I'm in Internet-Love. (Or at Least Internet-Like)
No, I’m not referring to some creepy chat room encounter! Married! Remember? I’m in love with a new site. Or, infatuated. I don’t know it well enough yet to love it. It’s called Shop It To Me and it may be the Twitter of personal shopping sites.
First off, I love to shop. And despite my disenchantment with shoe shopping online, I love shopping for clothes online. I know what size I wear in my favorite designers and if something is a little too loose or a little too tight it's better than shoes being a little too loose or too tight. Generally I'm not looking for "comfort" in a rad outfit either. But I digress. Let’s just say a year of writing a book from home and I saw my UPS man a lot and leave it at that.
That said, there are many things I hate about shopping online:
1. Too many places to go and not enough reliably good places to go.
2. Comparison shopping sites DO NOT WORK FOR ME! And no Zappos-like mob is going to convince me to try them again. I’ve tried them all multiple times and never found a damn thing I was looking for.
3. Web 1.0 fashion site BlueFly is always a big disappointment. I don’t know how I can search for a designer I love and find nothing on the site I want. But I’ve had several girlfriends with the same experience. I go there wanting to spend money but never have.
I had just assumed there were inherent limitations with online shopping, when Charlene Li of Forrester Research pointed out that there’d been no interesting Web 2.0 shopping apps, and I thought, "Huh. Maybe there's a trove of innovation to come?"
What I love about Shop It To Me, though, isn't some crazy, wacky innovation that sometimes works-- it's the brilliant simplicity of the idea. That's why the Twitter comparison. You go to the site, and fill out the designers you love, the sizes you want, the items you are looking for and how frequently you want an email. Then twice a week (for me) I get a nice HTML email telling me everything that's on sale in my size all around the Web. That's IT! And it works. My first newsletter contained about six pieces I adored and would absolutely buy if I weren't already buying a house this month. (Gulp!) It's like just getting the results page of a comparison shopping site automatically sent to you, if the results page ever had the brands and items I was looking for. And frequently shop it to me includes special promo codes.
Only a few gripes: One of the things I really wanted was no longer available. Because these are sale items, they can go fast, so you have to buy quickly on the more extreme items (in this case, out-of-stock $100 Dolce & Gabbana capri pants broke my heart. $100!!!!) My other gripe is ease of check out. It's great to find several things you like on one page, but you still have to go to each site separately to buy them.
This is increasingly an annoyance for meta search travel sites like Kayak and Sidestep too. There has to be some Microsoft Passport ('member that?) like way to skirt it. Doesn't Google have a quick-checkout system? I know Google is becoming the new evil empire and all, but let's just all use that OK?? Shouldn't be a huge secret of business, but generally when you make it easier to take my money, I'll spend more. (To my husband's chagrin.)
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