How to Start an Online Shoe Store Business

Need information on how to start an online shoe store business? Now is the time to start your own Zappos, Endless or Piperlime and sell designer shoes to women online. Whether you have a passion for Crocs or LaCroix–or want to sell handmade shoes or sandals for the summer swim season–here’s how to start and online shoe store and make your shoes business dream a reality.


  1. Write a business plan for your online shoe store. Will you sell designer shoes for a local market, or sell athletic shoes for worldwide Nike, Adidas and Puma fans? Interview other successful online shoe retailers for tips on writing your shoe retail business plan. Search the Small Business Administration’s website for sample business plans for your online shoe business.
  2. Register a domain name. Your domain name is a piece of internet real estate that your customers will use to shop for shoes. To please the search engines and your customers, reserve a domain name that includes the words “online shoe store” to maximize SEO opportunities. The price of domain names can range from 99 cents to 10 dollars.
  3. Design your online store and obtain secure hosting. Buy a ready-made template for your shoe store or use a web designer specializing in online retail websites. Ensure that whatever retail website application you choose provides options for sizing, photos of the shoes, available colors and product descriptions for your online shoe customers.
  4. Get state and local business requirements for your online shoe store. A retail shoe store business, whether it is online or free-standing, must have a sales tax license, incorporation from the state and an EIN number. If you buy merchandise with a shoe wholesaler, you will need to provide proof of a retail license, a business account and corporation documents to complete a shoe order.
  5. Obtain your shoe store merchandise through wholesalers and distributors. Look for store closeouts on eBay. Peruse online wholesalers for shoe brands that your ideal customer will purchase online. Contact shoe manufacturers directly to see if they will give you a deal for bulk orders. Start off with 10 sizes for each shoe style to ensure that your customer selection is varied.
  6. Prepare for customer service and shipping requirement for your online shoe store. Create a designated email address for customer complaints and issues. Investigate the prices for drop shipping (where the designer shoes are warehoused instead of storing the merchandise in your home) or use Fed Ex or UPS for standard and overnight shipping requests.