High end items at a steal are every shopper’s dream. Lucky for them, the flash sale industry and pop up sales are growing at a rapid pace. According to a source from BIA/Kelsey, the flash industry will rise to $6 billion in 2015. That is an approximate 80% increase since 2010.
With the economic downturn in 2007, brands were looking to sell their products in large quantities, while others were looking to make a name for themselves. With the appearance of deal sites like Rue La La and Zulilly, a new way to shop was opened up to the world. Creating the sense of urgency with low inventory numbers or limited time available at a low price, flash sale sites offer customers high end products at a high percentage off.
Flash sales are best utilized for small companies, eliminating startup costs for brick and mortar stores, and cutting marketing costs. With their own independent flash sale sites, the small businesses are not lumped with lower end brands, and can fully attract the high-end market. They are able to avoid the discount store they so greatly tried to stay away from, while creating brand exclusivity to a captive audience. Furthermore, customers are being pushed to browse other products the brand has to offer, listed at full price. Loyal flash sale customers are being made out of the fashion forward bargain hunters comprised mainly of the late 20s or working women.
Although flash sale sites are mainly about the bargains, the major problem these sites are running into is the supply of inventory. With the deals being geared toward different categories such as “A day at the beach” or “An evening out”, it can be hard to pull enough accessories together at such a deal price with the appropriate inventory levels. To combat these problems, flash sale sites are shifting toward more content based sale sites to accompany the bargains. CEO Steve Davis of Rue La La spoke about how his site is becoming more of a destination, offering fashion advice along with offering new brands every day. According to Sherman from BOF, the Gilt Groupe is also seen moving in this direction, hiring publishers Tracey Lomrantz Lester and Tyler Thoreson to move their site to a more content based location. Other sites are focusing on keeping customer engaged, offering products and content that are specific to individual users, as well as increasing their mobile functionality to reach a broader market.
It is no mystery that flash sales are on the rise, but it is up to the sites to keep their customers interested and engaged.