5 Ways to Make Shopping for Shoes Online Easier

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It's hard enough trying to decipher size conversions across different countries, but attempting to understand how well a shoe will fit based off a picture is almost impossible. Recently while shopping on the Outnet, I found a certain luxury brand sneaker that I wanted to buy. There were no reviews for the product and no suggestions for how the shoe would fit. The european sizing chart was vaguely familiar so I selected the size I assumed to be appropriate. When I finally received the shoe, the length was correct but the width was so narrow I should have gone a full size up. Despite a great return policy, the disappointment still lingers. 

Needless to say, there's room for improvement when it comes to shopping for shoes online. Here's 5 ways brands could make it easier:

1. Non-Personal Selections

Have you ever used Google to shop for shoes? Your search for ‘black boots’ instantly returns over a million options from thousands of websites, stores and articles all relating to your search.  Even after 15 minutes of exploring familiar brands and retailers you are probably no closer to what you were looking for than when you started. What's missing is personalization. Options are great when they are relevant to what consumers are actually looking for. Filters do a great job of narrowing down a catalogue but they still can't tell you what will fit you best based on your feet and fit preference. By incorporating AI and machine learning, brands can collect data on the consumer to predict behaviour and serve them better.

Brand Tip: Anticipate shoppers’ needs and create additional filters based on a shoppers’ style, comfort and fit preferences.  

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2. Vague Descriptions

The last time you shopped for a running shoe, did the information provided really answer your questions about if the particular shoe was right for you? What if you had a specific need? Could the description tell you about pronation/supination? Did it let you know how comfortable your feet would be after a few hours or was the jargon focused mainly around the style and look of the shoe? Adidas and a group of social influencers including Kendall Jenner, recently released the Arkyn shoe. According to the press release, “the Arkyn was designed with creatives in mind, the shoe is a trainer for creating, working, thinking, inspiring and collaborating in.” Whatever that means. Brands should consciously make product descriptions more informative and less vague.

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Brand Tip: Descriptions are a great place to add value by providing important fit details the customer is looking for.

3. Reviews Are Great...When They Exist

According to studies, 8 out of 10 millennials read a review before purchasing a product. sites like Zappos incorporate reviews into their shopping experience which is helpful when making a purchasing decision. But  sometimes reviews can be too personal or irrelevant, leaving the shopper to sift through pages of reviews without ever finding answers to their questions.  Bottom line–Reviews are way too important to not have organized and maintained.

Brand Tip: Find a way to categorize reviews based on the main review points to make it easier for shoppers to understand the key points within the reviews.

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4. The Size Conundrum

While vanity sizing plagues the clothing industry, the issue of no standard sizing for shoes exists as well. Each brand has a different size chart meaning your shoe size could vary across brands. This can be extremely confusing for online shoppers who have no way to try a shoe on. Size charts are one of the biggest hurdles when shopping for shoes online. Understanding which size is best and understanding the conversion can give a shopper a headache! Shared data between the shopper and the brand can help to alleviate these issues. This is where FTSY shines, bringing the unique needs of the shopper directly to the brand in order to better meet their needs.

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5. Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

The online shopping experience is missing a key opportunity that in-store associates have mastered–the up-sell. If you can’t find an item, or maybe an item is out-of-stock, a great sales associate is trained to up-sell on an equal or “better shoe”. This key component is often missing from online shopping because most platforms do not collect user preference data. As a result, shoppers are stuck with the disappointment of not buying anything if their initial choice is not available. Having fit and preference data can help brands to offer custom up-sell selections to not lose the sale.

If you've ever had any of these problems while shopping for shoes, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line at hello@ftsy.co and tell us your shopping woes. At FTSY we’re working hard to create a platform to make shopping for shoes online easy and fun.