link to read about our bounty program: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2767657.0