How Women Buy Shoes Online

Black_shoe_3 It’s not something very many people know about me.   I have a twin sister.   Reactions to this news range from “How cool” to “There are two of you?  Please God tell me you’re kidding.”

Not to worry – though we look alike on the outside, we are polar opposites in many ways.  When discussing wish lists last Christmas my sister said she was hoping for a holiday in a villa in


.   I asked for dental floss.   At first she thought I was kidding, but I was serious.   I travel all the time and I am forever running out of dental floss at the most inopportune times.   

At this point she gave me a pained look and announced there was no way we could be related.

We are also very different in our approach to buying shoes.  She likes flashy, fancy, and the higher the heel, the better.    I like a medium to low heel.   Don’t get me wrong, I want style, too.   But a typical work day for me could include being on my feet 20 hours straight teaching seminars, showing clients the sights in NYC or running through airports.

Heels are crucial criteria that factor into both of our shoe buying decision processes. But what’s interesting is……how many shoe websites let you sort by heel height?   

That’s one of the reasons I really like   The website is designed for “women who leave a larger footprint” – in other words – sizes that are harder to find whether bigger, wider, or more narrow.

What’s so great about is they have obviously taken the time to understand how their customers buy.   You’ll find all sorts of ways to search – by size, color, brand and other categories you might expect.  But you can also sort by heel size, and choose from categories like bridal/dyeable, comfort, and vegan.    

If I need to buy shoes to match my bridesmaid dress, would I like to know which ones are dyeable?  You betcha.    Comfortable shoes?   Once again a resounding yes, though I want style as well.    And for vegans who won’t wear anything made of animal products – do you think they’d appreciate a way to narrow down their search as well?

If you’re targeting women, one of the most important parts of your website design will be your categories and the filters or “sort by” options you provide that allow her to narrow down her search.   Think beyond just “product category, brand, price, new, etc.”

In apparel, go beyond women’s, shirts, skirts, etc.   I’m always attending events that require “business casual” attire.  For men, pretty simple – khakis and a polo shirt.  But what does that mean for women?   If I went to a website and found “women – business casual” as a category, I would become an instant customer.

Look at cell phones.   When purchasing cell phones, there are two things that matter to me – downloadable ring tones (which I found out the hard way) and battery life.   If I found a website that would let me narrow down my choices using those two filters, I would become an instant customer.

You get the idea.   As Chris Anderson says in his book The Long Tail, with so much choice now available on the Internet, the emphasis needs to switch from content to context.   Categories and filtering options are more important than ever.   So take the time to really understand how your customers buy.   What criteria do they use to make their selections?   

It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s true.  The easier you make it for her to find what she’s looking for, the more likely she is to buy – A – because she can find want she wants in less time, but also B – you’ve taken the time to understand her, which increases her brand loyalty.

Heel size, comfortable, bridal/dyeable – I feel like understands me.  I’ll have comfortable mid-heel shoes to go along with my perfectly flossed teeth.  How cool is that?      



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14 Responses to How Women Buy Shoes Online

  1. women require a good marketing research cause their actions are based mostly on emotions and not on logics. In this case marketologists should better base on practical research like voting and feedbacks.
    This also conserns the shoes.

  2. Kristina says:

    It is very cool to feel your needs for hard to find sizes are being met beyond finding the hard to find size.
    As an online store owner, my goal is too not just provide hard-to-find sizes (I sell lingerie, so a hard-to-find size is 36DDD,30F)but that the garments be functional, pretty, and high-quality as well as offer a variety for different tastes.
    Once your first need was met, then you went into online shopping mode…The search.
    It seems to me that your ability to find what you wanted within 2 clicks and useful dropdowns is your favorite thing about the site.
    I agree. When I built my site, I added an “I want” drop down. I haven’t gotten any feedback on it. When it comes to lingerie I know some people like Comfortable or something with Bows or something Sweet. So each product gets allocated to a certain “I want” criteria.
    Does this “I want” drop down feature add value to the shopping experience?
    very interested in feedback.

  3. If you were going to buy a golf club, you wouldn’t walk into a store and buy the first one you see, would you? Of course
    not; especially if you want to improve your golf game! You’ll want to hold the club, take some practice swings, hit some
    balls if the store has a practice spot, and look at the price, of course. If you are considering buying running shoes,
    you need to go through a similar process and take the time to find the perfect shoe.

  4. Shannon says:

    Some of the women today choose the style of the shoes than the comfort when buying them. For me, i choose both. we need to be smarter when buying shoes and we need to make sure that its worth every penny. I buy my favorite shoes on this site http://WWW.THEHOTSHOESTORE.COM.

  5. cj says:

    great article , and great suggestions

  6. Jeremy says:

    Another great place to shop for shoes is

  7. Chad says:

    Great article. I really like the sorting of heal size it really helps the customer find what they want.

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  9. Air Jordan says:

    Nowadays,women are also busy.when they want to something,they will buy it on online market.because it so convenient and saving time. The first important is that woman should have a clear mind that you want to what on earth.

  10. I appreciate your comments very much and want to thank you.

  11. ugg caspia says:

    I read so many different articles.butI like your articles,and hope you will write more,and better.i will assit to reading them,thanks.

  12. Shawn says:

    Hi Holly! Here’s another online shoe store I hope you’ll come to enjoy: “Stiletto Steppin'”. Love your articles!

  13. Alloy coupon says:

    Some people have the perception that twins do everything the same because they look very similar to each other (when speaking of identical twins). This is surely influenced by some movies and advertisements where young twins wear the same clothes and do the same things in the same way. In actual fact, although twins may be ‘identical’ on the outside, they are different people on the inside and act in diverse ways. As you rightfully pointed out, even something simple like buying shoes shows that the two persons are not the same character wise. It is just a matter of preference and some sites may be more appealing to individuals due to their attributes. It may be said that a website has a character which matches that of the visitor.

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