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Customer experience and on-demand manufacturing

Shoes of Prey is one of the great Australian success stories - a simple idea, powered by innovative new technologies that took the world by storm.

Since its Sydney launch in 2009, Shoes of Prey has been one of Australia’s most innovative retailers. With customisation at its core, the company uses data and innovative on-demand manufacturing techniques to deliver great customer experience, while remaining efficient at scale.

Customer experience and on-demand manufacturing

We explore how, Shoes of Prey, a simple Australian idea powered by innovative technologies exploded into a global phenomenon through data and on-demand manufacturing.

On-demand manufacturing

“On-demand manufacturing in my opinion is the future of retail, particularly in fashion,” says Jodie Fox, Co-founder and CCO of Shoes of Prey. 

“The model that we see currently is mass production and in mass production you’re forced into minimal order quantities that are just enormous, freighting them all over the world hoping that people will buy them and then again when they don’t, there’s a discounting process and then in the worst-case scenario landfill.” 

She says on-demand manufacturing is not only more financially friendly but is also an important step towards reducing a company’s environmental impact. In addition to reducing waste, the model also empowers innovators, by reducing the barrier to entry for new designs. 

“Think about all the designers that never surfaced because they couldn’t afford to commission their first collections. There’re lots of great reasons that this on demand manufacturing is a great solution for all facets of a business.” 

Customisation at scale 

In order to manage the manufacturing costs of millions of bespoke shoes, Shoes of Prey designed its own factory line. 

handing a box to someone

“Every single pair of shoes is made one at a time. To do this there is a lot of innovative technology, manufacturing innovations and intellectual property that we’ve built.”

The concept of designing your own shoes rather than picking them up off a shelf in a shoe store will be a paradigm shift for many, but Jodie is confident that it will soon become the norm: “I think everything in retail in the next five years will be a form of mass customisation,” she says. And data has a big role to play in that shift.

Data-driven business 

While data is critical for defining how Shoes of Prey approach customers, Jodie’s says they pay equal mind to the emotional component of the process.

“If you’re not asking the right insightful question of the data, the data’s going to spit something out that is useless,” Jodie says.  “We make sure that we really do pair both of those things up to get to the right kind of messages, insights and ways that we interact with our customer.”

“Data underpins everything, absolutely everything at Shoes of Prey, we’re data driven, we’re really careful to make sure that we implement that kind of thinking into nearly every single decision that we make but - not at the cost of the gut.”

Marketing uncertain products

Addressing the success that Shoes of Prey has enjoyed connecting to audiences using digital media, Jodie says that digital marketing is something that is constantly simmering – there’s no silver bullet answer. But because there are approximately ten trillion possible shoes you can create on the website, searches for a specific shoe will usually surface Shoes of Prey readily.

“We approach all of our SEM and social through the lens of wanting to help you get the most relevant answer quickly. And, when you’re not looking for an answer, we share content that we believe you’ll enjoy most at that time, on that platform”

From on-demand manufacturing to a supply chain revolution, discover how data is transforming Australian retail.

Find out more

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