Christian Klammer and his wife Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt run the retail store “Schuhtingstar” in Starnberg. Together they have developed a shoe configurator for children’s and women’s shoes that combines the advantages of stationary retail with the endless variations and possibilities that online shopping offers. The shoe configurator is intended to offer stationary retailers a sales tool that is intended to be supportive for retailers. Luna Journal spoke to the owners about the innovative digital service for the stationary trade and their visions for the future.

How exactly can one imagine the shoe configurator?

Christian Klammer: A POS terminal in a retail store where our customers can configure their individual shoes with just a few clicks. From a variety of colors, materials and equipment desires the customer creates his own design very easily and immediatly gets a realistic representation of his or her future dream shoe.

To what extent should this facilitate the search for a suitable shoe for the customer?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: In times of full shelves and cabinets consumers feel a deep longing for individuality. Mass service was yesterday. Today’s customers have a strong hedonistic need for a unique position! We would like to satisfy this customer wish digitally in the future because analogously we could never represent and offer this varied choice of products in an economically justifiable manner.

To design your dream shoe with the shoe configurator the customer has to try on different models in the shop. What’s behind all this?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: In order that the customer can design and order his unique item with a clear conscience, he should be able to convince himself personally of the fit and comfort of his desired model during a fitting. Materials and colors in the form of patterns also provide the customer with haptic and visual security in addition to the virtual display on the screen.

How do you combine the advantages of stationary trade with the possibilities of online shopping?

Christian Klammer: For us as retailers, the configurator is an excellent tool for positioning and differentiation in times of online trade. In order to survive against the huge range of platforms such as Zalando and Amazon, we as stationary retailers have to think about new digital services such as the MySchutingstar configurator which offer customers a unique shopping experience.

What range does your shop “Schuhtingstar” offer?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: Right from the start, it was important to us to stand out from the crowd with a lovingly curated assortment of fashionable and high-quality shoes, fashionable outfits for mothers and children and unique accessories. Our labels must have a certain style. We focus on extraordinary styles and designs, and this runs through our entire range.

Schuhtingstar: Schuh-Konfigurator
Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt

Which sizes and models are available on site?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: We generally carry shoes in sizes 18-42, for the configurator we initially focus on four models in sizes 30-42 (sneakers, ballerinas, Chelsea boots and boots) for summer and winter.

What design options can the customer choose from?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: Depending on the shoe model, up to seven elements (cut elements) can be individually designed on one shoe. The user can choose from different materials such as smooth, patent, wild or embossed leather as well as textures such as fur and glitter in up to six different color variants so that well over a hundred thousand different design options can be created.

The shoe configurator is still in the optimization phase to familiarize retailers with the concept. How would you like to achieve a positive customer feedback?

Christian Klammer: We are convinced that the success of MySchuhtingstar “stands or falls” with an excellent customer experience. Only if we succeed in ensuring that users enjoy designing their dream shoe at a POS terminal and the operation is simple will the idea of a configurator be accepted by customers. That’s why the test phase at Schuhtingstar is very important for us before we go into series production with the idea.

What are you planning to optimize before introducing the concept to other retailers?

Christian Klammer: The test will also provide us with experience for a flexible and trouble-free production chain. In addition, we are gaining ever better insights into the ability to identify customers’ wishes and needs and to make purchasing decisions as simple as possible.

To what extent does your shoe configurator enrich the trade?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: With our concept we will revolutionize the future of shopping and trade. Imagine what it means for the stationary trade in the future to be independent of the purchase of goods. The decision to buy in advance often corresponds to a “Russian Roulette” game. It is almost impossible to determine the actual demand for goods so far in advance. The “just on demand production” together with prepayment leads to a significant risk minimization for the stationary retailer. There are no unnecessary surplus goods – liquidity can be saved. In addition, in times of declining frequencies and stagnating sales, we are providing stationary retailers with a genuine sales tool with which they can differentiate and distinguish themselves from growing competition on the World Wide Web.

Where are the shoes produced?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: We were very pleased that we found a very fine and high-quality manufactory in the stronghold of Italian shoe manufacturing. Our supplier corresponds to our high-quality understanding of design and quality promises and ensures us short and fast routes in logistics.

How long does it take to deliver the desired model?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: We expect 14 working days after ordering via the configurator.

Where can the customer pick up his or her goods?

Christian Klammer: The pickup at the store is part of a deliberately planned customer journey which every dealer should use for upselling with the right celebration of the handover.

In which cases do customers want to personalize their shoes?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: For children’s shoes – especially slippers – I can imagine that parents would like the shoe to have the child’s name on it. With the shoe configurator it would be technically no problem to attach for instance initials to the shoe.

Which markets do you plan to conquer in the future with your innovation?

Christian Klammer: Real innovations are often very sceptically opposed. It will therefore be all the more important for us to identify the innovation leaders. The retail landscape is changing at a breathtaking pace. Many, especially in retail stores, are looking for new innovative ideas and business models. We want to address these with our attractive solution for “Mass Customization” and “Just on Demand” production. Here we know personally no borders in the markets. We think our model has worldwide potential!

What is your vision?

Dr. Jana-Maria Lehnhardt: With our business model, we want to make a contribution to ensuring that the stationary trade continues to have a future with real innovations. Think of 3D printing, for example, which is constantly evolving. Why shouldn’t it be possible to pick up your shoe from a 3D printer in a store in the near future? With our SAAS model MySchuhtingstar we offer a possibility which is already connected to such scenarios.



Image: Schuhtingstar