How leading brands grow their industry category

For a start, my feet are large for my height.  I’m 5’6” tall and my feet are size ten.  I can never predict what a shoe will look like on my foot until it’s been shod onto my clod-hopper.  The daintiest slipper can transform me into Ronald McDonald.  As a consequence, I don’t shop for shoes, I hunt.  Like a special operative.  I try on shoes quickly and furtively.  It can be an emotional experience.

But apparently thousands and thousands of consumers take a different approach to shoe shopping.  Last year, the online shoe retailer, reached a $1 billion milestone in annual revenues.  This is the same that Amazon announced recently that it would be purchasing for $900 million.

The announcement got me thinking: 1) about buying my shoes online, and 2) that Amazon didn’t buy a shoe company; they bought a loyal customer base that are willing to buy shoes online.

A shoe is not a book.  If someone’s willing to buy shoes online, they’re probably willing to buy anything online.’s vision is that one day 30 percent of all retail transactions will be done over the Internet.  They’d rather that you bought a pair of shoes online from one of their competitors than from a traditional store.  Amazon enthusiastically shares the same vision. doesn’t just remove the barriers that would stop you from buying a pair of shoes from them. They create such a positive buying experience (including free shipping and a 365 day return policy) that you feel less resistant about shopping online, period.

Leading brands don’t stop at their own pocket book. Do you have a vision that encompasses your entire industry category?

Written by Kylie Hughes for Concentric Marketing’s ‘Breakout’ blog


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