How To Start Online Shoe Business

How To Start an Online Shoe Business (7 Simple Steps)

⚡Quick Answer

To start an online shoe business successfully, follow these 7 simple steps:

  1. Market Research: Begin with thorough market research to identify trends and customer preferences. Use Semrush for this task.
  2. Niche Selection: Find a niche within the shoe industry that aligns with your brand and target audience.
  3. Identify your unique selling proposition (USP): Create unique value or characteristic that sets your brand apart from competitors.
  4. Business Model: Choose the right business model – options include dropshipping, print-on-demand, or wholesale.
  5. Online Platform: Select an online platform or e-commerce solution that suits your business needs. Options include WooCommerce, Shopify and others.
  6. Pricing Strategy: Determine competitive pricing strategies to attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  7. Marketing: Implement effective marketing strategies and optimize your website to promote your online shoe business. Use Semrush and Hotjar for this task.

For a comprehensive guide with detailed insights, please read the full article.

So, you wish to learn how to start an online shoe business – but is it a profitable idea? Well, in the following eight years, the global footwear market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 4.3%

Combining this statistic with the rise of eCommerce and people’s growing demand for personalized products, one can see how starting an online shoe store business can be highly lucrative.

Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to provide you with all the details you require to start a shoe business successfully.

Quick jump to the Step 1

Why Sell Shoes Online?

Due to increasing consumer demand, the worldwide eCommerce footwear market is flourishing. It reached USD 99.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to further increase by 6.8% CAGR from 2022 to 2028.

Global Ecommerce Footwear Market Size in 2021

Global Ecommerce Footwear Market Size in 2021
Source: Grand View Research

Selling shoes online is a good business concept because of the steady market expansion and the industry’s tendency to innovate and improve. 

The Footwear Industry Is Growing

Shoes will always have a large market out there – everyone wears them!

Online shoe stores provide an easy way for customers to find exactly what they need – flip-flops, sports shoes, luxury shoes, children’s shoes, or elegant leather shoes.

The value of the sneakers market alone is estimated to reach an all-time high by 2028, as we can see in the graph below.

Global Sneakers Market Size From 2018 to 2028 (USD billion)

Global Sneakers Market Size From 2018 to 2028 (USD billion)
Source: Business Research Insights

Rising Demand for Personalization

Personalization is vital in the era of catered algorithms and growing niches. Occasionally, what the customers want are not designer shoes – they want to be the designer themselves and create their own shoes. 

Consider this.

Most successful shoe stores already offer some form of customization, such as clients being able to specify what design elements and colors they wish to see on their products. Perhaps your own online store could go even further in this area.

Cutting-edge improvements in shoe style design, manufacturing, and distribution are a constant in the field of fashion, giving numerous rising vendors an equal chance of success. This might be the right product if you’re considering starting an online business.

How To Start a Shoe Business Online?

How to start with an online shoe store with no upfront investments?

Here are some pointers to help you get started and make your online shoe store business a reality.

Step 1: Research the Footwear Market

First, it’s time to do some serious work.

  • Do your research correctly. Find the gap in the market and try to be unique in your business plan, clearly defining what value you can bring to customers. 
  • Choose the shoe categories you’ll sell – research other prosperous online shoe merchants for advice on drafting a business strategy. You can use search engines or social media sites to scout out what your competition is doing and to define your target market.
Shoe categories on Nike
Shoe categories on Nike
  • Consider your business model – will you need to find wholesale shoe suppliers to work with, collaborate with a dropshipping service, or create handmade shoes yourself?
  • Get business insurance and apply for a business license for your online shoe store. Additionally, determining your shoe store’s startup costs, relevant taxes, and other financial details might be much work, but it will pay off in the long run.

For sample business plans and details on business licensing for your online shoe store, visit the Small Business Administration website – it is a treasure trove of valuable resources for companies just starting out.

⚡Check also ➡️ 46 Website Ideas for Beginners and Pros

Step 2: Find a Niche for Your Shoe Store

You might offer boots, sneakers, shoes for men or women, or other footwear, but those are not niches – just product types. 

A niche would be some special interest or style that a particular customer segment might have. 

For example, you could target surfers with flip-flops adorned with surfing puns and references. Or book lovers with boots and sneakers with book quotes and imagery all over them.

Shoes for book lovers from Groove Bags
Shoes for book lovers from Groove Bags

Here are some niche examples:

  • Nature
  • Sports
  • Science fiction
  • Cooking
  • Internet aesthetics
  • Pets

By creating niche-specific designs, you will likely be able to sell various shoe types and thus expand your reach and grow your business with time.

Step 3: Create Your Shoe Designs

Once you have performed market research, you should know what designs your target audience would like to see in your chosen niche. So, it’s time to create them.

The easiest way to make footwear would be to outsource the production and concentrate on the design. 

You can quickly and cheaply start your shoe line with print-on-demand (POD), which allows you to focus on your unique and niche-specific design creation and leaves the production and printing of the footwear to print suppliers. 

A POD partner would print and ship your shoes directly to your customers. In the meantime, you would only need to do some simple order management, marketing, and new design creation. 

You can create the designs yourself, use your POD supplier’s pre-made design resources, or hire a designer to make your ideas come to life.

Creating custom shoes with Printify
Creating custom shoes with Printify

Step 4: Select a Shoe Store Business Model 

Select one of these three business models for a shoe store: dropshipping for shoes, print-on-demand, or wholesale.

These three options will allow you to launch a shoe company with the least effort.

As mentioned above, print-on-demand is deemed the most efficient business model for new merchants, as it requires no upfront investment and no inventory. 

However, the downside of POD is the lack of quality control, so it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each business model out there.

A solution for this downside would be combining business models. For example, you could start with a line of POD sneakers and later work with wholesale suppliers to introduce more elegant and classic shoes to your online store.

⚡Check also ➡️ How To Build an eCommerce Website From Scratch

Step 5: Find a Platform to Base Your Online Shoe Store On

Select an eCommerce website where your online shoe business will be located. Some viable options are Shopify, Etsy, eBay, WooCommerce (on WordPress), Squarespace, PrestaShop, BigCommerce, Wix, and more. 

Read more ➡️ Shopify vs WordPress: Which is the Best Online Store Builder?

You might need to set up a standalone website offered by eCommerce platforms and pay membership fees, depending on the channel. No such subscription fees are required on online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay, though they do have smaller listing and transaction fees. 

If you have no prior experience, it is best to learn how to sell on Etsy – the best place to start if you’re a newbie to eCommerce, thanks to its low fees and large pre-existing customer base. 

You can also sync your online store from Etsy to WooCommerce, and many more selling channels!

Shoe selection on Etsy
Shoe selection on Etsy

Furthermore, if you prefer, you can hire a developer to build your store for you. Here are some options:
1. Upwork
2. Specialized sites like DOIT Software
3. Online communities and forums like GitHub

Step 6:  Select the Price For Your Shoes

Low rates are not always the best, while high prices may result in fewer sales. Select the appropriate pricing plan after considering the product and sales channel costs, competitive pricing, and revenue targets. 

You may also apply the profit margin that your manufacturer advises, but make sure it matches what your potential customers are willing to pay for.

In keystone pricing, the retail price of your product is calculated by double the wholesale cost. Competitive pricing is when you intentionally undercut your competitors’ prices by using their pricing data as a standard.

Regardless of which pricing strategy you will choose, you can always experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Step 7: Market Your Shoe Brand

It’s time to start bringing customers to your online shoe store once your items are listed for sale. The goal is to advertise your company on all the channels where your followers are active. 

This entails interacting with them in various ways and keeping your audience informed.

Post that material on social media and then interact with your potential buyers. Or, start various email marketing campaigns for customers further down the funnel.

Email marketing campaign from Atoms
Email marketing campaign from Atoms

For your content to appear on top when someone searches for the information you’ve published, use search engine optimization (SEO).

You can also use sponsored advertising to attract customers to your shoe business. Make sure to follow up with your consumers with individualized emails to build a strong customer relationship and keep them coming back.

There are many marketing strategies out there. Keep your target audience in mind and address your buyer personas accordingly.

Men’s shoes will likely need to be marketed differently than women’s shoes. The same goes for sports footwear and luxury shoe brands.

Therefore, to successfully market your eCommerce store and thrive in shoe selling, target your specific shoe market appropriately.

⚡Check also ➡️ A Quick Look at WordPress Email Marketing Plugins

BONUS TIP: Build an Excellent Website To Sell Shoes Online

To stand out among your competitors, especially in the growing POD and eCommerce business industries, you should ensure that your website is top-quality.

Therefore, it is wise to take advantage of resources like Siteefy, which will help you build and grow your site with ease.

Especially if you’re choosing to build your online shoe store by using WooCommerce for WordPress, you will need to work on such important details as your store theme, optimization, and more.

Learn more ➡️ WordPress Themes vs WordPress Plugins: What’s the Difference?


We hope this guide will help you get started if you want to create an online shoe store business. If opening your own store where you sell shoes online is your dream, nothing can stop you either way.

You may create a devoted client base and ultimately make your dream brand by selecting the ideal product and providing an outstanding customer experience.

Just remember the main tip – focus on a specific niche and create unique designs; the rest should come quickly.

⬇️Further Reading:

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NJ is all about websites and AI. With years of experience building cool sites, he's also got a knack for diving into AI's exciting possibilities. Always on the hunt for the next big thing, NJ loves to share his discoveries with the world. Whether it's a groundbreaking tool or a fresh concept, if NJ's talking about it, you know it's worth a look.

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