There was a very interesting article recently in New York magazine on the flourishing empire of Gilt Groupe and its countless imitators (Rue La La, Ideeli). The members-only site (though anyone can become a member), Gilt hosts online designer sales for 36 hours.
But what many people don’t know is that, like an outlet store, a number of times garments and accessories are made specifically for Gilt and have never actually sold in a traditional retail setting. The website has captivated women around the U.S. and I know very few female friends who aren’t locked to their computer at noon when the sample sale-style sales begin. Ironically, eBay – which one of the Gilt founders helped found – is now getting in on the flash sale game.
In March, the online giant is launching “the fashion vault” a new platform that will host flash designer sales (Hugo Boss, DKNY, Max Mara, and Cole Haan Outerwear were tested last year). Initially, the flash sales will be weekly, but will quickly increase over subsequent months. In addition, it’s been reported that the auction site created a virtual outlet mall for their U.S. customers in partnership with brands like Lord & Taylor and Brooks Brothers (eBay already operates outlet sites in Europe).
Additional features, such as being able to search for fashion items by style, brand, and price will be launched in April. Hopes are that, in the same vein as the eBay and Norma Kamali and eBay and Narciso Rodriguez partnerships, there will be more designer capsule collections to come.