App measures shoppers feet to see if the shoe fits
Four friends are making life easier for online shoe shoppers using foot scanning technology.
The Auckland men have developed an app that allows online shoppers to find the perfect shoe size and reduce the chances of having to send wrong sized products back as returns.
The app, called Strutagio, allows online shoppers to 'try on' shoes before they purchase them.Shoe returns cost Kiwi shoppers and retailers more than $1.5 million each year.
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From a photograph, Strutagio can identify the exact size of a foot, which it then compares to the inside shape of a shoe.
In their early 20s, the friends have already closed a deal with major shoe manufacturer Bobux International and went live on the manufacturer's website this week.
Strutagio, which is a combination of the word "strut" and the Italian word for "ease", was founded in March 2016.
The app was developed by Angad Nayyar, Nishij Nimmagadda, Kyle Thumbadoo and Nicky Penhall.
The friends meet twice a week in Nimmagadda's garage in Manukau to develop the app.
Strutagio chief executive and Mt Roskill resident Nayyar said the problem of shoe returns was massive.
The industry average for shoe returns is 30 per cent, a 2016 IBISWorld report said.
"In the United States shoe returns cost companies US$260m (NZ$375m) each year and in China US$700m - with sizing issues being the number one reason for returns," Nayyar said.
Strutagio aims to lower this figure by more than 30 per cent, he said.
Bobux International CEO Andrew Sharp said Strutagio had finally been able to "crack" a problem faced by all online shoe retailers.
"I am extremely excited we get to share this app with our customers - it is inspiring to see a little Kiwi business solving problems the world faces," Sharp said.
Sharp said he was confident Strutagio would decrease his company's returns rate.
Using the app was simple, the Mt Wellington resident said.
Users put an A4 piece of paper on a hard surface floor, then put their foot on the paper and take a top-down photograph.
From here, Strutagio figures out the exact size of a foot and matches it to the correct shoe size.
Nimmagadda and Thumbadoo are web developers, Penhall is the machine vision expert and Nayyar takes care of the business side of things. Strutagio won the University of Auckland Velocity Innovation Challenge last year and received a $1000 cash prize.
The app was also a finalist in this year's Velocity $100k challenge.
Nayyar, who currently studied software engineering at the University of Auckland, said he hoped to create a global company that operates out of Auckland - the city he moved to from India when he was seven years old.
"The dream is to give back to the Auckland ecosystem because it has given each of us a lot."
Strutagio is currently in discussions with other major footwear manufacturers and retailers, he said.