Footwear protection solution Imbox sees US entry as ‘natural next step’ – Sourcing Journal

Building on its existing presence of 6,500 units in Europe and Japan, the Imbox in-store protection service is entering the US market.

When launched in Denmark in 2011, Imbox Protection’s goal was to provide a more environmentally friendly and ‘convenient’ solution for shoe protection. About a decade later, the company now sells more than 27 million spray treatments annually through retail partners such as Deichmann and The Athlete’s Foot.

Oliver Hede, Country Manager, North America at Imbox Protection Inc., said the company’s success in Europe and Japan is “a clear sign that the consumer is happy to spend a few extra dollars to protect their new investment.” . He added, “We know that the American consumer also values ​​convenience and is at the forefront of in-store service. That’s why the US market was a natural next step for us.

Imbox’s treatment works on all types of footwear, including dress shoes, sneakers, and hiking boots. The company’s machine is a closed box with four sprayers and a scanner to ensure complete coating for the style of shoe being treated. In a 60-second treatment, these nozzles spray shoes with an organic, water-based solution that prevents shoes from showing signs of aging, including damage, stains and discoloration caused by snow, dirt, salt and UV rays.

“Shoes will receive an even coating of protection, which will reduce the likelihood of missing spots, which is more likely to occur when spraying with a hand-held sprayer,” Hede told Sourcing Journal. “In addition, the Imbox has heating elements that allow for a faster drying process, so that the consumer can immediately wear the treated shoes and have them fully functional.”

The protective properties last for six weeks. To extend this effect, customers can purchase aerosols, helping to increase shoe care and accessory sales by 50% at participating stores. “Many may also believe that Imbox would reduce sales of classic sprays, but our partners have seen an increase in sales of classic shoe care products,” Hede said. “While the 60-second treatment is taking place, sales staff can connect with the consumer and suggest other accessories or shoe care products.”

Buyers can also return for further Imbox treatments; partner retailers saw up to a 12% increase in return visits.

“Since introducing the Imbox Protection System to our stores, we have seen significant adoption of outdoor and running footwear,” said Andrew White, Retail Director, Outdoor & Cycle Concepts LTD/Runners Need . “Our customers appreciate the convenience of having their shoes protected at the point of sale and the ability to return periodically for additional treatment to continue protecting their investment.”

In addition to accessory sales, Imbox treatments themselves create additional revenue opportunities for retailers. The company’s partner stores tend to give Imbox treatments to around 40% of all shoes purchased. On the high end, customers opt for the protective treatment 80% of the time.

Imbox operates on a rental model. The company takes care of installing the machines and training the staff of the merchant’s store in the use and promotion of the device. The Imbox device launched in the United States has a 24-inch screen that allows the buyer to see their shoes being processed in real time. This screen can also broadcast promotional material, creating another point of contact with brand engagement. The device also captures data for the store, such as the types of shoes that have been processed.

“It’s common to believe that the treatment would be primarily for expensive classic shoes, but over the past three to four years we’ve discovered that the Imbox treatment works well and sells well for all shoe types, especially account given its all-weather protection,” Hede said. “We see it working well for classic shoes, athletic shoes, sneakers, and outdoor shoes.”

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