• Tue, Jun 11 2013

Try-On Fees Are A Thing At Shoe Stores Now

shoe try on fees.

Getting to try things on in person is the major edge brick-and-mortar stores have over Internet retailers, especially for hard-to-fit items like shoes. But there’s a good chance we might all have to pay for that privilege in the future, because shoe stores have begun charging try-on fees.

Charging shoppers for the privilege of just trying on clothes or shoes does not tend to sit well with them. Vera Wang famously caused an Internet ruckus when news came out that her Shanghai boutique was charging $482 try-on fees to would-be brides who wanted to sample her wares. While the company said the fees were an attempt to cut down on people coming in and photographing her designs for copycats, local shoppers were not best pleased to be treated that way. The policy was dismissed not long after.

Shoe retailers in particular say they have a serious problem with people “showrooming,” or checking out and trying on clothes and shoes in brick-and-mortar stores and then buying them cheaper online. So some stores are rumored to have begun charging $5 to $25 try-on fees so that the stores at least make a little money, even from people who don’t intend to buy anything. It also helps the shoe stores make sure that the their salespeople aren’t wasting their time measuring feet that don’t intend to buy.

We can understand the logic, but we have no idea how this policy is supposed to make us more likely to shop at brick-and-mortar stores.

While taking up a salesperson’s time when one doesn’t intend to actually buy anything isn’t a very nice thing to do, try-on fees seem likely to alienate the customers that are coming to the stores.

Would you be willing to pay just to try on shoes?

Via Styleite/Photo: Shutterstock

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  • Eileen

    Do they deduct the try-on fee from the cost of the shoes if you actually do end up buying them?

  • Anonachocolatemousse

    I probably wouldn’t go to that store. What if I don’t find a pair that I like and decide not to buy anything but I end up paying $60 because I tried the shoes on. Although I buy a lot of my shoes at DSW and Payless so I’m guessing I won’t run into this fee.

  • footnotegirl

    No, I would not pay a fee to try on shoes, and I would cease to shop at any place that attempted to put forth such a fee, and I would tell all my friends to do the same.
    My favorite high end shoe store ran a contest recently wherein you could enter to win 10 years of free shoes just by trying a pair on. Because they know this truth: If your shoes are good, trying them on will get people to buy them. if not the first time, then eventually. That’s how Fluevog got me. I never intended to buy a pair, SO EXPENSIVE. I even told the salesperson “Oh no, I’m just looking, thank you. Please, don’t bother spending time with me.” They kindly waved aside my concerns and spent a lot of time and energy on me. But once I did try them on, and saw how cute they were on me and felt how comfortable? I came back when I had the money.
    I now have seven pairs.
    I have gotten three other friends into the store and they have 7, 3, and 1 pair respectively. The girl with three pairs has brought two more friends in, and THEY have multiple pairs now.

    • Sean

      I don’t blame you…if Karl Lagerfeld is allowed to marry his cat, I may very well marry my Fluevog Michaels.

  • Debbie Bashford

    Not a chance in hell, they want my money they need to kiss my ass.

  • Fabel

    My first thought was “guess I’ll have to buy shoes without trying them on! hope they fit!” But yeah, boycotting places that do this is the better option… I’m glad people are smarter than I am sometimes!

  • Marian Dreaver

    I have only ever seen this in one store, and that was a dance shoe store – the only one in my city – and seeming it can take a very long time with a shop assistant to find the right style for you, and many people were going it trying pairs and then buying them online, it seemed fair. For anything that does not involve specalist training not so much.