Winter Resort Retailers Sound Off on E-Commerce

With e-commerce gaining significant ground in the footwear industry, brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the heat. But how do online sales affect shoe stores that cater to tourists in seasonal locales? Footwear News put the question to storeowners and managers in Aspen, Colo.; Park City, Utah; Stowe, Vt.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and Sisters, Ore.

For more on the selling season in resort areas, see Monday’s issue of Footwear News.

Lisa Hagerty, Owner

Well Heeled, Stowe, Vt.

“We are somewhat buffered here, as people shop as part of their experience of being away. Instant price checking is becoming [an] issue, [but] good shoppers realize that there is a fair premium to be paid for touching, trying on and a boutique buyer’s pre-selection and excellent customer service. [E-commerce] forces us all to be better at what we do. What hurts us more than [sites like] Zappos is our vendors [running their own e-commerce] websites. This is something that will have to change in the industry.”

Josephine Fleming, Store Manager
Rodeo, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“I don’t think e-commerce affects us very much. People are here on vacation. They aren’t looking for specific items; they are here to indulge and shop.”

John Cheatham, Owner
Sundance Shoes, Sisters, Ore.

“I think online does [create competition]. We haven’t [had e-commerce] before, but we’re going to [get] into that by launching a website [with e-commerce] this year.”

Salvatore Vespa, Owner
Shaw’s General Store, Stowe, Vt.

“We don’t feel like we’re affected by e-commerce because of where we are. However, I do think one thing that’s affecting us is our vendors opening [brick-and-mortar stores]. For instance, we just had a fairly large footwear company open two more stores in our town. I think some of these footwear companies are doing that because they have to hit such big numbers. What they really should be focusing on is efficiency and relationships.”

Patty Patterson, Owner
Bloomingbirds, Aspen, Colo.

“I don’t think we’re as affected by e-commerce as other footwear retailers because we are [located in a] resort [area], but I’m sure some of our customers do buy online.”

Lori Harris, Owner
Mary Jane’s, Park City, Utah

“There are certain people who look up [our brands] online, but because [Park City] is a tourist town, purchases are more impulsive. Customers are not saying, ‘I’m going to go home and get this online;’ they want to get it in Park City right then and there. People even call after visiting [to order shoes over the phone].”

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