ShoeDazzle’s New CEO Tweaks Business to Make Subscribing Pinch Less

Six months after joining ShoeDazzle as CEO, Bill Strauss is making some changes that make signing up a little less of a commitment.

The fairly high-profile start-up, which was co-founded by Kim Kardashian and raised $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, got its start as a subscription service.

For $40 a month, women would receive a pair of shoes, based on their preferences.

The catch, however, was that if you failed to log in and tell ShoeDazzle that you weren’t interested that month, they would charge you anyway. The model was reminiscent of mail-order CD clubs that drew you in with the offer of 10 albums for one cent, but then signed you up for a monthly shipment unless you opted out in advance.

Under the changes announced today, ShoeDazzle members will only be charged if and when they make a purchase — no matter if it is once a month or once every six months.

Everything else remains the same, so members will continue getting an email offering a monthly selection of shoes, selected according to their personal preferences. The shoes will also continue to be made specifically for ShoeDazzle from a variety of manufacturers in China.

Without the commitment of  having to log in every month, the site could appeal to a wider audience. Today, ShoeDazzle has 10 million members, up from three million a year ago.

“But that isn’t enough,” Strauss said in an interview. “We want tens of millions.”

As part of the changes, ShoeDazzle will also add new categories to the site, including apparel and lingerie in addition to shoes, and some handbags.

“The feedback that we’ve been getting is that when they see the shoes on the model, they want to buy the whole outfit,” Strauss said. “We want to increase our share of the closet.”

Six months ago, Strauss joined ShoeDazzle from Provide Commerce, where he was CEO. Provide Commerce is known for operating sites such as ProFlowers and RedEnvelope. ShoeDazzle’s founder, Brian Lee, is now chairman. In addition, Kardashian, who helped launch ShoeDazzle, is playing a less active role in the company today, but continues as a spokeswoman.

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