After my article about successfully selling footwear appeared on Auctiva EDU, I received so many positive responses and inquiries from readers wanting more information that I decided a Part 2 was in order.
In the last 90 days, I've sold about 250 pairs of shoes. I really enjoy selling this non-breakable, easy-to-find product. If you're planning on selling shoes, the following tips will help you avoid some of the mistakes I've made on the road to footwear success.
Pay attention to size!
Educate yourself about brands that don't run true-to-size. Case in point: Onex sandals. These are hot sellers, but they run a full size small. When you list a brand of shoes you don't know much about, research it on Zappos.com. This site actually mentions the fact that Onex shoes run small.
If someone returns a pair of shoes because they don't fit, take this opportunity to do some research on that particular brand. Many eBay buyers know that their favorite shoe brands do not run true to size, but it's always a good idea to include this information in your descriptions. This will lead to fewer returns.
It's also important to be careful when listing vintage shoes. Vintage shoe sizes don't always correspond to modern sizes. Retro footwear can run small. I usually pass up vintage shoes unless they are incredibly unique.
When buying a pair of shoes to resell, make sure both shoes are the same size. Believe it or not, some people have mismatched feet. One foot might be a 9 while the other is an 8. You just never know.
Unless the shoes you're sending are tiny, sending them in an envelope won't save you money.
The importance of presentation
Want to improve your feedback? Focus on first impressions. Buyers want be wowed. If shoes are dirty, clean them before sending them off. Wrap the shoes you sell in tissue before surrounding them with packing material. Tissue is relatively inexpensive and customers absolutely love it! (Just don't use colored tissue paper. It looks great, but it will bleed if exposed to moisture).
Sourcing Tip: Costco offers tissue in bulk during the holiday season. It's very inexpensive and even cheaper than the tissue offered at the dollar stores.
Though it's important to keep shipping costs low, don't stuff shoes into large envelopes. Some eBay sellers attempt to save on shipping costs by sending shoes in oversized envelopes. I once received a pair of $300+ Ferragamo heels in an envelope. They arrived at my doorstep crushed—and I was very disappointed.
Unless the shoes you're sending are tiny, sending them in an envelope won't save you money. Shoes don't fit in flat-rate envelopes or small flat-rate boxes. I order free Priority Mail shoe boxes through USPS. If you need to save on weight, try using bubble wrap or air pockets for your filler material.
Finally, do not purchase shoes that smell like smoke. Most customers are very sensitive to cigarette smoke and will return shoes that stink.
Go in pairs
My last bit of advice to anyone wanting to sell shoes may seem like common sense, but it's easy to forget:
If you're buying multiple pairs of shoes in the same style, make sure all the shoes have mates. I made that mistake just the other day. I purchased five pairs of brand new Onex sandals in the same style. When I got home, I realized that two of the shoes didn't have mates.
So there you have it, Footwear 101. By following these guidelines, you will save time and money!
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Miriam Otto is an eBay educator, based in Northern California. Miriam sells more than 500 items per month on eBay, and finds most of what she sells at yard sales and thrift shops. When not teaching eBay classes or running her business, she enjoys writing about her latest "scores" on The eBay Life blog. In addition to living "The eBay Life," Miriam works as an independent study teacher helping adults earn high school diplomas.
Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.