While you can do without luxurious outfits or trendy accessories, shoes have always been one of the key garments that are always in demand. Regardless of the occasion and dress code, a pair of good shoes can add more confidence, correct the gait and improve posture, ensure your comfort and even present personality. Thus, properly fitting shoes is not an option, but a necessity for nearly anyone today. 

The global footwear market size confirms the growing sales tendency for the upcoming decade, reaching $543.90 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 4.3% for the forecasted period (Grand View Research). This means, if you were considering starting your shoes selling business online, it’s never been a better time for getting into the industry. 

Nevertheless, starting your eCommerce store is a real challenge for any business owner, regardless of the niche. The eCommerce business project requires a significant input of time, resources, and experience throughout all the stages: from idea planning to the first profits. For the newcomers, this question is even more serious, as they usually feature less expertise and confidence in taking critical business decisions. 

In this article, we’ll go through the basic steps of launching the shoe selling store, going deeper into the industry-specific details and critical aspects that shouldn’t be missed out. As a part of our discussion, you’ll be able to review the core eCommerce and marketing hacks that are sure to help you succeed with your selling shoes online business. 

Let’s get it started!

8 Basic Steps for Starting an Online Selling Shoes Business

So, how to sell shoes online and make money? Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you to get that covered!

Step #1 Consider the Business Plan

First of all, write down the idea of your shoes selling eCommerce store, highlighting what is the estimated budget, what industry gaps can you potentially make use of, and who’s your target audience. 

A good suggestion from eCommerce professionals is to start with the SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Such an analysis is an excellent option to access your ideas within the shoe retail segment. 

Taken from: Pexels.com 

Step #2 Select the Shoe Source (Supplier)

Once you’ve decided what products you’re going to focus on and who your customers are, it’s time to consider how you will source your products for sale. Overall, there are four commonly used options used in the shoes retail business today: 

  • Your Own/Secondhand. If you’ve decided to give a second life to your multiple pairs of shoes with a new owner – simply collect all the shoes you’re going to sell and continually replenish the stock from different sources: your friends and family, garage sales, local estate sales, consignment stores and more. However, do mind that searching for the new pairs requires lots of time and effort, as it’s quite challenging to find a pair that is of good quality and can meet your expectations. 
  • Wholesaler/Manufacturer. Purchasing shoes in bulk from the B2B providers can help you to set up a stable source of high-quality product deliverables, saving up the time and resources for other business-related staff. Feel free to order the ready-made shoes to sell online or order the custom shoes designed according to your specifications. The only thing to keep in mind here is that most suppliers under this category offer bulk ordering for a minimum number of items upfront – meaning you’ll need to have a solid budget from the start. 
  • Dropshipping Suppliers. Finally, you can set up your shoe business to work as a mediator between the wholesalers and customers. With the dropshipping model, you don’t need to bother about the inventory or purchase shoes in advance – once the customer placed the order, its shipping is entrusted to the dropshipping supplier. However, the core disadvantage of this model is that you have less control over the product operations, shipping, and quality.

Now that you know what product categories you’ll sell and where to order those for your eCommerce, it’s time to set up the shoe retail platform itself. 

Taken from: Adidas.com 

Step #3 Research the Shoes Market & Define Your Niche

Now, let’s go deeper into the industry analysis: what type of footwear is the most likely to start with, and who’s your ideal persona buyer? Search for the trending shoes that people are likely to buy today, evaluating their niche and audience needs they can cover. It’s much easier and cost-efficient to cover the niches step-by-step instead of investing in the whole market!

Taken from: Pinterest.com 

Additionally, consider who is your ideal persona buyer, covering the age, gender, and preferences, to better understand what they want to get and how to reach them out. 

Some of the proven market research techniques that might come in handy include market analysis, customer interviewing, and keyword research. 

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Step #4 Decide the Best Platform for Your eCommerce

The next thing that comes after you’ve set all the plans with the business model and shoes you’ll sell – is the place you’ll post your product offerings on. In fact, there is a diverse range of options for selling boots online, with each having its own perks and pitfalls. 

Social Platform

Today, social platforms are much more than just communication tools. They’ve been intensively used by brands and stores to stay connected to their customers or reach out to new audience segments. The only things needed are creating a business account, consistently posting the content on the store, and launching various marketing campaigns for your eCommerce to drive your first sales. 

If you’re interested in starting a small online business selling shoes, the best platforms to start with can be:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest

Taken from: Pexels.com 

As for the shoppers, these social platforms are also one of the most convenient ways to find the desired product and get a quick consultation on it. At the same time, with any of these platforms used, business owners can quickly set up the business and grow the audience of consumers. The only drawback is that you’re limited to the platform you’re selling on. 

Marketplace

If you’re searching for a ready-made professional solution for your footwear retail business, then give a try the popular marketplaces instead. Featuring millions of active shoppers looking for the desired products, you can set up a stable, profitable shoe business on the following platforms: 

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Kixify
  • Flyp
  • The RealReal
  • StockX
  • Craigslist

Taken from: Deliverr.com 

The major drawback of such stores is that, with the growing line of products, the fees you’ll pay for the listings also increase. So, this option can probably fit small to mid-size businesses which are not interested in the brand-setting specifics. 

Website Platform

Finally, if your end goal is to launch a footwear brand and become the next Adidas, Levi’s, or Nike, then the best solution for you is to launch your website. So, you can create a custom website design from a scratch (if your budget allows). Or, else use a website hosting service that features a convenient, easy-to-understand interface and all the required facilities for launching the eCommerce business regardless of your focus niche. 

Here are some excellent eCommerce platforms that will help you in this:

  • Magento
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Wix

Taken from: Techmagazines.net 

In fact, getting your website hosted on the eCommerce platform is the golden middle between the more narrow social platforms and competitive marketplaces. These will help you to set up a brand that is easily searchable online and meet all the specifics of running shoes selling online stores. 

Step #5 Present Your Product Professionally

To combat the enormous competition in the footwear marketplace, it’s super critical to show off your flashy shoes in a way that turns heads. So, along with the product pictures and sizing chart, try to consider the ways that encourage your potential customers to shop immediately.

For instance, explain their advantages, what they feel like or how to match them with their daily looks – everything that will showcase their superiority over other online offerings. Here’s a great example of how different brands managed to leverage the advantages of their footwear: 

Taken from: Nike.com 

Step #6 Find out the Most Efficient Shipping Model

The online store is almost set and ready to meet its first shoppers. However, there’s one more thing that can’t be missed out on – the shipping method. Good packaging and fast delivery can either make or break the final impression about your shoe retail business. 

According to the 2021 Ware2Go survey, 77% of consumers said they were more likely to purchase an item if it could be delivered to them in 2 days or less. So, considering the reputable local services that provide fast delivery at considerable cost is essential (especially if you’re going to include free-of-charge product shipping). 

Moreover, the packaging of your shoes is also important: not only can it make the right brand impression on your customers, but also prevent their order from being damaged, which will be always relevant for global shippers. 

Taken from: Clickpost.ai/ 

Step #7 Work on Customer Experience

One of the most permanent focuses that will make you steadily increase in revenues is improving client loyalty. To be able to keep high retention rates, it’s super critical to mind the quality of the customer service. 

Make sure your website is user-friendly: optimized for mobile, features the important filters, and offers a smooth checkout experience, client support, and all the other features that ensure a customer enjoyable shopping experience. 

Try to diversify the online payment and shipping options available to deliver the high-end customer-centric focus. This will not only improve client loyalty but also work exceptionally well for the competitiveness of your shoes selling business online. 

Taken from: Pexels.com 

Step #8 Invest in Marketing

Last but not least of the essential selling shoes online tips is to invest in marketing. A well-planned marketing strategy will help your business quickly reach out to the right audience and obtain the best segment in its target niche. 

ECommerce marketing covers a wide selection of tools, each of those featuring its lucrative solutions for boosting sales and helping your business to grow. 

For the online shoes eCommerce store, the commonly used marketing tricks include:

  • PPC campaigns
  • Email marketing / Newsletters
  • SMM campaigns
  • SEO strategy
  • Sales, clearances, and discounts
  • Product reviews 

Taken from: Instagram.com  

It’s not obligatory to capture them all, the key point here is to find the strategy that works ideally for your current business goals and needs. So, whatever option you’ll end up with as a result, we’re more than sure that, if planned properly, it can significantly contribute to your business performance and development. 

Best Tips to Enhance Your eCommerce Shoes Selling Business

Now that you’ve learned the path of an average business owner selling boots online and feel confident enough to get started. However, some more things can help you to maximize the efficiency of your shoe eCommerce store. 

We’ve interviewed multiple online shoe store owners, asking them about the advice they’d give to those who are starting their first attempts to launch a business within the target industry. Keep on reading to discover those below! 

Showcase Your Footwear Properly

In the heyday of eCommerce, it became more and more challenging to reach out to the target audiences and obtain their attention. It’s not just enough to simply have a store with the shoe images posted, instead, you need to show the products in the way they could attract customers to get them. 

For this purpose, make sure you have slideshows and images of different sizes to get a decent impression of the product and handle any objections or concerns with your product copy. 

Along with that, it’s essential to pay attention to the product description, benefits, major features, and other information that might help your clients in the purchase decision. 

Price Your Shoes Fairly

Another aspect that should never be overlooked when launching the online selling shoe business is product pricing. The key secret here is maintaining the balance, as the high pricing might deter your potential audience, and low – bankrupt your newly-established business. 

Make multi-level research to discover the optimal shoe prices, considering:

  • Product net cost
  • Competitor pricing
  • Profit goals

There are also different strategies that can help you to come up with the most business-efficient solution, such as Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), Market pricing analysis, Keystone pricing, and more. 

Start Small – Finish Big

To be able to better understand this concept, it’s good to remember the Amazon story as an example. The company started as an online marketplace for books and transformed into the world’s largest eCommerce corporation. But how can it work out in the shoe industry?

The answer is quite simple: start with small batches of the products, targeting season, style, region, or any other characteristics that are in demand today. This means, you don’t need heavy investments to cover all the shoe segments but can start with filling in the current domestic demands to generate the first revenues. 

After this, you can improve the gut on what products to replenish, which of those will turn into a hit, and, thus, gradually enlarge the product segments of your shoe website. 

Continuing the topic of “trendy” products, it’s also essential to develop a sense of style when choosing the products for your eCommerce store. Keeping yourself in a loop about the key fashion trends, choosing the looks where your shoes can work best, and presenting the footwear in a new, extraordinary way will help you not only to form the stock of relevant products but also to enlarge the margins generation. 

Don’t hesitate to be a trendsetter and make use of the current trends as well!

Learn From Mistakes

Regardless of the products you’ve decided to sell online, at one point of your business-setting journey you can realize that it’s not as easy as you thought. Nevertheless, the biggest mistake as a business owner is to expect a quick solution that will make you reach overnight. 

What is more, there is a high possibility of encountering a wide range of issues along the way, which is inevitable, so don’t get upset! The only way to succeed in the shoe retail business is to treat it seriously and be ready to combat any challenges that come with the mistakes you make. 

Get ready to invest a good deal of time, effort, and energy (as well as your passion and belief in the idea of your business) into your eCommerce shoe store – and you’ll surely create a solid, competitive business that is simply worth it!

Wrapping Up

Having learned the core steps on how to start selling shoes online, you can now have a better idea of what this business is about and the aspects that will help you to quickly get into the industry. Regardless of the expertise level, it’s still possible to launch a successful footwear business on the Internet, and our secret hacks and entrepreneur tips will surely come in handy!Inspired by the excellent examples of shoe eCommerce, yet with the proper build business plan outlined above, what else are you waiting for? IdeaInYou offers high-quality eCommerce development services. Thus, contact us and start your first steps to launching your best shoes selling store!

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