An online shoe store is an e-commerce website or an online retail outlet that sells different types of shoes and related products. Please note that an online shoe store can be a brick-and-mortar shoe retail business with a website.

It can also be an eCommerce website or app where buyers can see a catalog of products (shoes) and electronically purchase them. Statistics have it that the United States has the largest footwear market in the world, amounting to over 91 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2019.

Please note that is leading the Footwear e-commerce market in the U.S., with e-commerce net sales of US$ 1,462 million in 2020 generated in the U.S., followed by with US$ 1,151 million.

Steps on How to Start an Online Shoe Store Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

The first step in the market research process for your online shoe store business is to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from an online shoe store and also help you operate your online shoe store with less stress and build the business to profitability within the shortest time frame.

a. Who is the Target Market for Online Shoe Store Business?

If you are thinking of opening an online shoe store then you should make your target demographics all-encompassing. It should include corporate executives, socialites, students, business people, celebrities, military men and women, sportsmen and women, tourists, and every adult on the web.

b. Is Online Shoe Store Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, the online shoe store business is very profitable. According to UBS, roughly 25% of all apparel and footwear is sold online today, driven by demographics and increased online adoption.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Although an online shoe store is a niche idea in the e-commerce industry, some online shoe stores may specialize in any of the following areas;

  • Sneakers
  • Children shoes
  • Female shoes
  • Male shoes
  • Handmade shoes
  • Sports shoes and Athletics shoes.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse)
  • Macy’s
  • Foot Locker
  • Onlineshoes
  • Famous Footwear
  • Payless
  • Finish Line
  • Flight Club Shoe Store
  • Eastbay Performance Zone
  • KicksUSA Footwear Store
  • Packers Shoes
  • Extrabutter Shoe Store
  • Champs Sports Shoe Store
  • Aerosoles Shoe Store
  • Nice Kicks Shop
  • House of Hoops Harlem
  • Dover Street Market.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Online Shoe Store Business?

No, there are no county or state regulations and zoning laws for online shoe stores, players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing such business in the county or state where their business is domiciled.

f. Is There a Franchise for Online Shoe Store Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for online shoe stores.

g. What Do You Need to Start an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • An eCommerce Website
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Suppliers of shoes and related products
  • Employees
  • Startup Capital
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for an online shoe store business are;

 Creative Online Shoe Store Business Name ideas
  • Tims© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • About Shoes® Online Shoe Store, LLC
  • Shoe Stop© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Footwear Solutions® Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • All Size™ Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Jerry Benson™ Shoe Shop, LLC.
  • Drill Blaze© Shoe Store, LLC
  • Jonny Moore® Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Shoe Mall© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Martins© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Sleek® Shoe Store, LLC
  • Coast Line® Online Shoe Store, LLC
  • Just Shoes™ Online Shoe Store, LLC
  • Knock About© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Happy Feet® Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Santos Marcos™ Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Grace Made™ Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • Shoe Hub© Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  • One Stop® Shoe Store, LLC
  • Homies Shoe™ Online Shoe Store, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Online Shoe Store Business?

Even though there are several options when it comes to the business structure of an online shoe store business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • General Business License (Business Operation License)
  • Doing Business As (DBA) License
  • A Seller’s Permit (or Seller’s License)
  • Sales Tax License
  • Occupational License
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open an Online Shoe Store Business?

You don’t need certifications to open an online shoe store.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • Doing Business As (DBA) License
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For warehouse or store)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting an online shoe store business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because you can successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start an Online Shoe Store Business?

To be truthful, the cost required to open an online shoe store may vary significantly. A standard online shoe store can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 and more depending on size, and whether or not it will operate as a brick-and-mortar store. Your retail storefront will require another $50,000 investment minimum and your start-up supplies will run you another $10,000 to $50,000 or more.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,300.
  • Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $1,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $1,400.
  • Rent/Lease (Warehouse) – $75,000.
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • Start-up Inventory (Stocking with shoe supplies) – $25,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
  • Furnishing and Equipping – $15,000
  • Website: $1,800
  • Opening party: $3,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • The size of the online shoe store business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The type of facility (home or rented warehouse)
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the online shoe store
  • The cost of insurance
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the online shoe store
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new warehouse facility for your online shoe store, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build a warehouse facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a warehouse facility will help you come up with a warehouse facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • Supplies (inventory expenses)
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner) – $45,000 Per Year
  • Merchandise Manager – $32,000 Per Year
  • Store Manager – $32,000 Per Year
  • Salespeople (Dispatch Riders) – $26,100 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Jonny Moore® Online Shoe Store, Inc. is a world-class online shoe store that will be based in Los Angeles, California but operate all across North America and other parts of the world. We will partner with major shoe brands all across the United States of America.

b. Products and Service
  • Sneakers
  • Children shoes
  • Female shoes
  • Male shoes
  • Handmade shoes
  • Athletics shoes.
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to establish an online shoe store business that will make available a wide variety of shoes and related products to customers all across North America and other countries of the world.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to become one of the top ten online shoe stores in the United States of America.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of an online shoe store are to provide an online retail outlet where people can purchase shoes and get them delivered to them in their location.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Merchandise Manager
  • Store Manager
  • Salespeople (Dispatch Riders)

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Availability of a wide variety of shoes
  • Reliable and easy to use eCommerce website
  • Access to with delivery network
  • Excellent customer service delivery.
  • Not a shoe manufacturer (will rely on supplies from shoe manufacturers).
  • Global market
  • Leverage on technology
  • Competing against major eCommerce stores that also retail shoes
  • Activities of hackers could destroy the business
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • Unfavorable government policy and regulations.
b. How Do Online Shoe Stores Make Money?

Online shoe stores make money by selling shoes.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Directly market your products
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product?

Shoes cost anywhere from around $58 to $100 and above. We will follow the industry’s price range when retailing our shoes.

b. How Much Profit Do Online Shoe Store Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that online shoe store owners make over $65,000 annually.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the online shoe store
  • The brands and types of shoes retailed
  • The management style of the online shoe store
  • The business approach of the online shoe store
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the online shoe store
  • The number of years the online shoe store is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of an Online Shoe Store Business?

The profit margin of an online shoe store business is not fixed. It could range from 35 percent to 65 percent depending on the type of shoes retailed in the shop.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for an online shoe store business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year: $120,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $240,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $360,000
  1. Set Up your Shop 

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to people that patronize online shoe stores
  • The demand for shoes in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of online shoe stores and eCommerce stores that cover your target location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • Manhattan, New York
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Montclair, New Jersey
  • Brooklyn, New York
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Dallas, Texas
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • eCommerce store
  • Payment Software
  • Delivery bikes and vans.
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard online shoe store, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (owner), merchandise manager, store manager, and salespeople (dispatch riders).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No online shoe store opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the online shoe store business, you will officially inform people in your city that your online shoe store is open for business.

a. What Makes an Online Shoe Store Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and shop facility (warehouse) to launch the business
  • Make sure your eCommerce store is stocked with different types of shoes
  • Throw a party before officially opening the online shoe store
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your online shoe store
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your online shoe store
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • The eCommerce store is running (updates are done regularly)
  • Payments for goods are confirmed
  • Deliveries of orders are made
  • The warehouse is restocked when required
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build an Online Shoe Store Business?
  • IT skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the eCommerce industry
  • Experience in logistics and delivery
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling shoes and related products.