How to sell life-changing shoes

Anyone working in the footwear industry has probably seen a greetings card or mug with the unattributed quote “Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life.” Whilst looking for proof in fairy tales is entirely illogical, there is some truth in the statement. I would go as far as to say that a new pair of shoes should change your life.

Whether that’s the new school shoes which properly support a child’s feet, avoiding long-lasting damage; high heels which give the wearer the confidence boost they need to feel comfortable in a daunting social situation; or a pair of best in category performance shoes for someone’s favourite outdoor activity.

Of course footwear isn’t just about practicality, or suitability for a particular wearing occasion. If we think beyond the functionality of the shoes we create, we tap into our customers’ emotions and imaginations. How can we bring playfulness and joy into our products and our customers’ experience of our brand? Don’t forget that play is a big part of what makes humans tick.

“…any brand willing to play today will still be in the game tomorrow, long after their peers have fallen out of the rankings.” – Marlene P. Naicker

It isn’t only children who revel in the transformational abilities of clothes and costumes. What if trying on shoes in a store or adding them to an e-commerce basket held a hint of that dressing-up box feeling?

Nostalgia is also an important emotional trigger. Something trainer brands tap into as part of their standard business model of regular reissues. Start-up brands, and those with a rich heritage can both engage with this part of their consumers’ psyche. Newly launched brand Thro’backs builds connections with its Instagram followers using the power of nostalgia.

Product managers, buyers, designers, the marketing team and sales force would all benefit from focusing on the transformation that a shoe offers to a customer. Think beyond the functional to the emotional.