There are two types of sellers on Amazon. Those that sell shoes, and those that are doing it wrong.
I kid, but in all seriousness, shoes are an awesome opportunity. In my opinion, the category is one of the best selling opportunities on Amazon. First a short story from about a year ago, and then I’ll tell you EXACTLY why they are awesome.
When I was first starting to sell on Amazon, I was in Walmart, and there was an electronic item for sale for 59.99.
I offered the manager $32.50 each, and I bought all 20 of them.
When I posted the encounter on a Facebook sellers’ forum, I remember someone saying, “I would never pay that much for any single item.”
Any time I hear people say things like that it makes me happy. Anything we can do to separate ourselves from other sellers, we should do our best to move forward.
And that is why I sell shoes.
There are several reasons people don’t like selling shoes on Amazon and I would like to take you through them, and tell you why each of these reasons make me like shoes even more.
- Shoes have a high buy cost.Some sellers are hesitant to invest too much in one product, and I don’t blame them. It is risky, especially when you are first starting out. My average buy cost per shoe is probably somewhere around $30, but I have spent as much as $75 on shoes before if the rank, roi, and profit margin justify it. Here’s the great part about shoes having a high buy cost: Because they have a high buy cost, they also have a high Average Selling Price, high Profit Margin, and high Profit per Unit. Sure you are investing quite a bit in one item, but once you build confidence in sourcing shoes, you will come to realize that it is totally worth it.
- Shoes are difficult to source.I will agree with this point, but again, anything we can do to separate ourselves from other sellers, the better off we will be. The reason shoes are tough to source is because there are so many variations, sizes, and there is no rank history. When I was first learning to source shoes, I asked the person teaching me how much the rank meant with shoes. He said, “Not much.” The most important thing when it comes to shoes are the reviews. The rank for a shoe can fluctuate very much on a daily/weekly basis. I have sold shoes with ranks as high as 85k. The reason I felt confident buying them was because of the reviews. Another thing to keep in mind when sourcing shoes is the amount of variations compared to the rank. It sounds odd, but a shoe with 2 variations, and a rank of 30k could very possibly sell more quickly than a shoe with a rank of 5k but 15 variations. That is why shoes are so difficult to source.
- Shoes have a high return rate.No argument here. The return rate on my Amazon Seller account is higher than most. The great thing is, Amazon will usually put those shoes right back in your inventory, and relist them. The majority of people will try on a shoe, realize it doesn’t fit, and send it right back to AZ. There will always be people who take advantage of the system. For instance, I have had a ton of sandals returned lately. My guess is the fact that people are done with them for the summer, and AZ being what it is, the most customer centric business in the world asks no questions and I get stuck with a bunch of sandals. That is what we can the cost of doing business.
- Shoes can take a long time to sellAgain, I totally agree. Shoes can take a long time to sell. Some shoes that I thought would move very quickly, didn’t and some that I thought would sit, moved very quickly. For example, I sent in a shoe ranked 75k last week, and as soon as it hit the warehouse, it sold. I was pleasantly surprised. In order to invest a lot in shoes, you need to have a healthy bank roll, and cash flow can be hindered with slow moving products. I will say this again, anything you can do to separate yourself from other sellers the better of you will be. Most people are looking for the low hanging fruit, and shoes are definitely not that.
So…..what’s the point of this blog post?
If you don’t sell shoes, you should consider it.
There are some risks involved with selling shoes, but hopefully I have helped you to realize the benefits that can outweigh the risks.
And I will say again, whatever you can do to separate yourself from other Amazon sellers, the better off you will be.
Thanks, and if you have questions, you can comment here or post in the FBA Master Facebook group and tag me.
Great post Anthony Christenson. What kind of tools are you using to make your buying decisions when sourcing? I almost exclusively buy from lists because my work situation doesn’t leave me much time to source. My two main problems seem to be narrowing down which shoe variations are more likely to sell sooner and how likely will I be able to sell that shoe at a profitable price point? So I’ve using Andy Slamans Variation Pro extension to evaluate review criteria, RevSeller to evaluate price points and reviews, and Keepa to evaluate historical price trends. I’ll admit that I’ve succumbed to some analysis paralysis since using these tools. Before I used to buy a list and just purchase everything on it, but later I realized I was buying a lot of stuff that wasn’t selling.
I’ve had great luck with *some* sorts of shoes, but overall I personally haven’t had much success with shoes, unfortunately. I agree with you on all of your points, but my heretofore limited experience with shoes has cooled my love of sourcing them.