Sales-alert service Shop It To Me more than doubled its subscribers in the fourth quarter, helped along by a down economy, unprecedented promotions and shoppers eager to snap up bargains.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s been the perfect storm for us,” said founder and president Charlie Graham.

Launched in 2005, the service sends notice of online markdowns on apparel and accessories via e-mail alerts to subscribers. The service is personalized, so shoppers receive an e-mail only when an item that matches their brand and size preferences goes on sale. Subscribers set preferences when they register at For example, women can specify if they want to receive notice when items from Jill Stuart and Ann Taylor in size 8 or medium go on sale. The service includes women’s clothing, accessories and shoes as well as men’s, children’s and running gear.

Shop It To Me now has more than 1.5 million subscribers, up from about 500,000 in October. More than half are active, meaning they read and click through on e-mails frequently. Last year, the site facilitated more than $10 million in sales, said Graham.

New is the ability to browse relevant sales on the company’s Web site. The site’s blog covers budget fashion.

Shop It To Me has relationships with more than 100 retailers, including Shopbop, Piperlime, Saks Fifth Avenue, Urban Outfitters, Yoox and Nordstrom. It does not take ads — revenue comes from affiliate or cost-per-click fees. With a staff of fewer than 10, overhead is low and the service is profitable, said Graham. In 2007, the San Francisco-based company took one round of angel and venture capital funding of $1 million and is not seeking more, he added.

Similar businesses include fashion search engine ShopStyle and local search service NearbyNow, both of which show on-sale in addition to full-price merchandise on their sites. They are destination sites rather than e-mail services.

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