In the summer, many orthopedic problems worsen, as we walk more, walk, which increases the load on the joints, the heat also exacerbates the situation. Swelling, fatigue and aches in the legs, increased sweating, corns, corns, irritation, rubbing of the heels and delicate leather on the fingers and soles of the feet are all typical summer complaints. You can avoid or reduce them if you use preventive insoles for shoes and other “supportive” orthopedics, the demand for which traditionally increases in the warm season. Yulia Belkina, expert, representative of SIOUX, Semler, BNS brands in Russia, tells in an interview with SR about why insoles and other similar items should be in the assortment of a shoe store, what items to form it from, what and how to offer customers in the summer.
Julia, why should insoles and other supporting orthopedics be in the assortment of a shoe store today?
Insoles have been the most sought-after product in shoe stores for many years, which is now not entirely correct to call accompanying. Insoles have long been isolated and have become an independent product that is sold not only with shoes.
Orthopedic topic is more relevant than ever. To one degree or another, almost every one of us has problems with the foot, and if they still do not exist, then our buyer is already so informed that he understands perfectly well how important it is to sound the alarm at the slightest sign of flat feet or other foot deformity. A shoe store has a rare opportunity to help such a customer make the right choice. To do this, you just need to show attention to the person and have a suitable product in the store. For example, the collapse of the foot is visible to the naked eye. Properly and in time selected insole will support the foot and prevent further deformation. If you look purely from an economic point of view, of course, it makes sense to have such a sought-after product in the assortment of the store.
What are the needs of the consumer?
In general, everyone has the same requests - to get a good product at a normal price. In this sense, an offline store has more opportunities to properly advise the buyer and show the product in person. There is no possibility of live communication on online platforms, and there is a struggle of a visual offer. Well, and, of course, the struggle of prices.
Recently, it has become fashionable to give a huge amount of information, densely placed on brightly designed sheets. Such an image often does not say anything about the quality of the product, you can write anything you want. However, it is generally accepted that this animates making a purchase. Much has been said on this topic, but there is still no convincing analytics. In any case, the task of more individual communication with the buyer is also present online, the methods of such personalized communication are constantly discussed.
What should be emphasized in the formation of a "medical" assortment? What positions are in demand today, especially in spring and summer?
The list of conditionally "medical" assortment can be long. Of course, the main emphasis is on preventive insoles against flat feet. All orthopedic problems become aggravated in the warm season: the legs swell, swell, weight increases, and the load on the joints increases. Here you can offer both a full-fledged insole for the entire length of the foot, and local liners, for example, for the metatarsal part of the foot or to support one of the arches. The insert costs much less, but it also fulfills its healing role. In principle, a worthy product can be offered for any wallet.
There are, of course, nuances that are useful for sellers to know in order to guide buyers. For example, classic insoles/semi-insoles/insoles made of natural leather: all other things being equal, you should give preference to vegetable tanned leather, as it does not cause irritation and absorbs moisture well. When choosing frame insoles, one should pay attention to the material from which the frame is made: it must be shock-absorbing, elastic under shock load. In addition to frame insoles, a huge selection of soft, frameless insoles is currently offered. The range of materials is wide: polyurethane memory foam, latex, gel, silicone and others.
It is advisable to offer products in two price categories so that the buyer has a choice. However, it is not worth it to inflate the assortment much, it strains both the seller and the buyer. The exception is purely orthopedic salons, where there is a specially trained sales assistant.
Should retailers be afraid of competition with medical products - custom-made insoles, and how to explain to the buyer the advantages of "universal" insoles and other foot support products?
No, there is no competition here. Individual insoles are prescribed by a doctor, in this case the deformity of the foot is so serious that ordinary prophylactic insoles, as a rule, are no longer enough. Mass-produced insoles cannot take into account the individual pathology of the foot, especially if the feet are different. But they are really effective in preventing flat feet, and with flat feet at the initial stage, they relieve pain, fatigue, support the foot just where it flattens, and prevent the painful hallux valgus bone or hammer toes from developing. In addition, an individual insole is much more expensive. If you don't need it yet, why buy it? Orthopedic salons often offer foot scans, but only a doctor can determine whether a custom insole is really needed.
Which of the buyers to offer such a product?
To all adults! You can really offer each buyer exactly what he needs. A girl in high-heeled shoes - an insert under the metatarsus (will relieve stress and burning from the metatarsus), people with high weight, pregnant women, those who spend a lot of time on their feet or complain of fatigue - a frame or unloading insole. Sports insoles are suitable not only for athletes, but for everyone else and for ordinary sneakers. Previously, problems with the foot mainly concerned women, but recently middle-aged men with gout or a heel spur are increasingly seeking help. Soft insoles will help relieve pain from inflamed joints.
This does not mean that the shoe store should turn into an insole store, of course not. But the store manager knows his buyer and his needs, as well as the capabilities of his sellers, and, based on this, he can form the necessary assortment.
As for children and orthopedic insoles for them, here I urge you to be careful. Without fear, you can offer soft frameless insoles. With an X- or O-shaped setting of the foot, you can also pick up serial insoles, but still it is better to consult a doctor first.
What can be offered for summer models of shoes for men and women, for children?
We have already listed preventive insoles, but besides them, there are also insoles for foot comfort - those that neutralize unpleasant odors, maintain an optimal climate in shoes, absorb moisture, keep freshness, and cool feet in the heat. Even just such an option: the “native” insole has worn out, lost its shape and a new one is needed. You can offer a replacement for the usual classic leather insole.
In the summer, calluses often form where the back rubs the heel, especially often this happens with new shoes. A special insert (also called a heel holder) will help to avoid this.
A big topic is insoles for shoes for children and teenagers. Insoles made of cotton, bamboo or special fibers prevent sweating of the feet and ensure hygiene in the shoes. For women's shoes with heels, you can offer gel liners, for ballerinas - thin massage insoles. Completely flat shoes harm the foot no less than high heels. Currently, sneakers and other semi-sports shoes occupy a very large place in our wardrobe. Unfortunately, many manufacturers save on a good insole, and it quickly loses its shape, which means it no longer performs its support function. If the insole is removable, then it can be easily replaced with a new one, and the shoes will last you longer.
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