Types of Internet Shoe Stores
Shoe stores that carry inventory can be quite diverse in size and theme, but all have the same underlying principle that the shoes they sell online are shoes that they have stored in their own warehouse. These stores can be further broken down into mainstream retail sites that will focus on the latest shoe styles and discount retailers. The will place an order 6 to 12 months in advance before the shoes are made and when all of their inventory is gone, they move onto the next season shoes. Discount retailers, on the other hand buy up all of the inventory that a manufacturer has left when it goes on clearance. These are the super discounted shoes you may find on e-bay and other stores. The advantage to having this type of store is that the retailer knows exactly how many shoes they bought, so their stores will track the inventory for them. The advantage to the customer is that you can usually expect that if the website says the shoe is in stock, it probably is. The disadvantage to the customer is that it costs a lot of money to maintain inventory. Shoes get shipped twice (once to the retailer and once to you), inventory control requires employees, and as a result, the retailer can’t buy as many styles. This means fewer options for the customer.
Shoe stores that don’t carry inventory are working in a little different manner. Instead of listing only the shoes that they have on site, they list in their store everything that the manufacturer has to offer and when an order is placed, the retailer then arranges for the manufacturer to ship the shoe. The advantage of this type of store is that they can offer a wide diversity of shoes without having the costs associated with inventory. In addition, the shoe is only shipped once (directly to the customer) further reducing the costs to the retailer. Because of the reduced costs to do business, this model generally means that the retailer can offer the shoes at a lower price. The disadvantage is that the retailer has no way of knowing if a shoe is in stock until they arrange shipping with the manufacturer. So when a store says that a shoe is available, what they really mean is that they are able to sell this shoe, not that it is in stock.
So the next time you go browsing online for shoes, think about the site that you are on and see if you can identify what type of store they are. No matter what kind of store they are, their purpose is to help you get the correct shoe, so feel free to call them anytime and let them help you find the right shoe for your needs. Chances are, if they don’t have it, they know where you can look.