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Passeggiata Shoes marries leisure with stylish footwear, bags and accessories

If you ask Greta Youngblood she’ll tell you shoes are “beautiful works of art” – especially the ones she carries in her store Passeggiata Shoes.

The Petaluma, California-based store opened in 2018 to sell high-end shoes. It’s name comes from the Italian lifestyle ritual la passeggiata, or a late afternoon or early evening leisurely stroll through one's city or town. The store sells hundreds of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese footwear.

Youngblood said the store is “a manifestation of a long time dream” and hard work. She was a schoolteacher, but her passion was for shoes and aesthetics. After serving a decade as an educator, she opened Passeggiata Shoes in 2018.

When customers could roam her store freely, Youngblood aimed for a warm, inviting and comfortable atmosphere where “there is nothing to see in the store that isn’t beautiful.” During pre-pandemic times,  the art of shoe selling was often more hands-on and sometimes included intimately handling a customer’s feet or helping them tie the shoes they’re trying on. 

Youngblood said what makes shoes more interesting than clothes is the aesthetics and craftsmanship that goes into making them. People often take for granted how shoes are often “the most durable thing we have” and how a well-made product can make a difference, she said.

“You can put on a shirt and it can be made very lazily and it will still fit you, it can have no tailoring to it, no sense of aesthetics where to put the lines or the cuts,” Youngblood said. “And for shoes, it can come down to millimeters if that shoe is going to fit well and be comfortable.”

When the COVID-19 lockdowns hit, Youngblood had to close her store. She hunkered down on her couch, watching the television show “Gilmore Girls” and building out her website. Before the pandemic there was a simple landing page, but at the end of April the site had more products and detailed descriptions. The shop’s site is user friendly, allowing customers to search by cost, brands, styles and gender.

By October she started using Fast on the website after seeing it was being recommended for online stores. She wanted to increase online sales and maximize the strength of her updated website.

The average checkout includes five steps and requires filling out at least 14 form fields, which can be tedious and stressful, especially if a customer can’t remember every detail or have to search for their payment card just to complete the purchase. Such inconveniences contribute to 70% of transactions being abandoned (checkout abandonment). Fast simplifies the checkout process by completing orders in just one click. Fast Checkout eliminates the hassles and completes orders in less than two seconds. The Fast Checkout button increases conversions, boosts sales, and improves customer experience.

While her online sales are still growing, about half of her sales have been through Fast since integrating it onto her website. She wanted to give her customers another option for checkout and has found customers appreciate the streamlined experience.

“Everything is a learning curve with these things and it can be challenging, so it was really nice I didn’t have to do it myself,” Youngblood said. “It’s a rare treat in this business because unless you're paying someone to manage these platforms for you, you have to do it yourself.”