EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2739 - February 14, 2012     2 of 5

New Site Offers Kids Clothes By Subscription

By Greg Holden

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Plenty of websites sell children's clothing. But a newly launched site called Wittlebee has a couple of features it hopes will set it apart from the competition.

The first is the way you shop. Well, actually, you don't do the shopping. You tell Wittlebee something about your child (boy or girl, size S or XS), what kinds of items you need, and what kinds of colors you're looking for. Armed with this information, the site provides you with a selection of quality new clothing from well-known brands and Wittlebee's own line of apparel.

Well, actually, Wittlebee itself doesn't select the clothes. Its team of "mom stylists" hand-pick a personalized box of clothing that is then sent to you. People living in different areas can request different types of clothing. A mom in Miami might ask for short-sleeved shirts; one in Minnesota might ask for winter wear. You can get a shipment every month, or once a quarter, if you wish; you can "pause" your membership as needed if you need to take a break. The idea is that you are able to keep up with new clothes in the sizes you need without the hassle of shopping for them yourself.

The other feature that sets Wittlebee apart is the way you buy. You don't just pay for individual items, put them in an electronic shopping cart, and go to checkout. Instead, you subscribe to the site for $39.99 per month, in order to receive eight items per month. That's the only way you can get clothes sent to you. It's not "e-commerce" so much as "s-commerce": subscription commerce.

Wittlebee has some experienced developers behind it. Its parent company, Fine Folks Inc., is led by CEO Sean Percival, founder of the news site lalawag and the ecommerce site Custom Euro. Fine Folks, in turn, is one of the first companies backed by technology studio Science, founded by Mike Jones, former CEO of MySpace. Fine Folks' other companies also address the needs of parents with young kids: Tic-Toc Tales hasn't gone "live" yet, but a landing page describes it as "a new way to share kids stories." Babydot, for its part, is described as a free membership club for parents looking to find deals on diapers, wipes, formula and more.

Percival cites the example of another site, TrunkClub, as another subscription ecommerce model, one that delivers clothes for men. When asked if he expects the subscription model to bring them more customers than a conventional online store, Percival responds, "Perhaps, but it's more so we can better forecast and predict our inventory needs." He adds that Wittlebee, even before its official launch, already had "a few hundred" pre-subscriptions.

About the author:

Greg Holden is EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor. He is a journalist and the author of many books, including "Starting an Online Business For Dummies," "Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools," and several books about eBay, including "How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business," second edition, and "Secrets of the eBay Millionaires," both published by Osborne-McGraw Hill. Find out more on Greg's website, which includes his blog, a list of his books, and his fiction and biographical writing.

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