Hi everyone! In this post, I’m going to talk more about my progress with selling shoes on Amazon! I still love that category and plan on making shoes a big part of my business this year.
If you haven’t seen my first shoe post, then please read Increase Your Profits & Save Time by Selling Shoes before reading this post!
Since doing that post, I’ve had several questions about my general progress, the sourcing list that I joined and my return rate. I’ll go over all of that plus more…
How Many Shoes Sold and Returned?
In just over two months, I sold 41 shoes and had 2 returns. This gives me a return rate of 4.88%. Though my return rate is low, it’s still early. Many of the shoes that I sold are still inside the customer’s 30-day return window.
What Are Your Sales, Profit and ROI Numbers?
Here’s a quick spreadsheet of my December 2015 (partial month), January 2016 and February 2016 (partial month) numbers:
As you can see, the number of shoes that I’m selling is increasing each month. I believe this is due to just having more shoe inventory in stock.
However, my ROI% number has gone down in February. I believe this is partially due to my “buy cost” increasing with some of my online arbitrage orders when I end up paying sales tax and/or shipping. In comparison, with retail arbitrage, I have never paid a penny in sales tax or shipping on any of my shoe purchases.
Plus, I had one bad sale that I barely made any money on. I paid too much for the shoe, the selling price dropped on Amazon and to be honest, I was happy to just make my money back. But, it dropped my overall February ROI% down.
When I started shoes (all RA), I focused mainly on athletic shoes and my Nike and Reeboks sell pretty fast. With online arbitrage, I’ve been purchasing a wider variety of shoe styles.
Also, as for sizes, all of my size 12 to 14 in men’s shoes sell out pretty quickly.
Online Sourcing Lists
David Penley’s List
I joined David Penley’s shoe sourcing list for one month. I did his Gold Plan which gives subscribers a sourcing list 5 days a week. I was very impressed with the number & quality of finds received each day and with the variety of stores sourced.
I ended up buying 35 shoes from the list. Some shoes were the actual shoe shown on the sourcing list and some were shoes that I found on my own, using the list as a starting point.
I did cancel the list after one month, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the list. Because of my schedule, I wasn’t always home when it was sent out and by the time I did look at the list later on, many of the shoes were already sold out.
Quincy Lin’s List
Two weeks ago, I joined one of Quincy Lin’s shoe sourcing lists. I joined the 2-day list option in which I receive a list on Tuesday and Thursdays. This works better with my schedule and I know to be home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings so I can get to the list right away.
Like David’s list, I’m very impressed with the quality of Quincy’s list. I do like that he adds a small picture of the shoe’s Keepa graph to his spreadsheet. It’s nice so you can quickly see how often Amazon is in stock without having to switch to another screen.
Towards the end of my 30-day subscription period, I’ll decide if I’ll continue with the list or not.
Concerns with Online Ordering
My first online order that I received was a disappointment because the shoe box was in very poor condition. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and here’s a picture of it again:
I returned that pair of shoes and fortunately, most of my shoe boxes received since then have been in great condition.
Cancellation of Orders
Several times a week, I see posts from other Shoe Sellers that their online order was cancelled. Apparently, many online retailers are not reseller friendly and will cancel your order or even ban you from ordering from them again for the following reasons:
- The shoe store recognized the shipping address as a Prep Center address.
- There were too many shoes purchased in a single order.
- There were multiples of the same shoe in a single order.
At this time, I have never had a shoe order cancelled. I’m trying to lay low and fly under the radar by purchasing just enough shoes to qualify for free shipping (if offered) and by ordering different shoe styles.
However, I am planning on testing out my first Prep company soon and I’m hoping that none of my orders get cancelled.
Keeping Your Shoe Buy Costs Low
Shoes are an expensive category compared to the categories that many FBA Sellers start out with: books, toys and household items.
To lower my shoe costs, I look for shoes that are on sale or on clearance. Then I see if I can lower the price further by using store reward points and coupons. Here are two examples of retail arbitrage purchases using those methods:
1. DSW Shoes is a great store to buy shoes from. I’m a member of their store rewards program and recently went shopping there with a $10.00 rewards certificate. Combining that with their 70% off clearance deal, I paid $31.96 for two pairs of ECCO shoes or $15.98 each:
2. At Famous Footwear, I combined a store sale, a $10.00 Rewards coupon and a 15% off cell phone coupon (from the Famous Footwear app) to get a great price on two pairs of Vans. I paid $37.48 for both pairs or $18.74 each:
Of course, you don’t have to shop in-person to take advantage of deals. I recently bought 5 pairs of shoes online from Sierra Trading Post. On that day, their current promotion was 25% off any order of $200.00 or more. So, I found my shoes and went to cash out and then eek, saw that there were shipping fees of $15.95.
Since I remembered that I previously signed up for their email list, I went to my Gmail account and found a coupon code for 25% off any order (no minimum purchase) and FREE shipping!
Of course, I used Ebates and earned $4.25 from that purchase that I’ll receive in my next Big Fat Check.
Also, with all of my purchases, I use a credit card that gives me 1.5% cash back.
As you can see, there are many ways to save money on your shoes. Another option is purchasing discounted gift cards. I haven’t done this yet but will look into it.
How Are You Prepping Your Shoes?
I’m a poly bagger at heart so it’s very hard for me to not poly bag my shoe boxes. So, I’ve been poly bagging most of them and using stretch wrap on the shoe boxes that don’t fit inside a poly bag very well. I also purchased large rubber bands and I’m using them for my first time today with my current batch of shoes.
The above stretch wrap is a 5″ roll. But the next time I buy stretch wrap, I’m going to buy this 2″ roll which was recommended by another Shoe Seller:
Also, here is the Amazon link to the rubber bands that I purchased: Pale Crepe Gold Rubber Bands. These were also recommend by another Shoe Seller.
By the way, I read that David Penley uses stretch wrap on his boxes and I talked to a prep company and they use rubber bands.
Also, I bought tissue paper from Michaels and place the tissue paper inside of the shoe boxes that do not come with any. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the type of tissue paper that I bought on either the Michaels or Amazon website, but it’s a 125-sheet package by Celebrate It™.
Next Step – Get the Volume Up!
I’m happy with my initial results but I do want to make more money!
As with any FBA category, it’s about selling enough volume. My shoe inventory is pretty low as I have about 80 pairs left to sell. About 40 of those shoes aren’t even at Amazon yet.
My goal is to get my inventory up to 400 shoes and to get there, I figure I need to ship in 30 pairs of shoes a week. This is a big jump from my normal 10 to 12 pairs a week that I’ve been shipping in.
I’ll give you an update at a later time, but now I’m interested in learning about your progress into the shoe category. Please tell me how you’re doing either in the comment section below or on my Facebook page!
Learn to Sell Shoes!
3/3/17 Update: Learn more about selling shoes with Stephen Smotherman’s new course, The Reseller’s Guide to Selling Shoes!