Bourne firm North Shoes uses modern technology to keep fitting footwear during second national lockdown
A Bourne small business steeped in tradition has come up with a novel use of modern technology to keep trade buoyant during lockdown.
Family footwear fitter North Shoes is maintaining its renowned personal service to customers by offering a virtual fitting service.
It proved so popular during the first lockdown earlier this year – particularly for children’s shoes - that it has been relaunched.
James North – the fifth generation to run the family business founded in 1876 – said: “We really value seeing and talking to our customers and helping them make the right choices in footwear.
“That won’t be possible in person in our shops for a few weeks so we’re really pleased to be able to offer this service ‘virtually’ in their homes.”
Using video platform FaceTime, staff are able to offer a thorough service, from measuring to footwear recommendations to fitting.
Customers download a measuring gauge from North Shoes’ website and then a staff member video calls to take the correct sizing and give recommendations.
Footwear can either be home delivered or made available via click and collect, A follow-up video call is made to ensure a healthy fit or to assist with reordering.
The virtual fitting service was borne out of the North Street shop being closed to visitors from March to June.
James said: “A customer called me and said ‘I’ve got these shoes and I don’t know whether they fit me correctly’. So I asked if I could make a FaceTime call to them and take a look.
“Then another customer contacted me to say she was unsure about her child’s shoes and I suggested the same thing.
“That was how Mr North’s Virtual Fitting Service began and I went on to help about 60 to 70 families with it.”
Whilst shoe fitting is best in person, it is possible for a skilled specialist to advise on the appropriate width, depth and style via a virtual meeting. The service is being used by North Shoes customers in London, Birmingham and even France.
The business has four other shops - in Stamford, Oundle, Lincoln and Cambridge – and its full range is online at www.northshoes.co.uk.
To book a virtual fitting appointment with practitioner Ryan Clements call, text or WhatsApp 07903 400886.