Next step for footwear retailing sees e-tailers embrace physical stores

Footwear has been  a strong and dynamic retail category over the last decade thanks to the proliferation of specialty niches and the growing demand for specialized footwear designed to meet specific needs in terms of function and style.

So it is not surprising that brands have turned to footwear to entice shoppers into stores, and ultimately boost profit margins.

When it comes to shoes, many customers still want to try them on before buying them, so brick-and-mortar stores have a major advantage over e-tailers. Indeed, online retailers have come to realize that investing in physical interaction is an essential part of their growth strategy, if they want to truly broaden their customer base.

Going from Online to High Street

Following the footsteps of Amazon, Zappos, and other pure-play online retailers, Zalando is the latest to realize the importance of a physical presence. Despite its online success, Zalando found it was missing out on an essential stage of the shopping journey: the part where customers can see, touch, and feel merchandise, get advice from a sales assistant, and have the immediate satisfaction of finding what they need and  buying it, then and there.

So Zalando decided to expand beyond pure e-commerce by acquiring a Berlin-based fashion trade fair in 2015. This move has clearly had a positive impact, because now it is looking to establish a high street presence in fashion-forward cities such as London, Paris and Berlin.

These Zalando stores will likely function more like showrooms, designed to give online customers the opportunity to experience its  brand offline. They could also be used as mini distribution centers, facilitating “endless aisles,” faster delivery, and smarter inventory management.

Shoe Retailers Should Embrace Tech to Grow Stronger

Even if your store has traditionally had little online presence, the ability to marry online and offline experiences is essential in today’s retail environment, and technology is fast becoming the key to optimizing the benefits of both worlds.

From high-performance footwear to athleisure and even eco-friendly footwear, like Adidas’ ocean plastic trainers, your store software solution needs to be able to handle large assortments and frequent seasonal changes, and enable you track sales and performance, and move inventory across multiple stores. It also needs to be able to build, track, and reward a loyal customer base and facilitate flexible fulfillment options.

Cloud-ready software solutions such as Openbravo Commerce Suite offer retailers reliable, affordable and customizable options to help retailers manage their inventory and enterprise-wide operations more efficiently, resulting in a more profitable return on their investments.

Today’s retail solutions allow retailers to to stay one step ahead in today’s competitive  retail environment, and allows stores to drive sales and capitalize on both online and in-store traffic.


Find out more about our software solutions especially designed for Apparel and Footwear!

Openbravo is proud to be a sponsor at ANPIC Feria de América, one of the largest events for the shoe and leather sector in the Americas. This year’s event takes place from May 24-26 in León, Mexico.

If you wish to know more about how Openbravo can help you achieve your business goals, please fill out this form to make an appointment and visit us at stand #C4S03 or attend a conference led by our local partner, Practics, Keys to growth in the current textile, fashion and footwear industry: Technological Innovation, on Wednesday, May 24, 12:30 – 1:30 pm.


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