RunningShoes.com started making the news in 2011, when Chad Weinman reportedly bought the domain from the previous owner for an astonishing $700,000.
Since then, RunningShoes.com established its presence in the online running shoe stores world and has just recently re-designed.
I had the chance to interview the Chad, the CEO and talk about his experience running this business and online businesses in general.
Chad Weinman, CEO of RunningShoes.com
Chad Weinman founded his first online store in 2004. BDU.COM focused on a niche military market by carrying battle dress uniforms, which at the time were the U.S. Army’s standard combat uniform. This small side project soon turned into a full-time job. From there, the business grew, and he opened new stores in the military and tactical vertical, including MilitaryBoots.com and TacticalGear.com. In April 2011, Mr. Weinman acquired RunningShoes.com and turned his focus to building the No. 1 online specialty running shoe store. Today Cat5 Commerce, the parent company for his 10 online stores, employees about 50 people at its headquarters in Chesterfield, Mo.
Can you describe what a typical day looks like for you?
Lots of coffee, lots of meetings and I’m lucky if I get to eat lunch.
How is RunningShoes.com performing since you purchased the business?
Exceptionally well. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the growth rate and by the willingness of our suppliers to help us grow our business through various marketing efforts.
How many people do you employ?
What are your thoughts on your customer service team?
Our customer relations team is the centerpiece of our organization. Basically everything we do is to support their efforts.
Please explain how you developed your Return Policy.
We let customers return merchandise up to a year after they have purchased it. We simply believe that it is the right thing to do.
How are you marketing RunningShoes.com?
We market through social media, search, email and online display advertising. We hope that serving our customers well will create referrals of family and friends. Word of mouth always helps!
Are there some tips you can offer that have helped generate more visitors to RunningShoes.com?
Building a site around a specific keyword like “running shoes” has historically helped us rank well for this high-traffic query with various search engines. However, as rankings fluctuate with each algorithm update, we have learned to just focus on creating the best shopping experience for our users.
Do you have any immediate plans for future growth of RunningShoes.com?
We’re always looking to expand our product selection and improve our user experience. We recently redesigned the entire site and are excited to see what our customers think of the new look. We keep working to build a buzz around a site that is focused exclusively on the running community.
What are you plans to offer other brands of running shoes?
We’re open to offering additional brands of running shoes based on identifying and working with new suppliers that conform to the theme of the store, which is technical running. The brands have to be running centric. They have to fit the theme and the spirit of the store.
There are items being sold on RunningShoes.com other than shoes. At some point, are you planning to offer running apparel? How about nutritional products?
We plan to get into apparel and accessories. This will happen once we feel that our customer base has reached a critical mass, and we are confident that we can represent those products as our suppliers would expect us to.
What is your background in athletics? Do you compete in athletic events?
If by compete you mean running on a treadmill, then yes.
What tips can you offer to someone that is interested in establishing an online business?
Identify an underserved market, and work diligently to create a user experience that resonates with that community and engages with that lifestyle.
Do you have a preference in a type or brand of running shoe?
Most recently I’ve been running in Brooks Ravenna 3. I love Brooks!
I’d like to thank Chad for his time and Jeanette for making it happen. RunningShoes.com has just redesigned, don’t forget to check it out !
Also, don’t forget to check out their latest contest for the chance to win a goodie bag full of Brooks products!