Salomon today announced a new method of manufacturing that will allow the brand to make custom running shoes for the general public, and build them on site.
Source: Fusion Machine, Robotic Equipment To Build Custom Shoes
Additive manufacturing is allowing brands to quickly move towards a trend that will be necessary to remain relevant in today's fast moving retail arena. Saloman Running is introducing their 3D printing tech into the footwear arena.
Brands are introducing the tech as a way to reignite interest in a lagging performance section. Honestly its not the tech that will bring people back, it's the ability to customize. Customization creates engagement. Retail outlets are shuttering at a high rate. Macy's is closing 100 stores, JCP is closing over 60, The Sports Authority is gone and Payless is on the way out as they've filed bankruptcy. Small private label running brands are a niche market and although their wearers are loyal, having a core following is not enough to sustain growth in an environment where expenses continue to creep up.
The only way small performance oriented shops can continue to drive engagement is via personalization. The big three Nike, Under Armour and adidas are all creating interactive spaces. Additive manufacturing gives brands like Saloman an engagement platform for current visitors and with an app, they can reach more people who may have been tempted to wear the brand, but hadn't found a reason to visit an outlet or the site.
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