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In the past few years, consumer spending on footwear has increased steadily, even if the in-store demand continues to be the main choice for the customers. However, online shoe retail accounts for most of the sales’ industry growth.

Whereas online sales are still in the growth stage of its business life cycle, we have some ideas of the next challenges faced by the sector to perfect its machinery and offer a seamless customer experience.

When online shoe retail changes the game: addressing the turning points

Shoe retailers have to face up the needs of the new millennial consumer. This new profile is used to shop online and research offers through an online experience on a day-to-day basis. Hence, the now etailers have to recognize the challenges of the sector to become a leader in this field.

Accordingly, we have summarized 7 of the biggest challenges faced by the industry.

1. Customer service

The industry has now realized that business-to-consumer operations have to be customer-centric to offer the best possible experience. A seamless customer experience will be translated Customer Loyalty, which is what every company aims to achieve.

Therefore, it is vital to avail of different customer support services within your online shoe retail site. That is:

  • A live chat is a must. The person wants to know that their questions could be answered straight away and by an expert. You should set one and inform of the time focus you follow. Inform the consumer that you “answer every query” in a specific time frame.
  • Avail of an email address and a telephone number for any further inquiry a customer may have. If you don’t have a 24/7 telephone answering service –which would be ideal, given the nature of online shoe retailing-, specify your working hours so people know what to expect.
  • A Frequently Asked Questions section. Make sure you go through every inquiry possible regarding your site and address them properly in a FAQ section.

2. User experience

Your website has to be bullet-proof and the journey of navigating the website must be seamless. To fulfill this necessity make sure that you are sitting on a good server, that the charging speed is as fast as it gets and that content is regularly updated. Don’t forget to make a good investment in IT.

Final tip: create a visual and memorable cart icon so shoppers can easily add to the cart at a glance.

3. Delivery, shipping and returns

Another challenge faced by e-commerce would be the returns policy of the company. Due to of the nature of the product, people can think twice about buying new shoes if the site doesn’t have a good returns policy. Nowadays, the industry is trying to offer free returns, no questions asked, within the first 30 days, minimum.

Make sure to be clear with all the conditions of your products and strive for perfection, a domestic shipping should take up only the necessary amount of days. Offer different options and respect the dates, an estimated delivery of 8 business days makes up for nearly 40% of abandoned carts. The new consumer wants to buy their new pair of shoes and try them on as soon as they can.

4. Fees and additional charges

It will go against your own goals to charge for the shipping or for any expenditure charges, make sure that you can offer these services for free and, if not, make sure that the customer is aware of those charges before going to checkout.

Nobody wants to find out that their purchase will cost more than expected at the last minute, this is one of the main reasons for the high cart-abandonment rates every etailer business face! Shoppers don’t like to encounter something unexpected.

5. Sizes, colors and quality

In terms of shoe selling, everybody wants to see as much as they can. All of your online options have to be focused on offering a full-on view of every shoe you have on stock.

One of the challenges in online shoe retail is to substitute the in-store experience in which the customer could try the shoes on and assess their quality. Multimedia content can make up for the lack of sensory experiences in the online customer journey. Videos and catwalk views might attract your customers and do a good service for your site.

A 360 degree image and a detail-oriented zoom within the image will attract your customers and make them not think twice about the quality of their new acquisition to-be.

6. The brand and About us

When talking about quality, the customer may want to know who is behind the business. A smooth user experience has to make sure that your About Us page is up-to-date with the company’s information.

Add who is your manufacturer and check that your values are properly exposed. Your brand also sells!

7. Digital payments and cyber security

Every payment procedure of your site has to be transparent and secure. Don’t economize on anything when it comes to your cyber security.

Online businesses as a whole face the cyber security threats as its most impending challenge. One breach could mean millionaire losses, a bad PR nightmare or a full-on closure.

Perfecting the customer experience in online shoe retail

If online shoe retail is the next best thing, you have to make sure that you are on the forefront. Don’t forget what makes you different, no more never-ending aisles full of shoe boxes and no more waiting in line to acquire your purchase.

Study your customer and the customer journey he takes –you can even map the customer journey!– to address every turning point and take them from your Homepage to your Checkout cart. Arema Connect, a leader outsource provider with more than 17 years of experience, can help you to accomplish those goals with our omnichannel contact centre services.

Arema Connect's infographic about the 7 challenges faced in Online Shoe Retail

About Sabela Rey

I am a Communications and Media graduate working as an intern at Arema Connect. I studied at the University of Santiago de Compostela and I also have a background in Film Studies and Research. Throughout my professional experience, I have worked in Marketing departments in different organizations. Here at Arema Connect I support the Marketing department with their campaigns. After my time in Cork I plan to further my experience in international and challenging environments.