subscription-img_02152013As a busy working mom, the idea of subscription services that sends cute clothes to my house every month is really compelling – talk about a personalized customer experience!  I tend to buy the same brands.  My size and shape are relatively stable (and hopefully will remain so).  And, although I love to look fashionable, I have little time to shop.

The recent article in Tech Crunch about Bombfell caught my attention.

Bombfell’s recent success raising a $730K seed round of financing indicates that there is clearly a market for this type of service.  However, my experience with a subscription shoe service in the past was less than ideal.  Perhaps the brand and I were not the right fit, but I found that even after I filled out the survey and provided a fair amount of personal information, the selections they provided me fell short.  The problem was that they missed the contextual clues that mark me as a mid-to high end price shopper, not a low price, fast trend shopper.

Maybe I quit the service too early and had I made a few more purchases and returns — the machine learning system and associated segmentation or profile data would have started making better selections for me. However, consumers like me are impatient and have high expectations.  I didn’t want to keep sending things back.  I wanted them to just get it right.

I am not sure what the solution is, but as retailers continue to mine their customer data for clues and information about individuals and segments, they will continue to get better at really personalizing the experience for each shopper.  At least I hope so because I don’t have time to shop and I would love an automated personal sales person that really gets me.