March 7, 2011, 3:58 PM

HauteLook kicks off SoleSociety, a private sale shoe site

The members-only footwear site will offer shoppers personalized recommendations and a new pair of shoes each month for $49.95. The site's launch comes less than a month after Nordstrom Inc. said it would buy flash sale retailer HauteLook in a deal worth at least $180 million.

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Flash sale retailer HauteLook launched SoleSociety.com today, a membership site that offers personalized recommendations and sends shoppers a new pair of shoes each month for a set price of $49.95.

First-time visitors to SoleSociety.com take a quiz that uses celebrity and runway images to determine their “StyleBio.” Shoe selections are then personalized based on the bio and highlighted in the shopper’s “Closet.” Members then choose from the styles offered on the site each month.

Registration and shipping are free and members have the option to purchase as many shoes as they’d like or skip buying in any month. Members have until the fifth day of each month to decline the shoe selection on the web site; otherwise the member’s credit card will be charged.

“Our goal is to provide a great product on a monthly basis, not to have customers receive anything they didn’t want or pay for something they didn’t get,” says Andy Solomon, general manager of Sole Society. “All we require is that they come to the site once a month and tell us whether or not they want to buy something. They can buy a pair of shoes per month or they can skip every month and never buy anything.”

SoleSociety also expects to launch its own line of Italian-inspired shoes, Marco Santi, and plans to introduce other collections in the coming months.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to serve and delight our HauteLook members, and shoes are consistently the most requested category,” says Adam Bernhard, CEO of HauteLook, No. 191 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. “With Sole Society, we can offer women access to on-trend shoes every day of the year, in an exciting and personalized way.”

Last month, Nordstrom Inc., No. 29 in the Top 500 Guide, announced plans to buy HauteLook for $180 million in stock plus additional incentives if the flash sale site met certain goals.

In its year-end earnings call in February, Nordstrom CEO Blake Nordstrom said the acquisition was a way for the chain retailer to appeal to younger, fashion-savvy shoppers who favor newer ways to shop online. “The online business is an important cornerstone of our growth strategy, and HauteLook will contribute to our overall results in this space,” Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom Direct, largely comprising e-commerce, is the fastest-growing part of Nordstrom’s business.

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