Online Shopping Sites Make Shopping Personal And Fun Again

Not long ago, when shoppers were just beginning to get used to shopping online, it seemed that the era of shopping for fun was over. Well, life seems to be coming full circle. Online shopping websites are once again working on bringing the fun factor back into shopping. The result is sites like JewelMint that create customized offers for users, based on their tastes, once a month, all for a cost of $29.95 per month.

JewelMint is not alone in this upcoming area. The jewelry site is joined by the likes of ShoeDazzle, Send the Trend, Sole Society, JustFabulous and the new StyleMint. The great thing about these new online shopping destinations is that they offer all the conveniences of shopping via the internet while also offering a more personalized touch. Of course, you have to be a registered user to get these great deals and offers. And you will have to take a style personality tests which involves choosing your favorite red carpet look, the celebrity whose wardrobe you would love to raid and your favorite nail polish shades. Add to this your shoe size, dress size and age and your customer profile is ready. Then every month, you get a special personalized fashion offer – which you can choose to buy or skip.

And people seem to be loving the new personalized shopping concept. ShoeDazzle has raised $20 million since its launch. Send the Trend recently raised funding of $3 million through Battery Ventures and other investors. BeachMint (the firm behind JewelMint and StyleMint) has already raised $15 million.

This is the second generation of online shopping sites, a step above the Amazons of the world. A short quiz about your personal style is all it takes for the site to start sending you outfits and accessories that you love. Even Google’s new Boutiques.com follows the same logic.

But you can’t have it all. And it is not always free. If you are going to enjoy the perks of getting special personalized offers month after month, you had better be willing to pay the price. The monthly subscription rates are not terribly high, but range between $30 and $50 approximately. So these are not your heavy duty luxury brands, but you will get trendy, good quality items at reasonable prices. What this also does is pressurize the user to make a purchase, if not every month, then at least from time to time.

But that is not the clincher. That bit comes from the celebrities that are attached to the respective shopping sites. So on the one hand you have actor Kate Bosworth designing for JewelMint. Then there is Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen making celeb-touched tees for the upcoming StyleMint. ShoeDazzle can boast of having reality star Kim Kardashian as its co-founder and celebrity stylist. And then there is Project Runway winner Christian Siriano selecting and designing items on Send the Trend.

Yes, celebrities certainly help convince people to buy, or at least try, a given shopping site. But once someone is hooked, there is no turning back. Then you are left clicking away for the next special offer that suits your personal style best.

Via: The New York Times

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