A Failed Attempt to Purchase Shoes Online

This tale of purchasing woe happened to my sister. Crissy has been a loyal consumer of Rieker shoes over the last few years and even wore one of their sandals to her wedding. After recently wearing out her pair of Rieker loafers, she planned to replace it with a new copy of the same shoe.

Rieker is a Swiss brand with limited presence outside of Europe. In the US, it mainly sells through independent boutiques and online retailers like Amazon and Zappos. Crissy’s initial attempt to find a replacement led her to those ecommerce sites as there isn’t a store near where she lives in Kirkland, WA.

To Crissy’s dismay, she discovered searching online that Rieker no longer sells the model she likes. This led her to look for something similar. Not seeing exactly what she wanted from Rieker, Crissy identified a similar loafer from Cobb Hill by New Balance through Amazon’s recommendations feature.


Cobb Hill by New Balance Shoe from Amazon.com

Upon receiving her package from Amazon, Crissy opened the box and was crushed to see that the shoe she purchased was not at all what she wanted. It looked sturdier on the site and the actual shoe felt less well made than she expected. Crissy now plans to return this pair and try again.

Purchasing shoes online can be difficult as fit and feel are such important factors in the buying decision. Zappos does a good job of addressing this with its free returns policy, which encourages customers to order multiple pairs and send back the ones they don’t like. Having very limited experience with Zappos, Crissy wasn’t aware of this option. Now in the know, she plans to switch to Zappos and order a few different styles to replace her favorite pair of Rieker’s.


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