Monday, October 8, 2012

Under New Management

Can they return to the Dazzle?
No. Not me, silly. ShoeDazzle. Well, not 'new' management. It's more like the old management came back because the 'new' management just wasn't cutting it. As many long time ShoeDazzle customers know, last fall, they hired a new CEO, Bill Strauss, to try and finally get the company into the black. When Strauss came in though, there were several high-level departures that took place shortly thereafter that went mostly unannounced, but the shoe and commerce blogs took note. Strauss proceeded to change the entire structure and focus of the company to something more akin to a typical online shoe and clothing retailer. They stopped the monthly subscription model and started offering more accessories and even started a clothing line. Instead of twice-weekly Dazzle Deals that brought customers to the site in anticipation, they started carrying various other items such as luggage, styling tools, lingerie, and gifts on a regular basis. In the midst of all of this, quality and customer service both took a nose dive, the former in the name of cost cutting, and the latter, from what I can tell, by reigning in their once legendary white-glove treatment (also in the name of cost cutting, I'm sure). Their shipping was changed to a slower method and warehouse processing times increased, even though many of us suffered through their infamous warehouse move last summer with the promise that the new one would make processing much better and faster. Many items were suddenly being offered at a higher price than the usual $39.95. They upped the price of shipping for Canadian customers and started charging shipping on anything below full price.

Their once vibrant and fun Facebook page slowly became a boring place where people only went to complain. They lost a boatload of longtime customers. Others, like myself, who stuck around, went from buying dozens of items a month to buying once every few months, if that. It just wasn't worth the hassle - there was a good possibility that there would be quality issues, which coupled with their new, crappy shipping and processing times, meant that it may be a full month, or more, for you to get an undamaged, wearable item. It was from this frame of mind where terms like "CrapDazzle" started to get tossed around frequently.

Then, last month, they very quietly issued a press release that was picked up by just a few style and commerce sites. Bill Strauss had resigned and Brian Lee, the original founder, was taking back over as CEO. Angels began to sing! All over Facebook, ladies were thrilled with the news. Would he put the Dazzle back in ShoeDazzle? A few sources inside the company were cautiously optimistic.

Only time will tell if it will make a difference, but there were some odd changes and offers in the days immediately following the announcement. They offered a $15 credit to all their existing customers. This was a payment credit and not a discount so you didn't get hit with the new shipping charges. Then, they started running a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal for new customers, but it's also available to existing customers, but only vocally through Customer Service, or if you find a link for it - like right here. But, then, they started charging shipping on BOGO purchases, no matter what the total and whether or not you bought a non-BOGO item with it. And they're offering another $15 credit deal - which, again, gets around the shipping charges, so it begs the question: Why? Maybe it's an attempt to see what drives sales so they can reboot and focus on that.

Whatever it is, I hope that they figure it out soon. I used to love ShoeDazzle. I credit them with opening my eyes to buying shoes online. I've met some great women because of them, and they've got some great customer service agents and supervisors that I love to death. But, now, there are just too many other options to justify most of the hassle and higher prices. I'll continue to buy when I really love something, but unless they change their ways and regain some of their original luster, I don't know how much that's going to be or how long I'm going to stick around.

It's going to be very interesting to see what comes about in the next few months, whether it be good or bad.


  1. I haven't made a purchase from Shoedazzle since March. I pretty much gave up on them in May. I keep watching the crappy changes from the sidelines hoping things might get better.... can't say I'm holding my breath. It's too bad they've let things change so much.

  2. I wouldn't know you if it weren't for the Dazzle, and my best friends were all once enthusiastic SD customers and posters on the FB page...that page was fantastic for a while. I am glad I met the women I met, and the first pair of SD shoes I bought (Surrey, March 2011) are still among my favorites...yes, even with my current collection of Jessica Simpson and Betsey Johnsons. I haven't bought anything since Jan. 2012 though, and I'm not going to buy anything quite yet although the changes do seem to be for the better. I have to thank SD for the friends I found and a few pairs of truly awesome shoes; I hope they remember that they need to thank us, too, their longtime and once-loyal customers. I am encouraged by the recent changes...I hope I can be convinced.