September 15, 2006, 12:00 AM relaunch steps up focus on shoes

A dedicated online shoe store within the new blows out the category by hundreds of styles. The discount-priced yet carefully edited assortment fills a lack online, says the retailer.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce has relaunched this month with a new logo, a new tagline-“Your personal bargain hunter” -and a new site experience. As part of that relaunch, it’s entered the footwear business in a big way, according to Shari Shakun, vice president and general merchandise manager for soft lines for

A dedicated shoe store is featured as a permanent tab in a top navigation bar and a promotional shoe giveaway featured above that. While shoes aren’t new at the site, the expanded assortment, the editing that goes into that assortment and the focus on shoes as a key category are new, Shakun says. Prior to the launch of the new store, carried about 150 shoe styles, mostly sandals. The new shoe store launched with about 330 fall styles with an additional 30 to 40 styles added every day of the new store’s first week.


Shakun, a 17-year veteran of TJX, where she was in footwear for 12 years, says SmartBargains is aiming for what it considers a lack in online footwear marketing. “There’s really nothing that’s so edited and so focused,” Shakun says. The offering-for now confined to women`s shoes but eventually to include men’s as well- will include some shoe styles from high-end designers. Shakun defines the core offering as “great brands that retail at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus or Macy’s, and also specialty stores. Shoes that retail for between $80 and $120 that we will have for $39.99 to $69.99 will be our sweet spot.”


The editing that goes into styles selected for the shoe store represent what SmartBargains is now seeking to accomplish across its entire offering, Shakun says. “Your personal bargain hunter is our tagline and we are trying to do that across the entire site, to edit everything we see, to pass on more than we buy and to try to bring to the customer the stuff she really wants, versus looking through 25 pages when she can only find two things she wants,” she says.




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