It seems like every day, you read about someone who started a business with a simple idea and made millions. While we can’t promise you millions, we can give you the start of a simple business plan that’s made other people mad money. What’s the business plan? Simple — sell shoes online. If you’ve ever thought about buying shoes that are in high-demand and selling them online, here are some things you’ll need to do to start your shoe business off on the right foot (yes, pun intended).
When it comes to finding and selling shoes online, the crucial part is getting your hands on a pair of exclusive name brand sneakers. While you can sell shoes online via eBay (take these guys for instance), for our purposes, we’ll be teaching you how to go one step further and turn your precious pieces into a refined business.
The 4 things you need to do to sell shoes online
Get a standout name.
Set up shop.
Step up your photo game.
Attract a crowd.
Ready to get started?
1. Get a standout name
If you want to sell shoes online, the first thing you need to get is a domain name. To put it simply, a domain name is what people type into the address bar to find your company on the web. More often than not, domain names end with a .com extension. However, thanks to the ever-growing world of technology, domain names aren’t limited to .com anymore.
Want your online shoe business to be called Shoe For You? Your domain name could be ShoeForYou.com.
Extensions — aka the suffixes at the end of URLs such as .com and .org — are getting a revamp. If you’re looking for something a little more creative, get an extension that reflects what you sell. In your case, .shoes and .shop are ace picks. This way, potential customers will quickly see what the main focus of your business is.
Go ahead, try a domain on for size:
2. Set up shop
Once you have your domain name, you’ll need to create a website that can safely handle digital sales. If you want to sell shoes online to prospective customers, your website needs to be easy to navigate and safe for online transactions. When cherry-picking your eCommerce builder, be sure it includes:
A trusted, reliable payment gateway
Payment gateways are eCommerce applications that authorize and process credit cards or direct payments from customers online. This is an absolute must to sell shoes online. These payment gateways retrieve the money from the customer’s end and forward it to a merchant account. From there, the business owner can transfer the funds held in the merchant account to his or her bank.
Because the difference between payment gateways and merchant accounts can get a little confusing, there are companies such as PayPal and Stripe that combine both merchant accounts and payment gateways into one easy system. This way, the only thing you need to think about going forward is making that money.
An SSL certificate
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates secure the internet connection between your website and the people browsing it, creating a private session. Hacking credit card numbers is big business and all it would take to ruin you is losing one customer’s number to a web thief.
Your buyers know the easiest way to see if their payments are secure is to check for a lock symbol and “https” (normally http) at the front of your web address. No “s” — no sale.
A way to deliver your products
Once you’ve made your first sale, you’ll need a way to deliver your product to the buyer. You may be able to pack and mail boxes by hand as long as you keep your business small. But if it grows, you’ll need a better way. Remember, selling online means your products are visible to people all over the world, so whatever shipping system you choose will need to work for international shipping, too.
Many different options are available when it comes to choosing your website’s eCommerce capabilities. For example, WordPress has plugins like WooCommerce that make it possible to sell from your WordPress site. But if you’re looking for a reliable, all-in-one option, GoDaddy’s new GoCentral Online Store has everything you need to create an online shop — from inventory management to safe payment processing, global shipping and email marketing.
3. Step up your photo game
While web stores differ greatly in features and appearance, the one thing all great online stores have in common is amazing photography. If you’re going to sell shoes online, you need to have high-quality images to show potential customers exactly what they’ll be getting (or what they’ll be missing out on if they pass up your offer — talk about #perspective).
A highly skilled product photographer will have professional-grade equipment to capture better photos in all respects. Not to mention, a good photographer will also know how to style, position and essentially sell your shoes for you because their pictures are so dang good.
Can’t hire a photographer?
Plenty of sellers do a booming business with pictures they’ve taken themselves — even on their iPhones. To successfully sell shoes online, consider these tips when taking your own photos:
If you’re not a hobbyist photographer, chances are you don’t have a camera or if you do, it’s not the best quality camera. While nothing can replace the creative eye you need to capture a good photo, having the right equipment helps. If you don’t want to invest in a new camera, search for local camera stores that allow you to rent their equipment.
In the world of photography, lighting is everything. That brand new beige pair of Adidas sneakers can look great in good lighting, but in the wrong lighting, it can look like a pair of old sneakers you’ve had for twenty years. Take pictures during the daytime or have studio lights to cast away any harsh shadows.
If a product against a white background isn’t your thing, figure out the best way to highlight your shoes with complementary fashion and scenery. Just make sure the styling and location enhance your shoes and don’t detract attention instead.
4. Attract a crowd
You’ve taken the time to create a website that screams perfection. The only thing left to do now is get customers to your site and sell shoes online like there’s no tomorrow. To do that, use search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your chances of being found. There are a few simple ways to do this:
Optimize your images
Search engines can easily skim through text to find specific keywords, but it’s hard for them to analyze images because there’s no text. The secret to optimizing your images for SEO is to utilize Image Alt text. Alt text is a short description of an image that computers can crawl through and decipher. Describe your image appropriately and use keywords whenever possible.
Give buyers lots of ways to find you
The more content (words, photos and videos) you have, the more opportunities search engines have to find you. By having multiple channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, you have a bigger digital footprint — with all roads leading back to your website.
While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great for content and pictures, video platforms like YouTube and Snapchat can give in-depth insight to your customers (think: Unboxing videos, personal reviews, epic finds, etc.)
If organic SEO and marketing strategy aren’t getting you the results you want, you can always look into paid online advertising. Unlike print advertising that can cost a small fortune, online advertising through social media or Google ads is relatively inexpensive and gives you creative freedom to promote your content in a way that best represents your goals.
All you need to sell shoes online
If you’d like to sell shoes online, you’ll need two things: Good shoes and a good website. We’re hoping these tips gave you some insight in order to hit the ground running.
Also published on Medium.