Home eCommerce Blog How to Make a Mint Selling Wholesale Shoes

How to Make a Mint Selling Wholesale Shoes

Everybody walks.

Wear and tear on your shoes is an unavoidable fact of life, so too is your (at minimum) bi- or tri-annual shoe purchasing. With 7 billion+ humans on the planet, that means we've got around 14 billion feet all just waiting to be adorned with fresh kicks. 

But you're not the first to figure this out, oh no. Shoes are one of the most competitive listings for online ecommerce sites such as eBay or Amazon. You need a way to stand out from the competition.

Lucky you, there's actually a formulaic process by which you can  

  • Find wholesale shoe suppliers.
  • Effectively market your footwear.
  • List your shoes at competitive prices.

As mentioned above though, wholesale shoes are an extremely competitive market. The process isn't going to be easy, but follow these steps, and you'll find success.

People Demand Wholesale Shoes

While the competition may be fierce, the online retail demand for shoes is overwhelming. In fact, consumers in America alone spend more than $9 billion dollars for online shoe purchases. Online shoe sales top $3 billion in Australia, and that number is expected to grow to more than $3.3 billion in 2014.

Just look at the number of listings and sellers on eBay according to the SRL:

Wholesale Shoes listings

As you can see, there are more than 2 million listings containing the word “shoes,”  and nearly 1.5 million bids. That's stiff competition, but it's also a golden opportunity for profit, so long as you know how to sell!

Finding Wholesale Shoe Suppliers

The first thing you must do is find a dependable supplier for wholesale shoes. This can be more than a little tricky, since suppliers don't go out of their way to advertise. The fact is they don't need to, because there are plenty of people just like you looking to raid their inventory.

So where do you start tracking these elusive suppliers down?

Research Using Google

A Google search is a viable option for finding wholesale shoe suppliers, so long as you don't mind spending a lot of time investigating. It's a drawn-out process that involves plenty of trial and error, and more guess and check than you'll be comfortable with.

One shortcut you can employ is just to check with online communities for trusted suppliers. The SaleHoo forum is a wonderful resource to help you find recommended suppliers.

If you decide to go the search engine route, though, don't be afraid to go beyond the front page of Google results. Because wholesalers don't spend money on advertising, their websites aren't often all that advanced. That means no search engine optimization, and a bit of extra effort on your end. 

This is often the stage of the ecommerce process where the ambitious and overexcited entrepreneur can get caught in a scam. Do your due diligence before sending any hasty payments. 

Use the SaleHoo Directory to Find Trusted Wholesale Shoe Suppliers

The preferred option to powering through entire pots of coffee while you examine individual supplier credentials is to join a supplier directory. These directories take the guesswork out of choosing a reliable supplier. Before being listed in a directory, a supplier is subjected to a thorough vetting process, and will usually undergo a stringent background check. 

Marketing Wholesale Shoes Online

Marketing is the bulk of your work. About 70 percent of the effort you expend selling wholesale shoes will be put into marketing your products. So there are more than a few important points to cover when getting involved with online marketing.

First off, don't compete on price. You'll never win. Instead, find a way to set yourself apart. This can be done a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Content marketing
  • Selling to a niche
  • Offering unique/customized shoe styles

For an example of how to add value to your offering, take a look at how successful companies like Tom's Shoes or Shoes of Prey have developed unique marketing approaches. 

Tom's Shoes appeals to people's altruistic nature as well as their fashion sense, by donating a pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every purchase. Shoes of Prey allows you to design your own pair online. Both companies have a unique angle to market their products from, and it's worked out for them in spades.

Think carefully about your unique selling proposition. What can set your business apart? This sort of added value often comes in the form of free content.

Content Marketing

There are 3 rules for creating good content. You need to make it:

  1. Authoritative.
  2. Informative.
  3. Entertaining.

This means you need a digital medium that can educate your audience about your niche, in a manner that conveys your expertise within the industry, while simultaneously entertaining them. 

Content comes in many forms such as blog posts, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, videos, and so on. Once you've settled on an effective format, it's time to deliver the content to your audience. How? Every way you possibly can, of course. Obviously, it's important to list your products online and to put content up on your website, but you should also distribute through:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • YouTube
and wherever else you can. The idea is to reach as many people with your messages as possible. Once you've established a greater audience, you can narrow down your messages to targeted groups, but for now it's enough to get the word out everywhere you can. 

Wholesale Shoe Pricing Strategies

After you've found your supplier and properly marketed your products, it's important to develop an effective pricing strategy. There are some tried-and-true approaches to this part of the formula as well. 

Cost-plus pricing

This strategy means taking your total cost for selling a pair of shoes, and add a markup that satisfies your needs. So figure out how much you're spending, and what you would consider an acceptable profit per pair of shoes sold.

Competition pricing

Alternatively, you could see what competitors are listing their shoes for, and list your prices in the same range. This isn't always the best approach, especially for shoes. This is because retail giants like Amazon.com can undercut you by buying in massive quantities. Unless you have thousands of dollars to spend, it might be better to avoid this strategy — or just sell to a niche market that's used to paying a bit more.

Customer Pricing

Customer pricing is done by gauging market demand through in-depth research, seeing what customers are willing to pay on average, and listing accordingly.

wholesale shoes average price

Whatever supplier you choose and whatever niche you choose, if you want to make profit, it's paramount that you plan efficiently and abide by a process in selling wholesale shoes online. 

If you'd like to get in touch with one of the SaleHoo trusted suppliers and start sourcing wholesale shoes today, sign up for exclusive access to the SaleHoo directory. 

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