What Amazon’s Mounting Success Means For Shoe Companies

In case you missed it, Amazon is winning.

The e-tailing behemoth’s shares surged as much as 20 percent this morning after it blew past Wall Street’s expectations to post 20 percent year-over-year gains in revenues to the tune of $23.2 billion in Q2.

Not only is the firm now worth more than brick-and-mortar mega-company Wal-Mart, a recent report by Cowen and Company analyst John Blackledge suggests Amazon is set to outpace Macy’s as the number one U.S. apparel retailer by 2017.

So what does this mean for footwear companies?

Experts say if footwear companies don’t implement effective omnichannel strategies in this increasingly e-commerce driven business environment, failure is imminent.

Ryan Rose, director of business development at consulting firm Clutch, said challenges are particularly intensified for newer footwear companies entering the e-commerce space.

“It’s tough getting started in footwear online—people are used to going in to stores and trying things on,” Rose said. “The e-commerce space tends to lend itself to savvy shoppers who know their shoe size and are comfortable making that kind of purchase online.”

Rose says it’s then a game of execution and engagement to reel that customer in.

“Brands and retailers have to work on brand advocacy and building brand affinity in order to gain consumer loyalty,” said Rose. “There are lots of competitors in e-commerce and when shopping online, a consumer is likely to consider whether they can get the same pair shoes from a site like Amazon.com before making a purchase.”

And the challenges aren’t limited to the consumer end of the shoe business either. Top-level executives say they are increasingly looking at talent through the lens of e-commerce.

In an exclusive interview with Footwear News last week, Deckers Brands president Dave Powers said he views omnichannel expertise as a major criterion for hiring and retaining talent.

“Finding the right talent is becoming harder because the model for success has changed dramatically,” Powers said. “You need to have omnichannel experience, you need to have experience connecting to consumers and you need to be an innovative thinker.”

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