Red Wing Shoes improves online and in-store experiences with technology – Footwear News

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At 117, Red Wing Shoes undergoes a technological upgrade.

The Minnesota-based footwear company, known for its rugged work and lifestyle boots, has spent the past five years investing time and resources to more fully integrate technology into its internal and customer-facing operations. clients. These efforts culminated in two major launches this year.

More recently, the company deployed a fully integrated omnichannel solution for its Red Wing for Business b2b program. The service, which went live in July, offers a digital option for the brand’s industrial customers and their workers to purchase PPE and have it delivered at any time.

“The goal of this launch was to augment our store and truck business with a complete online digital solution,” said Dave Schneider, Chief Marketing Officer of Red Wing. He explained that industrial customers distribute vouchers to their employees, which can now, for the first time, be redeemed online as well as at Red Wing’s more than 500 branded stores and mobile trucks.

“The average consumer logs in with a personal ID in order to be authenticated,” Schneider added. “It allows us to understand that customer’s specific security needs and the subsidies involved, so the company can say, ‘We’ll pay 50% or $50.’ They are very different scenarios as to how we administer it behind the scenes. There’s a lot of data surrounding it.

Red Wing spent 18 months testing the b2b e-commerce platform, gathering qualitative and quantitative insights from partners in various industries, such as warehousing, energy and construction. Early customers included Amgen Inc., Great Lakes Coca Cola, Kone, Pike Electric and others.

Schneider said early user feedback has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of the experience. But there are other advantages for industrial customers. “It’s really important for security directors,” he said. “We now have the ability to tell them who is using their voucher, what kind of shoes they bought, when they bought those shoes. This data is a reporting mechanism to ensure that they comply with their own security requirements.

Although the site is no longer in the testing phase, Schneider said Red Wing is not yet opening the floodgates to all customers. He noted that there are still eligibility requirements for partners, as well as financial factors such as payment methods and taxes. “Eventually, as we add more feature sets to the product – which come in quick succession – we anticipate that we will be able to address the broader market,” he said.

Besides e-commerce, Red Wing has also introduced high-tech features in its stores. In March, the brand announced it was partnering with tech company Volumental to launch the AI-powered Ultimate Fit experience for customers. The service includes hands-on advice from a Red Wing specialist, and customers can use a 3D scanner to get personalized recommendations for their ideal boots and socks. Additionally, through a partnership with Superfeet, shoppers can receive insole recommendations and purchase custom 3D printed insoles that are mailed to their home.


Red Wing has partnered with Volumental to create an AI-powered Ultimate Fit experience.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Red Wing

While much of the footwear market has transitioned through the digital age, the work boot category has been slower to evolve. However, store closures at the height of the pandemic – along with more and more young people entering the trades – have accelerated a major shift in recent years.

For example, Zappos has invested heavily in its own b2b platform, Zappos at Work. And direct-to-consumer brand Brunt Workwear, which launched in 2020, has seen rapid growth, fueled by a $20 million Series B round that closed in February.

And three years ago, Red Wing launched consumer-facing e-commerce sites for its Red Wing, Irish Setter and Vasque boot brands.

Schneider said digital transformation is essential for businesses to meet all of today’s challenges, from changing shopping habits to supply chain issues. “All of this has forced businesses as a whole to really embrace digital technologies,” he said.

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