If you haven’t heard of dropshipping, it’s a retail business model where sellers don’t manufacture or stock the products they sell. Instead, they purchase items from third-party suppliers only when their customers place orders with them. Simply put, dropshippers act as middlemen between shoppers and manufacturers.
If you are already in the dropshipping business, then you should know why more and more entrepreneurs like you are choosing dropship shoes.
Why Dropshipping Shoes is Favorable Choice
Dropshipping shoes do not offer a guarantee that they will produce better results than other clothing items, however, shoes do have a certain level of attention and demand that other pieces don’t hold. Some potential advantages that can make shoes a favorable choice for some entrepreneurs and businesses include:
- Higher perceived value: Shoes generally have a higher price point compared to other clothing items, such as t-shirts or socks. This means that for each sale, you have the potential to earn a higher profit margin.
- Lower return rates: Shoes tend to have lower return rates compared to other clothing items. Since sizing and fit are crucial factors when buying shoes, customers are often more cautious and attentive to the details before making a purchase. This reduces the likelihood of returns due to incorrect sizing or dissatisfaction with the product.
- Niche and specialized markets: Shoes cater to various niche markets, such as athletic shoes, formal footwear, or specialty footwear for specific activities. Targeting a specific shoe niche allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a particular customer segment, potentially attracting passionate and loyal customers.
- Less frequent fashion changes: Compared to clothing, shoe fashion tends to change at a slower pace. This means that shoe styles and designs may remain relevant for a longer period, reducing the risk of selling outdated or out-of-fashion products.
- Brand loyalty: Many shoe brands have established a strong reputation and customer loyalty. Customers often have preferences for specific shoe brands, which can lead to repeat purchases and a higher customer lifetime value.
Why the Shoe Market is Trending in the Right Direction
Need further evidence that dropshipping shoes is a good business decision? Shoes are a necessity, a reflection of an individual’s personality, a status symbol, and more. The global footwear market was valued at over $400 billion in 2022 — and is expected to reach $725 billion by 2032. By tapping into the shoe industry, you can hit on these growing trends surrounding footwear, and capitalize on consumer behavior:
- Growing e-commerce sales: The shoe industry, like many other retail sectors, has seen a significant shift towards online sales. This trend is expected to continue as consumers increasingly prefer the convenience of shopping online. E-commerce platforms and dropshipping models provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to build on this growing market.
- Customization and personalization: Consumers are increasingly seeking unique products that reflect their personal style and preferences. The shoe market has seen a rise in customization and personalization options, allowing customers to design their own shoes or choose from a variety of customization features. Providing personalized options can enhance the customer experience and set your business apart from competitors.
- Influencer marketing and social media impact: Social media platforms have had a significant influence on fashion trends, including shoes. Influencers and celebrities often showcase and promote footwear brands, driving consumer interest and sales. Leveraging influencer marketing and having a strong social media presence can help boost brand visibility and reach a wider audience.
How to Start Selling Shoes Online with Dropshipping
So, now you know the why of dropshipping shoes in the footwear industry. It’s time to answer another question: how? Here’s what you need to do before you start a dropshipping shoe store. To sell online to shoe enthusiasts using the dropshipping method, you will first need to complete these steps.
The best place to start dropshipping, or begin any commercial endeavor, is with market research. The goal of market research is to gather and analyze information about a specific market to gain a deep understanding of its characteristics, dynamics, and trends. To be successful, you must know who your target audience is and how you can best cater to their needs and wants. Figure out who your target audience is and what niche its members belong to. What are their preferences, spending habits, and current favorite trends? Analyze this information to develop a brand persona that can help you when making important business decisions such as inventory adn branding.
Next, scope out the competition. What brands are your target audience drawn to, and what do they sell? Do they sell dress shoes? Athletic sneakers? Or maybe fashion shoes? Are there any brands you wish to replicate? You can create your own brand that takes different aspects from competitors to design the best shopping experience for customers.
Finally, study market demand — how much of a good or service consumers are willing to buy — and familiarize yourself with market trends. What shoes should you market in each season? What are the latest fashion trends in shoes that you can take advantage of? A market trend is the direction of an asset’s price over a given time. Understanding market trends helps you make informed decisions about your business strategy, so don’t shy away from thoroughly analyzing this data.
Finding a Reliable Shoe Supplier
Once you have conducted market research, you can look into potential shoe suppliers for your dropshipping store.
Vetting each dropshipping supplier means evaluating their reputation among other vendors and customers, examining product quality, and digging into the brand’s shipping capabilities. If the supplier can’t get the product to your customer, it’s an automatic no. Finding a reliable supplier for your online store shouldn’t be rushed, so take your time and weigh your options carefully before deciding who to conduct business with.
To find a reliable shoe supplier, seek out references from other dropshippers, conduct online research, evaluate customer reviews, and explore popular online supplier directories and marketplaces specifically designed for dropshipping. Some well-known platforms include AliExpress, SaleHoo, and Oberlo. These platforms offer a wide range of shoe suppliers who are experienced in dropshipping and provide user ratings and reviews to help you assess their reliability.
After choosing suppliers, you can begin negotiating. The market research you gathered earlier may be useful here, as competitors’ terms and pricing can prove helpful in determining yours.
Building an E-commerce Platform
Taking the time to select high-quality products your target audience will like is invaluable. However, you also need an aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly platform for your customers to browse and buy your shoes. Otherwise, your efforts are in vain.
Besides being pretty to look at and simple to navigate, the e-commerce platform should integrate payment gateways, which are the technology merchants you use to accept credit or debit card payments. You should also ensure customers’ transactions are secure.
There are plenty of e-commerce platforms shoe dropshippers can choose from. Many tick each of the above boxes, but Shopify is one of the most popular and maybe even the most trustworthy. According to its website, Shopify is the “definitive e-commerce platform for dropshipping entrepreneurs.” Shopify’s apps can even connect directly to vendors through Amazon, AliExpress, Trendsi, and more.
Selecting Shoe Products
Make sure to create a diverse and appealing product catalog. Dropshippers need products that appeal to their current audience and draw in new customers, too. Having a catalog packed with plenty of options will help you achieve both goals.
Consult your market research and see what styles of shoes are best-liked by your target audience, then use that information to decide what to sell. As you select styles, set prices based on factors like product availability, quality, and competitors’ pricing.
Marketing and Promotion
Next up on the dropshipper’s to-do list is marketing. Start by developing a brand identity and a unique selling proposition — that’s one thing that makes your business stand out next to the competition.
Then, come up with marketing strategies that incorporate brand identity. Include recognizable elements in your marketing campaigns, like a logo or a consistent color scheme, so current and potential customers can easily pick your business out of the crowd. In addition to raising brand awareness, these strategies should be effective and current, like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing, content marketing, and affiliate marketing.
Monitoring and Optimizing Performance
No matter how well a business performs, there’s always room for improvement. Fortunately, business owners and marketers have a selection of tools to gauge their performance. It should be easy to track key metrics (sales, conversion rates, customer acquisition, etc.) and analyze customer reviews.
The information gained from those strategies helps you make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing and product strategies, plus elevate the business’s overall operation.
Scaling and Expansion
Continue propelling your business forward by evaluating growth potential. Questions to consider are:
- How can the organization generate higher profits?
- Are there opportunities to expand the workforce?
- Are there any ways to increase production?
Use your answers to those questions to set realistic goals and practical objectives to help you reach them. As you pursue growth, explore additional sales channels and look into outsourcing tasks and automating processes as needed.
How to Find the Best Dropshipping Shoe Suppliers
Use the following checklist to locate the dropshipping shoe supplier that will best meet your and your customers’ needs.
- Evaluate supplier reliability and reputation. Don’t just settle for what’s popular; research and communicate with every potential supplier to ensure they’re a good fit for your business. It doesn’t hurt to see what customers are saying about the brand and its product, either.
- Analyze product quality and selection. It’s always a good idea to test a product before associating your name with it. You will want to ensure they are quality shoes that hold up to your standards. If possible, get a few pairs of shoes from the supplier to try on and do an in-person quality check. Study the supplier’s inventory, too, to ensure that the styles of shoes it sells appeal to your target audience.
- Assess pricing and profit margins. The average dropshipping profit margin is between 15 and 20 percent; that’s a good place for beginner dropshippers to start. Calculate these figures by subtracting wholesale costs from your sales total (or, in this case, projected sales total). Then, divide that figure, the net profit, by the sales price. Convert that number to a percentage by multiplying it by 100, and there’s your profit margin.
- Evaluate shipping and delivery capabilities. Talk to your dropshipping suppliers about the average delivery times for your target countries, the average processing time for orders, and the type of packaging used. Be sure you know their policy on returns, refunds, and reshipments; it’s up to you to provide your customers this information.
- Consider additional support and services. You might find there are business-related tasks you want to automate, like posting content on your site’s social media pages or sending email newsletters to customers. Looking into tools that help you streamline your business is a must, especially as it begins to grow. You may even consider adding members to your team or expanding your product selection depending on your customers’ needs.
Trendsi is Your Partner for Success
No shoe dropshipping work is complete without a wise, experienced partner. Enter Trendsi. Our platform has a wide variety of high-quality shoes and there are new listings and promotions every few weeks. The average profit margin of our shoes is about 50%!
Trendsi’s purpose is to provide a seamless, top-notch dropshipping experience. There’s no minimum order quantity, open-pack wholesale on more than 100,000 products, and full integration with Shopify. Partner with Trendsi for your dropshipping shoe business. The program streamlines the process and satisfies you and your customers. Get your dropshipping business off the ground Trendsi’s wholesale prices and fast delivery times. From formal shoes to casual wear, we have a shoe category for everyone’s taste.