How to trade in a shoe store in a crisis
11.03.2015 23788

How to trade in a shoe store in a crisis

It is no secret that it was shoe retail that suffered the most from other retail product lines during the economic crisis. Many owners and managers of shoe and accessories stores note that 2014 and the beginning of the 2015 of the year can be safely described as the most difficult and lowest sales period in the last 5-7 years. Of course, the main question in this situation is how to keep the shoe business, and then, perhaps, develop it.

Anna Bocharova Anna Bocharova - Business trainer, organizational development consultant, has been advising retail companies for over 10 years. Among the customers are the brands Hogl, Marc Jacobs, Oikos, Scavolini, Turri, Visionnaire, Missoni, Bogner, Van Laack, Marni, Versace and others. Author of books “Retail Store. Where to start, how to succeed ”,“ Careerist Handbook ”. The trainer of the federal program “You are an Entrepreneur”, the trainer of the Seliger Forum.;

There are a lot of recommendations. Often the advice of one source radically contradicts the advice of another. The heads of trading enterprises are invited to reduce costs, transfer the trading process to the online environment, as well as various programs to increase customer loyalty and service. However, advice is rarely complete. In this article, we will focus on those actions that are guaranteed to bring income to the manager of the shoe store and help keep a regular customer and attract new customers to the trading floor.

The greatest influence on the sales volumes of shoes and accessories is exerted by the features of the selection of goods and the relevance of seasonal and regular collections to assortment trends.

For a shoe store, you can submit the following scheme of analysis and correction of the assortment offer:

It is during the period of economic stagnation that the effectiveness of the shoe business more than ever depends on filling the store with “working” goods. Most owners of retail shoe stores did not feel how the macroeconomic trends influence business results. It is the ability to regularly analyze trends in the world and in the country, to monitor changes in consumer behavior that determine the long-term competitiveness of shoe retail. This recommendation is related to the fact that factors affecting the profitability of shoe retail are constantly changing. It is important to note that many trends are contradictory and radically different from each other in the direction of change. However, just such a variation allows different retail operators to be successful.

In order for the information to accumulate and allow tracking the dynamics of the shoe retail business leader, it is useful to conduct a SWOT analysis at least 1 once every six months.

At the same time, close attention should be paid to macro factors (environmental factors), i.e. those that are not dependent on the retail business, but affect it directly.

In addition to analyzing global trends, an effective shoe store manager is required to regularly and independently monitor how and what store visitors choose, how they make purchase decisions and what actions / words / arguments of sales consultants respond.

Environmental factors that need to be regularly reviewed:

The average time in which global trends begin to influence shoe and accessories retail stores is 3-5 years. Therefore, conducting an analysis of changes in the market regularly, you will have time to prepare and take advantage of new information.

What can now be noted as a promising area for the reprofiling of shoe retail? It is important to note that some trends may contradict each other, this is due to the fact that the Russian buyer is specific in the process of choosing goods and making purchasing decisions, is distinguished by categorical judgments and inconsistent behavior. Add to the listed features of customers the desire to experiment in combination with low loyalty to brands and trading places, and you will get a vivid picture of opportunities for optimizing the assortment and developing your store.

Environmental trends

The pursuit of a healthy lifestyle

Description of the trend. An interesting trend is that consumers, regardless of the stability of the income level, begin to prefer to take care of what and how they consume - from food to the routine of work and rest. The increasing popularity of sports and body care allows you to earn extra income for managers of shoe retail stores. During the selection of shoes, a potential buyer asks consultants questions about the origin of the shoes, conditions for leather dressing, the degree of allergy to the materials, etc.

It should be noted that in the modern world a person strives to do everything quickly, without wasting time on those actions that do not bring results, but are accompanying, hence the correction in the choice of assortment in the direction of more sports and universal models that the buyer can use for different occasions in life

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Buyers choose shoes more carefully, preferring models with innovative technological solutions: waterproof coating, stress-resistant sole, “breathable” sole, etc.
  • Footwear with paramedical properties - against excessive sweating, for diabetics
  • Footwear for people with foot pathologies (adult and children's shoes)
  • Shoes for athletes
  • Dance shoes
  • Unusual design slippers
  • Shoes for people who lead a healthy lifestyle and prefer activity during the day
  • Shoes with illuminated soles (for morning and evening walks)
  • Shoes connected to gadgets to count calories, distance traveled, steps taken, etc.
  • Models universal in design, which provide the opportunity to spend the active part of the day without changing the pair (work-rest, rest-walk with a child / dog, work-club event)
  • Shoes without unnecessary structural elements (laces are less popular than zippers), but not boring in design

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Selective pricing - increasing the price of shoes with special design, technological solutions (as a rule, price elasticity for these products is absent or very small)
  2. Additional and co-branding services for buyers (for example, in a shoe store together with orthopedic doctors, endocrinologists, physiotherapists, you can offer special prices for shoes, which are recommended by experts in each case

Attention to eco standards

Description of the trend. If you carefully observe how customers choose shoes, then you will notice that more and more visitors to the trading floors carefully and slowly study information about the properties of materials, the manufacturer, the properties and certificates of goods. This trend is characteristic not only for the purchase of shoes and products from genuine and artificial leather. Interest in environmental standards and social responsibility for manufacturers of shoe cosmetics, children's goods and shoes for pets, furniture and home decoration, toys, etc., is gaining popularity. Recently, buyers are not afraid and not ashamed to request copies of shipping documents, certificates and licenses, ask questions to sales and service personnel, if there is a possibility of accessing the Internet (from mobile devices, tablets), they search and double-check information on the offered products directly in the store. Another trend is noticeable - when changing information (scandals, investigations, examination results) about a product, customer loyalty to the brand may decrease and the shoe store will suffer losses due to a decrease in the turnover rate.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • In the collections of the season, present both shoes made from natural materials and eco-leather options

  • Expand the assortment offer with accessories, for which set the maximum possible margins

  • For each seasonal shoe collection, offer seasonal accessory collections, experiment with themes, engage young designers and artists to collaborate.

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Information desks with data on new products, special offers, reviews of regular customers

  2. Application development for mobile devices (or cooperation with existing ones), for example, when scanning a product’s barcode - moving to reviews and recommendations on it, navigating in the trading floor following a visitor’s request (for example, products with a certain eco-standard)

  3. Exhibitions and fairs of shoes and accessories by young designers (you can earn extra by providing the retail space of your store for rent during the event)

  4. Presentations by stylists and image makers

  5. Tracking all advertised news and their immediate inclusion in the range

  6. The selection of eco-products in separate sections

Demographic trends

Population aging

Description of the trend. Improving the quality of life of the population largely determines the increase in its duration. Now an active and diverse life, with traveling, playing sports, arranging a personal life and an active social life, is not uncommon. All these trends provide ideas for optimizing and developing the shoe business.

Many representatives of the elderly and senile age begin to use information technology, are actively exploring the possibilities of gadgets, and often the level of purchasing power of such clients is higher than the average market (sometimes due to financial assistance from children, sometimes as a result of the success of their own business)

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Orthopedic shoes with an interesting modern design in a separate shoe store and as a specialized section in a shoe store of a wider specialization

  • Accessories to improve the quality of operation of shoes (silicone and gel shock absorbers, patches against corns, arch support, insoles)

  • Include retro-style shoes in the collection, it will appeal to both the older audience and young customers who are closely following fashion trends

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Co-branding programs with geriatric centers

  2. Selling shoes on credit

  3. Hire sellers close to the age of the target audience

Anatomical trends

Description of the trend. Redistribution of the load on the musculoskeletal system, improving the quality of food and life in general, affect the change in the proportions of the human body. “Happy” owners of non-standard combinations experience constant difficulties with the selection and operation of shoes and are ready to pay all the difficulties if they find a store or brand that will save not only time but also nerves when searching for shoe options. Do not forget that every year the number of buyers with foot pathology is growing and for them finding and wearing shoes is also a chronic stressful situation.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Small-size and over-siz sizes ”(for example, women's shoes 34-35 size, men's shoes 47 and larger)

  • Shoes of uncommon sizes, but diverse in design

  • Non-standard size children's shoes (ballet flats with a print of “bear” 41 size)

  • Footwear for a prosthetic limb

  • Footwear with spurs and underwire

  • Accessories for comfortable wearing

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Social networks to direct traffic to your shoe store

  2. Fancy Finder Mediation Services

  3. Cooperation with shoe production, incl. and medical focus

Economic trends

Purchasing power, debt of the population

Trend description. Recently, most owners of shoe retail stores have noticed signs of stagnation and a slowdown in turnover. On average, the buyer is not ready to pay for shoes and accessories, even of excellent quality, right away. The reasons are the increase in the number of loans and the uncertainty of income stability, etc. It should be noted that a special type of buyers has been formed who respond exclusively to the minimum price of the goods, do not have loyalty to outlets and are not inclined to store goods while reducing their quality ( for example, the heel broke and a couple are thrown away, they don’t give it to the repair shop). At the same time, a class of customers is formed who are ready to buy shoes only of the highest quality, without price requirements. The main criterion for choosing and forming loyalty to a retail store will be the stability of the goods in a certain place (for example, only classic black pumps made of good leather). Such customers are less likely to like experimenting with an assortment of shoes and bags at the store. In addition, such buyers are willing to take care of shoes and accessories and are ready to extend the service life due to repair and maintenance.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • The choice of "narrow" product specialization, with a guarantee of the availability of goods always and with predictable properties and designs

  • Shoe repair service offer

  • The choice of price positioning. During the economic crisis, shoe stores earn the most in the low price segment (due to the speed of goods turnover and the quantity of product offers) and in the premium segment (due to the absolute margin value). The middle segment should be avoided due to the fact that less loyal customers make purchases in its range.

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Self-service shops specializing in low-quality shoes and low prices, without active marketing, with minimal impact on the target audience

Technological trends

Internet distribution

Description of the trend. Cloud technology and the world wide web provide opportunities for shoe retail to earn more. Applying modern technologies in the trading process, you will be able to interact with the solvent segment of buyers - clients of the “Y” generation.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Organization of search and delivery of shoes and accessories from other stores

  • Work with niche brands

  • Organization of manufacturing shoes to order, taking into account individual preferences of the customer

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Pages with product stories in social networks, customer reviews, success stories from regular customers

  2. E-commerce


Description of the trend. An interesting trend is that along with the fascination with technological innovations and fanciful design solutions in a futuristic style, there is a steady growth of lovers of antiquity and those who use obsolete technologies and forms.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Shops with shoes and bags in the "retro" style

  • Offer the buyer items in a single copy, possibly made to order

  • Adapted (most often externally) old-fashioned shoes and accessories, with the effects of aging, wear

  • Vintage shoes and accessories

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Commission trade

  2. Pages on social networks for the exchange of shoes and accessories

Climate change

Description of the trend. Temperature fluctuations and unpredictable natural manifestations affect the choice of shoes and the requirements for it. A modern man spends a significant part of his life indoors and, as a result, his legs feel the need for new technological solutions.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Climate shoes inside

  • Breathable insoles and shoes with insoles made of natural and hygroscopic materials

  • Outsole with anti-slip effect

  • Combination of several trends in shoes (moccasins with fur)

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. Label unusual items with guide stickers or memos.

  2. Engage consultants in popularizing (“we recommend what we wear ourselves”)

Cultural trends

Buyer Type Change

Description of the trend. Compared to the 3-5 years ago, there is a noticeable redistribution of the type of buyer in the direction of more rational behavior when deciding to buy shoes or bags. Customers choose products longer (regardless of the price and uniqueness of the offer), weakly or completely do not respond to stimulating offers, refuse professional advice from sellers on the trading floor.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • At least 15% of the collection should be shoes and bags with classic designs of the highest possible technical quality

  • Rational does not mean black! The buyer during the period of economic stagnation is more likely to give preference to bright items of shoes and unusual accessories.

  • Choose models adapted to Russian conditions - with a durable shock-absorbing sole, with insoles made of natural materials, for different widths of the foot, etc.

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. It is necessary to change the technique of working with the visitor, it is important to include business rhetoric, emotional intelligence, more knowledge about the psychology of the client in training programs

  2. Self-service stores to maintain the desire of the buyer to choose shoes on their own

  3. Reorientation of the system of bonuses for sales assistants from revenue to customer retention and after-sales service

  4. In addition to trade support, the service part is important, buyers are willing to seek repair of shoes and bags

  5. Service support programs without time limits (how much you will use, we will help as much)

Generation Y

Description of trends. The influence of the “gamers” on life is noticeable not only to employers, but also to shoe market operators. The new generation is specific in behavior and in making decisions about the purchase of goods. Classical models of working with objections no longer help, because in fact there are no objections. Not every store can afford to work effectively with customers of the “Y” generation, since there are certain features and rules.

Ideas for a shoe store:

  • Choose the most original design solutions

  • Only bright colors, such a client does not buy black, brown, beige goods

  • Work with brands - Y loves popular brands

  • Offer little-known brands at the same time, focus on exclusivity, limitedness of such shoes and accessories

  • As many accessories as possible, "steps", "baubles" - both in the form of goods and in the form of gifts for the purchase

  • Online store and home delivery

Use additional stimulating effects on the buyer:

  1. The composition of sellers should be changed, they should also be “games”

  2. Provide customers the opportunity to choose shoe options from 13-15

  3. Bright colors in the design of the trading floor

  4. The assortment matrix should consist of the maximum number of product options, “gamers” like quantity

  5. Change the attitude towards the return of goods and make it the norm for the store (do not reduce the premium for sellers), because a new type of buyer does not like restrictions and without regret parted with goods in exchange for a new

  6. Be sure to have an online presence - from social networks to blocks and forums, the buyer will communicate and share experiences

As you can see, already attentive attitude to macro factors will help you to adjust the assortment policy and to maintain a position in the business. The economic crisis is a time when you can experiment, invite new customers to your store and develop relationships with regular customers. Ultimately, a satisfied customer will become your primary source of competitiveness and retail success.

This article was published in the 125 issue of the print version of the magazine.

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