How to Start an Online Shoe Store: A Complete Guide

How to Start an Online Shoe Store: A Complete Guide

The global footwear market is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 3.62% in the next seven years.

Significant growth of the footwear market makes an online shoe business a promising business idea.

Many first-time entrepreneurs get super excited to start their venture, but even the most passionate minds find it difficult to tackle challenges when it comes to actual selling.

When it comes to selling shoes online, the most significant barrier is return rates. In footwear, they are as high as 35%, three times more than in general eCommerce.

As an eCommerce store owner, the last thing you want is to handle product returns – the most challenging aspect of doing business online.

To avoid such complications, you need a solid strategy that works right from choosing a type of shoe to delivering an exceptional experience on your website.

With that in mind, we have prepared this detailed guide to provide all the information you need to start an online shoe store from scratch.

Everything You Must Have to Start Online Shoe Store

A Product Idea That is Trending

It’s up to you whether you want to sell shoes, for men, or women, sneakers, boots, or any other type. A good thing to do is to do market research and understand what works and what doesn’t. Suppose you are in Europe and you want to sell in the Asian market. Start by asking questions: which are the best-selling shoes in Asia? Which specific product do I want to focus on? How will I sustain my business?

You can look for freelance marketers with experience in your chosen market to help you find the answers to these questions.

If your goal is to sell any and every type of shoe, beware it’s not a smart move.

Of course, everybody needs shoes. But targeting everybody is a risky thing in eCommerce. We suggest starting by choosing a niche product that aims at specifying specific market needs. You might have already figured out but in case you have not, here’s what you can do

Instead of thinking – “I want to sell men’s shoes,” focus on a narrow market like leather shoes, knee-high boots, sneakers, and so on. Focusing on a niche will aid in getting in front of the right audience for a small business.

No matter which niche you choose, one way to stand out from your competitors and build a loyal customer base is to consider offering customizable shoes.

Your customers no longer want to have the same generic white sneakers. They want to add a personal touch to their shoes, and hence biggies like Adidas and even startups have started enabling product customization.

For instance, below is a design studio by Toesmith. The brand allows shoppers to choose from different colors and lets them add their pictures, add text, and so on.


(Custom Shoes to Let Shoppers Add a Personal Touch)

Curious to know how you can start selling custom shoes online? With Brush Your Ideas’ fully-functional Explore Web to Print Solutions, you can let your customers design your product. Click the link below and see how the magic of product customization works.


Online Shoe Business Prerequisites

Before starting an online shoe store, you have to get into the nitty-gritty of clearing legal requirements and creating a strong brand identity.

Here’s a complete checklist of what you need to have before starting an online shoe store

1. Your Store’s Name

Make sure the name of your online shoe business represents your vision in just one or two words. Don’t be obscure but think of something that is memorable. Tools like Shopify’s Business Name Generator, Brand Bucket can be helpful for brainstorming.

2. Business License

Starting an online shoe store doesn’t exempt you from certain legal requirements. The licenses you require depends on the type of product, and your business requirements. Moreover, every state and city has different requirements which you need to find out. Some licenses that an online shoe business requires include:

  • A Business Operation License which allows your eCommerce business to conduct business in your city, county, or state.
  • An Employer Identification Number (EIN) that identifies your business as a distinct tax entity.
  • A Seller’s Permit (or Seller’s License) to legally sell the shoes online.

3. Brand Logo

A logo is one of the most recognizable things about your business. A well-crafted logo can send the right message to your target audience. Use simple icons and fun colors to communicate who you are and what you do. Tools like Logomaker, Adobe Illustrator will make your task easy.

4. Product Pricing

A product with a high price might see fewer sales. While lower rates are not always ideal. As a store owner, the best you should do is balance. After considering factors like product and business cost, competitor’s price, and revenue goals, choose the right pricing strategy for online shoe business.

Here are some strategies that will aid your decision

  • Use the MSRP – the price your manufacturer recommends.
  • Keystone pricing where you double the wholesale cost of your product to determine the retail price.
  • Competitive pricing where you consider competitor pricing data as a benchmark and consciously price your product below theirs.

Starting an online shoe store requires in-depth market research and choosing tech tools. At Brush Your Ideas, we have the skills and experience to understand your requirements and offer services within your budget. Let’s get in touch to see how the show designer will work with your e-store.


A Home for Shoe Store: Launch your Website

Your products need an eCommerce website. There are two major eCommerce solutions

(a) SaaS eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, best suited if you do not want to deal with technical complications. The provider builds, hosts, and manages the software. This limits your ability to customize.

(b) open-source like WooCommerce, Prestashop where you can view, change, or distribute the source code as per your purpose. They give you complete control to personalize your source.

There are loads of eCommerce builders. Some are reliable, some require technical expertise, some are expensive, while some are budget-friendly. Here are some eCommerce platforms that you should consider when starting an online shoe store

1. Shopify

Start selling from $29.99 a month


2. BigCommerce

Start selling from $29.95 a month


3. WooCommerce

Starting at just $6.95


4. Magento


5. Weebly

Starting at $12 monthly


Following are the features you should look for when selecting an eCommerce platform

  • SEO-friendly – When shoppers look for shoes in the search engine, it should be easy for them to find your brand. If you are a new online store, you would want to ensure that your shop ranks high in the search results. Look for an eCommerce platform that is SEO friendly which allows you to add your blog, use your domain name, and collect customer reviews. These are crucial to driving organic traffic.
  • Security – The most important thing to consider while choosing a platform is security. In the future, your online store is actively going to take digital payments. Be sure the platform you choose offers top-notch security. Choose a platform that supports HTTPS/SSL for a safe checkout. Moreover, it must be equipped with PCI-DSS compliant payment solutions such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, WorldPay, Braintree, and SecurePay for secure payment processors.
  • Analytics – After you launch your online shoe business, you will want to keep track of analytics on how your shoe store is performing. Consider a platform that allows you to track sales, order amount, and more.

Creating an eCommerce website is an important first step in starting an online shoe store. You can either build a website from scratch or go for a ready-to-use web to print storefront.

At Brush Your Ideas, we help businesses launch their websites with a web to print store that includes features like catalog management, product management, customer orders, and more. Share with us your requirements, and we will get back to you.


What Customers Want From Your Online Shoe Business

A. User-friendly Store

The Internet doesn’t give a second chance. A poorly designed and performing website is a major credibility killer. Did you know 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience?

The key here is to help shoppers get what they want without unnecessary clutter. This means you need to focus on user experience by providing shopping categories, filters, and capabilities to compare product and price.

B. Nice Videos & Photos

If you are thinking to post a picture and write the description in bullet points, then it’s not a good idea. Shoppers want to see the product image from different angles. Let them not just zoom the picture but get a feel of the picture. Your shoe store needs high-resolution photos and videos that do not take too long to load.

C. Mobile-friendly Experience

79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last 6 months. To give a user-friendly experience, ensure that your store is responsive, adapts to whatever device is accessing.

D. Return Policy

ensure your shoe store has a clear return policy. This will help build trust with customers that your brand is there for them in case of anything.

Return Policy

Explore the other features and functionality of a shoe designer tool. Check out the demo now!



How to Make Your Store Remarkable

Once you build your online shoe business’ website, you need to attract visitors. Let’s find out how to make your shoe store remarkable and get huge traffic.

How do you think Nike generated 254 crores USD net income?

For years, the color and design of each Nike shoe were limited. When customers were more and more looking for customization, most shoes that Nike offered were either in black or white.

Later, Nike introduced a game-changing platform to change the way customers buy sports shoes, and bring more innovation to the operating model of shoe manufacturing.

You can provide similar value to your customers by integrating a 3D Configurator or even a Product designer tool.

With a 3D Configurator, you can offer a shopping experience beyond customization. Your customers can personalize parts such as outsole, heels, midsole, and even the texture of their shoes. They can have a realistic view of your shoes from every angle.

This is why, visitors who view 3D images of products are 11x more likely to purchase than website visitors who don’t. Thus, integrating this software can lead to higher conversion rates along with fewer returns.

3D Configurator software

At Brush Your Ideas we just don’t provide pre-build 3D Configurator software but develop a 3D Model specialized to your business needs. The software can work seamlessly even with your existing e-commerce website.

Deliver a more engaging customer experience that puts your customers in charge of creating a pair of shoes that they desire. Click on the link below to learn more.

You can also deliver an engaging customization experience with a Product Designer Tool. It is a Web-to-Print software with diverse features, using which, your customers can create customized designs.

They can browse from a huge library of images, texts, clipart, and ready templates to create personalized designs on any and every device.

Shoe Design Software

(Shoe Design Software by Brush Your Ideas)

What to look for in a shoe design tool?

  1. Multi-Database Support – The database of the designer tool allows you to access business logic related databases on a PHP server and the end-user related database such as fonts, clip-arts, templates, color, etc. on the MySQL server.
  2. Large User Accessible Data – The designer tool has a huge library of colors, fonts, clip art, ready-to-use design templates, and more. These templates are easy-to-use for customers.
  3. Secured, & Powerful Tool – The designer application has impeccable security support, protected by SSL encryption that makes the tool more secure for both the admin as well as end-users.
  4. Superior Browser SupportMulti-browser compatibility helps end-users access the tool. Check if the shoe design tool is compatible with all major web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer.
  5. Multi-Device Responsive Tool – Make sure the design tool is responsive and compatible with Windows, Android devices, iPad, and iPhone.

Amazing Features You Enjoy Using Brush Your Ideas Shoe Designer Tool

Admin Features


Set Custom Pricing

Set pricing of elements in the backend and give your customers a clear idea as per the alterations they make when designing your products.

Manage Printing Methods

Product Designer tool supports all types of printing methods. Admin can manage multiple printing methods for their e-store.

Add Warning Messages

Add warning messages like print area warning or low resolution, easily from the backend.

Restrict Editing

As per your requirement, enable/disable text/image effects, filters, etc.

Editable PDF

It lets you edit even after the final order PDF has been generated.

These features are just the tip of the iceberg. Now, it’s time to make your customers fall in love with your brand. The best part of our tool is that it is completely customizable as per your business logic. Click the Link Below To Know More.


Figure Out How to Manage Supplies for Your Store

Once you figure out the right product for your shoes, the next step is to source products for your store.

When starting an online shoe store, consider these three options

  • DIY products
  • Hire a manufacturer or wholesaler
  • Hire a dropshipper

1. DIY products

If you want to craft your own shoes then go for it. With the DIY approach, you will have complete control over your brand. Secondly, the startup costs will be low. Although this method will assure quality, it will take up most of your time and energy.

If you are creating the product from scratch, here’s what you will need to do

  • Detailed planning
  • Source materials
  • Look for a rental space to store the inventory and types of machinery
  • Either hire a shipping service or run the courier service yourself

2. Manufacturer or Wholesaler

If you are not ready for a DIY product then hire someone to make the product for you. This approach will need more investment in regard to facilities, managing inventory, and business insurance.

Somebody else is making your product that does not mean you have no say. As a brand owner, you have complete control over the quality of your product and the brand.

When choosing a manufacturer or wholesaler, there are two points to keep in mind:

  • If you are looking for ready-made products to sell then you can source the products using Alibaba, or partner with an already established shoe company.
  • If you want a manufacturer who makes your product, you can easily search on directories, Google, local library, referrals, etc.

Here are a few important questions to consider before choosing a manufacturer:

  • What is the minimum order quantity?
  • What is the sample pricing?
  • What is production pricing?
  • What is the turnaround time?

Before you sign up with a manufacturer make sure that meets your expectations. It is always a good idea to ask for a sample item and make the decision accordingly.

3. Dropshipping Method

If you want to start a shoe business without worrying about shoe start-up costs, dropshipping is one of the best alternatives for you. It is a method where you can purchase from a vendor and list their products on your online store. The vendor will charge you as and when you sell the product, and ships orders on your behalf. This means you need not worry about inventory, packaging, or fulfillment.

In this approach, you will have a wide selection of products but you are likely to have more competition, as most of the products that your dropshipper offers are readily available all over the internet.

4. Print-On-Demand

This method is the same as dropshipping but the only difference here is that you are in charge of the designs of the products you deliver. This means that you can offer unique products that can give you the upper hand over your competitors.

You can also integrate a Product Design Tool and allow your customers to customize a pair of shoes. Thus, you can sell unique footwear on your online storefront and your supplier can take care of the inventory and order fulfillment.

A Marketing Plan For Your Shoe Store

Once your products are up, it’s time to start driving traffic to your online shoe store. The objective is to develop a marketing strategy that puts your online shoe business on all the platforms where your followers are hanging out and then using different ways to connect with them.

Content to keep your audience updated with the latest trends in the footwear industry, the problems they’re facing, and how you can help solve those problems.

  • Social media to share that content and then engage with your followers.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) to optimize your content, so it will show up when someone is searching for the information you’ve written.
  • Embrace paid advertising to drive paid traffic to your shoe store.
  • Craft personalized Emails to follow up with your customers to ensure they continue to buy your product.

Wrapping Up

That was all the information you need to know for starting an online shoe store. By choosing the right product and delivering an exceptional experience, you will be able to establish a loyal customer base and ultimately build your dream brand.

At Brush Your Ideas, we help businesses launch their websites with a web to print store that includes features like catalog management, product management, customer orders, and more. Share with us your requirements, and we will get back to you.

Explore the other features and functionality of a Web to Print Solutions with Shoe Designer Tool, 3D configurator, and Web to Print Software. Check out the demo now!

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Yesha Bhatt

Yesha Bhatt

Yesha Bhatt is a literature major who strongly believes in the mighty power of words. She recently made the jump from being a student to a professional by joining Biztech as a Content Writer. Her aim is to make tech easier for our readers to understand while she herself takes a journey into this mystic would of bits. Apart from writing and binge-reading, she is passionate about women's issues and history and mostly hangs around on Twitter making sensible points about women's issues and Indian politics.

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