The Jenzy app sells children’s shoes that it guarantees will fit because of its digital foot-sizing tool.

App-only Jenzy is working to ensure that children wear the correct shoe size.

The retailer launched its Apple Inc. iOS e-commerce app two weeks ago at the end of June in the App Store. The Jenzy app sells about 65 SKUs of children’s shoes from 12 different brands. The app has a feature that measures a child’s foot and suggests the correct size shoe for each of its SKUs.

The goal is to have children in proper-fitting shoes, as well as to deliver a target return rate of less than 5%, says co-founder Eve Ackerley. Studies find the return rate hovers around 8% for store purchases, but anywhere from 20% to 30% for online sales, depending on product category.

In the two weeks since Jenzy’s launch, 500 consumers have downloaded the Jenzy app, 250 consumers have completed the sizing tool and about 25 consumers have made a purchase, Ackerley says. So far, no customers have returned any shoes, Ackerley says. The retailer wants to keep this proportion of roughly half of downloads completing sizing and about 10% converting, Ackerley says. Jenzy makes about a 15%-50% margin on each purchase, she says.

An app-only retailer aims to reduce children shoe returnsHere’s how the sizing feature works: In the app, a shopper opens the sizing tool and her camera launches. The app then guides the shopper through a series of steps. She takes a picture of her child’s foot next to a wallet-sized card, such as a library card or a Costco card. Then, using the same photo, the shopper resizes the foot in the picture to have the heel and toe touch the red lines on the screen.  She will resize the photo again, but then have the card fill the entire box on the screen. These steps help the retailer grasp the scale and proportion of the photo. This should take about three to five minutes, Ackerley says.

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The app will then give a range for the child’s shoe size, which will include about eight to 12 millimeters of growing room to ensure the shoes will still fit in a few months as well, says co-founder Carolyn Horner.

As the shopper  browses within the app, product pages will populate the correct shoe size for each SKU—shoe sizes differ from brand to brand and even within a brand. Whenever Jenzy adds a SKU to its site, the retailer manually measures each shoe’s internal and external dimensions, plus notes its material, lace type and shoe style into a database.

“When we recommend that 6.5, we’re confident it’s going to fit,” Horner says.

The co-founders were inspired to develop a digital tool that could accurately size a child’s foot for shoes because of the lack of sophisticated online tools, Horner says. Sometimes, online retailers offer a measurement tool that shoppers have to print to size the foot, she says. Plus, many of the specialty children’s shoe stores that would size children’s feet, such as Stride Rite Corp., are now closed, and mass merchants such as Target Corp. (No. 17 in the  Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500) and Walmart Inc. (No. 3) stores don’t always offer children’s shoes-sizing services in stores, Horner says.

Jenzy’s goal is to have 5,000 app downloads by the end of the back-to-school season, which is the end of August. It is using social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram to target 30-to 40-year-old moms in larger cities.

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For its initial downloads, the retailer ran an influencer campaign in which it had 10 mom bloggers preview the app, write blog posts and giveaway products to their followers. The co-founders also spread the word through their own mom groups.

Over the next three to four months, Jenzy will closely monitor customer feedback to determine where it will next dedicate its resources, such as to build an Android app or a robust e-commerce website. Right now, shoppers cannot checkout on its website.

Jenzy has raised $330,000 from friends and family and will likely raise more funding in the fall, Horner says.