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The flash sale is re-defining retail

July 13, 2010

The likes of the Gilt Group seem to have shaken up the retail space and brought something different to the marketplace. There seems no shortage of funding and deals with one of the latest being Amazon’s rumored $3 billion purchase of the French company, Vente- Privee.

Flash sales sites seem to have what it takes to get recession weary shoppers to open their wallets and part with their cash. This is all about the “deal” and the genius of the sites is to make it easy for consumers to get access to exclusive products and knock down prices. The model works because of the limited-time nature of these offers and the understanding among shoppers that quantity is limited.

Gilt Group seems like an apt name, given that they are really in the business of making luxury shopping a “guilt-free” experience. There are no bags to be seen with, no hard to find sample sales to locate and the massive discounts on well-respected brands can clearly be identified and seen.

in today’s retail environment, promotion is the name of the game and retailers aren’t getting traffic into the stores with out it. There has to be a major reason for consumers to go into the store in the first place. They’ve become highly strategic and are masters of sniffing out great deals.

The power of the flash sale is that is forces consumers to make decisions and to buy. The interesting part, one that’s currently under-developed, is the gaming aspect. There’s a certain competitiveness that’s part of the attraction- people don’t want to miss out and there are several ways this might manifest itself.

We are certainly at the early stages of the development of the flash sale category,I expect we will soon see these tactics deployed by a host of retailers with their online stores, in addition to the emergence of a whole of host of new players beyond Gilt Group.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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