It’s been about three months since ShoeDazzle founder Brian Lee took back his CEO role at the L.A.-based e-commerce startup. Since then, the company has been undergoing massive changes: a reorganization aimed at refocusing the company on shoes and accessories; the introduction of new celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe to bolster the brand; the launch of a new “Daily Fix” email newsletter designed to increase engagement; and partnerships struck with other shoe manufacturers to bring some new brands to the site.
“It’s probably been the busiest 100 days of my life,” Lee told me.
But now, with Lee back in place and all that work done, the next phase of ShoeDazzle’s evolution will involve bringing back one of the founding premises of the e-commerce site: subscriptions. But the company’s new subscription plan, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks, varies significantly from its old $39.95 a month plan.
When ShoeDazzle launched, it had a pretty simple message to consumers. Sign up, and once a month you’d be able to pick a new pair of shoes for $40. If you didn’t find anything you’d like, you could skip a month and not be charged the recurring subscription fee. Or, you could do nothing and have the subscription fee deducted, but have the $40 added to your account as a credit for future purchases.
The new subscription plan, which will become available in mid-February, costs $9.95 a month and will provide ShoeDazzle customers with a wide range of perks. The $9.95 will automatically be added to customer accounts as credits that can be accrued and used at any time over the course of a year. In addition, those who sign up will receive discounts of 10-25 percent off of ShoeDazzle merchandise for being a part of the program, free shipping for both shipments and returns, as well as prioritized access to sale items.
The new subscription plan fits in nicely with a few changes that ShoeDazzle has made over the course of the last few months. Since adding multiple new brands of shoes, the company no longer has a single price point that subscribers can rely on for making purchases. As a result, the ability to accrue credits and use them whenever could help drive purchases of higher-priced items being introduced to customers.
Instead of tying a subscription to a single purchase every month that users can opt out of, the plan offers discounts and free shipping. That provides customers with value throughout the year, not just on the first day of every month. Doing so will help ShoeDazzle increase engagement — something that it’s been working on with the launch of its Daily Fix product, which keeps users coming back every day, as well as its work through social channels to connect with consumers.
ShoeDazzle has been running a beta version of its subscription plan since January 14 — the same day it introduced its other new features — and invited some of its high-value users to participate. According to Lee, about 20 percent of those invited had joined. That’s got the company feeling pretty positive about rolling it out to all customers.
It’s still early days in ShoeDazzle’s attempted turnaround, but the company has already seen some positive signs. While he cut 24 employees upon his return, Lee said that move was mainly to reduce the number of verticals that ShoeDazzle had and to focus on shoes again.
As for the changes it made earlier in the month, since launching the Daily Fix, the company has seen a 12 percent lift in repeat visitors. And the home of new celebrity Chief Stylist Rachel Zoe is already the third most-trafficked page on the site. The hope is that, with the new subscription plan, ShoeDazzle will not only give customers reasons to come back more often, but it will once again start getting some recurring revenue going.