A Common Retail Challenge: Keeping Shoes Straight

Keeping Shoes StraightJust mention the words ‘shoe section’ to the average retail store operator and you may receive an angry look in return—and likely a few mumbled words of frustration as well. Many store owners and operators quickly become frustrated with their shoe section as they find that it is difficult (if not impossible) to keep organized, properly stocked, and easy to browse. If you want to sell shoes successfully, you need to make it easy for your customers to find and try on exactly what they want. Unfortunately, that is a task that is often easier said than done.

Name a Department Manager

The first step in the ‘battle’ against a messy shoe section is putting someone in charge of this part of the business. Even if you are running a small retail operation, you need to be sure that someone is tasked with the job of keeping the shoe displays under control. Consistently straightening up the display and putting shoes back in place throughout the day can keep you ahead of the game. If this task is ignored for too long—as it will be if no one is specifically in charge—the whole area will quickly become a mess.

Use the Right Display

Shoes come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. From warm winter boots to sexy stilettos, shoes should be properly paired with an appropriate display system. When using acrylic shoe displays, it is essential the shoe fits. Placing a large boot on a display meant for a ladies pump will result in the display constantly being knocked over. Slatwall panels come in handy here as they feature moveable shelves for shoes of different heights.

Use an On-Demand System

In some stores, the best method to use for shoe sales may be an ‘on-demand’ system. In other words, you will put out a single pair of each model that you carry for display, and customers will need to ask for assistance to try on a pair in their size. There are pros and cons to this option. On the plus side, you will no longer have to worry about cleaning up the mess, as the majority of your shoes will be in the back room. If your store is not adequately staffed, however, potential sales may walk out the door while they are waiting to be helped.

Set Aside Space for Shoes to be Restocked

One of the big problems found in many shoe sections is that customers fail to put shoes back in the right location. This is found in large department stores, small boutiques and stores exclusively selling shoes! While the shoes might make it back in the box and back to the shelf, they often are not placed in order by size—and they might not even be put back in the correction section at all. Or shoes are taken from displays and scattered about the section or, even worse, the entire store. To reduce this issue, try setting aside a table or even a large box where customers or overly burdened employees can place shoes that need to be restocked. If you take this approach you should have a designated “re-stocker” who continually clears this space. They will be far more adept at getting the inventory back to its appropriate home over a customer.

The shoe section will always require a bit more attention than the rest of the store, but it doesn’t have to be a complete disaster. By using some of the tips above, you should be able to regain control over your shoe department. The goal is always the same, and it is simple: to present all of your shoes to each customer in a user-friendly fashion. By having a plan and staying organized on a day-to-day basis, you should be able to do just that.

If you’re a Specialty Store Services Customer who would like more information on Shoe Displays and Accessories, just Email Us. You can also shop for all of your Shoe Store supplies online at our website, Specialty Store Services, by Live Chat, or by phone at 800-999-0771.