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Online Retail Clubs Push Quality Over Quantity

I spent my New Year’s weekend watching a Project Runway marathon. At least once per episode, I saw a commercial for a website called JustFab.com. In it, a group of women are the office, they’re all looking at the same computer monitor as they “ooh” and “wow” and their eyes are dilating and they’re getting all excited. Obviously, you’re supposed to think they’re looking at content that isn’t work safe, but it turns out it’s all over shoes.

Personally, I believe shoes are like cars. As long as they get you where you’re going, that’s all I care about. But I hear tell, that shoe buying can be a karmic experience for some women and so you would think that the bigger the better, but not in this case.

JustFab, like several other high-end product sites, is going for quality over quantity and they’re topping it off with personalized customer service. Just take their patented personalty quiz and every month you’ll get a selection of shoes chosen just for you. Pick your pair and it’s automatically delivered for the same $39.95 price every month.

The whole thing reminds me of those Columbia House Video days. Pick your favorite TV show then sit back and wait for each outrageously expensive volume to land on your doorstep.

It was a good idea then and an even better idea now that we have the internet. Now, e-commerce stores can offer a variety of choices each month and customize selections for different user groups. But not too much variety. These clubs work because they feel small and exclusive. Choosing from 100 pairs of shoes isn’t special. Picking between only two designer stilettos is cool. There’s also the built-in deadline factor. Once you sign up, you’re getting shoes every month unless you opt-out.

As I’ve made perfectly clear, I don’t do shoes. But I do love food and other goodies. I subscribe to several online clubs including a brand new concept from Quarterly where you sign up to get a box of surprises from an industry celeb.

I think we’ll be seeing even more e-commerce club sites popping up throughout the year. They may even become the new “deal” site. Because as much as we love saving money, we also love saving time and these club sites are a one-stop shop for the coolest items in their category.

Do you have any experience running or buying from a club program. We’d love to hear about it.