Skip to Content

How to Start Your Own Online Shoe Business: What You Need to Know

Hey Sneakerhead! Want to know how to start your own online shoe business?

We are no strangers to the upward trend in online shopping that the world has experienced in the last few years. 

Today, most businesses have gone online to reach new customers from different parts of the world and sell to them – something we never thought would happen a decade ago. 

The shoe business, in particular, has been spotlighted by the internet and can make you a fortune if you follow the proper steps. 

In this article, we’ll discuss these steps in detail so you can start your own online shoe business without going through the hassles.

Alright, let’s dive in!


Why Start Your Own Online Shoe Business?

Choosing an e-commerce product to sell online can be a headache, especially if you’re a first-time entrepreneur. But if there’s any worth considering, it should be footwear, and the reason is simple. 

Clothes and footwear are always in demand because humans cannot do without them, so they buy them almost daily for different reasons.

That being said, they are not seasonal products and cannot be influenced by the economic situation in the country. 

Now, if you’re looking to start a shoe business, there are many reasons you should go online. 

One is that many customers think buying stuff online is faster, more convenient, and sometimes cheaper than shopping at local stores. 

This has led to massive traffic on top e-commerce stores, so consider the sales you can make if you exploit these numbers.

Another is that the online shoe business can be started with little or no money and can also be run from any part of the world. 

Before you take the plunge into online shoe retail, you must first know it can be a complicated process, so you should have a blueprint for navigating its murky waters. 

Speaking of blueprint, we have compiled eight steps you can follow to be successful in this industry. So keep reading to learn more!

How to Start Your Own Online Shoe Business

1. Research the Industry

Before you begin your online shoe business, it’s important to research the industry. 

Look into the competition, the types of shoes that are popular, the target market, the trends in the industry, and the legal requirements for starting a business in your state.

For instance, statistics predict that the global footwear industry will experience a CAGR of 3.62% before 2028, which may likely increase with rising demand.

While that is encouraging, the rate of online returns becomes a worry. 

It’s confirmed that footwear return rates have jumped to 35% recently, as against the 8.89% returned to physical stores. 

You see, knowing these beforehand will help you determine the best approach for your business and ensure you provide every customer with an incredible experience in your e-commerce store.

2. Choose Your Niche

Once you have a good sense of the industry, it’s time to decide what type of shoes you’ll be selling. 

Will you focus on a specific brand or style? Will you offer designer shoes or affordably priced shoes? Will you specialize in running shoes or dress shoes? 

Asking yourself these questions will help you to determine the type of shoes that sell in a particular location and your ideal market. 

When starting, the rule of thumb is to niche down. 

So you can start with just one type of shoe – maybe sneakers, leather shoes, or sandals – rather than a variety. 

You can sell to one category as opposed to selling to men, women, and children. 

Keeping things simple will help you satisfy the unique needs of your market even better than some big players. 

You will also save extra cash compared to when you sell to everyone. 

3. Write a Business Plan


Writing a business plan is an important step in launching any business, and an online shoe business is no exception. 

Your business plan should include an executive summary, a market analysis, a financial plan, and a description of the products you’ll offer. 

a. Executive Summary

This briefly describes your business and its main objectives. It should give your readers a clear view of your business when they visit your website.

It’s a crucial component of your business plan because, if written well, it can convince investors to read the whole thing and, maybe, consider your startup for funding.

b. Market Analysis

Conducting a market analysis will give you better insights into your business environment, which will serve as a solid foundation upon which your business depends.

It can be done in two ways – target market and competition analysis.

In target market analysis, you study the demographics and psychographics of your audience to understand them better. 

Like a secret agent, you should gather all their information, including age, gender, geographical location, average income, lifestyle choices, and more. 

When you have done so, you’ll know precisely what products you can sell them. 

On the other hand, competition analysis involves analyzing other competitors in your niche to know what they do differently. 

Pay attention to their traffic sources, pricing, marketing, return policy, and suppliers. 

c. Financial Plan

A Financial plan is crucial for your business growth.

It includes the minimum financial requirements of your business and the investments to be made and is drafted to help you to manage your resources wisely.

d. Product Description

Here, you describe the types of products you want to sell to your chosen market. 

For example, you can sell trendy shoes to fashionistas or gym shoes to gym lovers. The more specific your product is, the better. 

4. Define Your Business Model

Having a business plan without defining your model is like knowing your destination without having a vehicle to take you there. 

business model is a unique mechanism for running a business in a specific niche.

As a new online shoe business owner, you must choose a model that fits your budget and increases profitability. 

It’s divided into three main strategies: dropshipping, wholesale commerce, and manufacturer commerce. 

a. Dropshipping

This low-income model allows you to promote an online store, take customer orders and forward them to the manufacturer or supplier. 

Here, you don’t need to own an inventory (in this case, shoes), package the products, or pay the shipment fee. Your supplier handles all of that. 

So all you do is connect buyers to the supplier and collect your profit. 

As you have seen, it’s very affordable and easy to start. Still, you must only deal with reputable suppliers to succeed. 

One of the downsides of this model is that a lousy delivery from a third party can ruin your reputation online, so it helps to find the right people to work with. 


b. Wholesale Commerce

Unlike dropshipping, wholesale commerce involves purchasing an inventory, storing them in a warehouse, and selling them directly to the buyers. 

Not only does this save you production costs, but it also helps to keep your reputation intact so long as you deliver excellent customer service. 

The cons, however, are that you will need reasonably significant capital to buy your goods (shoes) and will have to shoulder the expenses of managing a warehouse. 

c. Manufacturer Commerce

This is the highest stage you can get to as an online business owner. Here, you create your own shoes and sell them to retailers or directly to customers.

It’s not usually advisable to start with this if you’re a first-time entrepreneur, as it is a complex, time-consuming, and capital-intensive business model. 

You would not depend on any third party to make profits, but you might have to hire a large team and cover all the production expenses.

Now it’s time to develop a catchy name for your business and a memorable logo. 

Your business name should be easy to remember and should represent the type of shoes that you sell. 

Your logo should be eye-catching and professional and used on all your business materials.

6. Choose Where to Sell


Once you have a business name and logo, the next thing is to decide where to sell. 

You can leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram or do more professionally by creating a store on large marketplaces like Amazon. 

Here, you will make lots of sales by directing the huge Amazon traffic to your online shoe store, but you always have to pay an agreed fee to the platform owners. 

Is there still a better way to sell? Definitely! And that’s by creating your website from scratch.

Building an e-commerce website for your shoes puts you in complete control over the whole situation. 

Even better, all the money you make goes straight to your bank account because you won’t be paying commissions to anyone.

To get started, buy a domain name and secure hosting for your website. 

Make sure you choose a domain name that is easy to remember and related to the type of shoes you sell. 

And to make sure your website is secure, you should use a reputable hosting service. 

Other tips you should have in mind are: 

  • Make your interface user-friendly and engaging. 
  • Make videos of your products while describing them to connect with your prospects emotionally.
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Research shows that at least 79% of smartphone users have shopped with mobile devices in the last 6 months. So if your website can adapt to any mobile phone, you’re good to go!
  • Give them a clear call to action. Here, you should provide your contact details and include a return policy. 

7. Obtain Business Requirements

Before selling shoes, you must obtain the necessary business requirements. 

This includes obtaining a sales tax license, incorporating your business with the state, and getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). 

Ensure you understand your state’s regulations for running an online shoe business.

8. Figure Out Your Payment and Delivery Systems

Now that you have set up your business to a large extent and are ready to start marketing to customers, you should have a clear and reliable payment and delivery system to ensure smooth transactions and customer satisfaction. 

Provide different payment methods that allow your customers to securely purchase from your store. 

They may include cash payment, payment by card, or bank transfer. 

Also, you should put up multiple delivery systems that ensure orders are fulfilled and delivered to customers promptly and efficiently.

If these systems are not in place, customers may be reluctant to purchase and trust your brand. 

At the end of every transaction, ask for customer feedback so you know the areas in your service that need improvement. 

If it’s positive, you can use it to attract new customers and earn their trust. 

Where to Sell your Online Shoe Business

Are you looking to get rid of the old shoes piling up in your wardrobe? 

There’s a better way to do so and still make money in the process: by selling them on online marketplaces

This is easier because you don’t have to spend money building a website; you also play a huge role in recycling these waste materials for a sustainable environment. 

Now, the top 6 apps you can sell your worn shoes for cash include:

  • Shopify
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Flip
  • The RealReal
  • thredUP

FAQs on How to Start Your Own Online Shoe Business

Is the shoe business profitable?

Yes. Shoes are in-demand products, so you can make a lot of money selling in this $381.9 billion industry. 

How much do I need to start?

While this depends on your country and niche, the average cost for starting your online shoe retail business is $19,815.

Can I start a shoe brand with no money?

Of course. All you have to do is find those big players in the market and decide to sell for them with a reasonable profit margin (dropshipping). 

How To Start Your Own Online Shoe Business – Conclusion

Starting your own online shoe business is a huge achievement you should be proud of. 

But you shouldn’t jump into it blindly without considering the prevalent factors that determine your success in this industry. 

Ensure you follow the steps we have compiled for you in this article. 

They will prepare you for the challenges ahead and put you in a pole position to attract your dream customers. 

Got any questions for us? Feel free to ask some questions in the comment section below

READ NEXT: Work-from-Home Typing Jobs You Should Look Out For in 2023