The growing market of super-short deals got another boost in late August when Gilt.com, purveyor of fashion odds and ends, announced that it would be offering personalized flash sales for mobile users.
Flash sales offer mobile shopping a profit boost because of their handy immediacy. If customers do not check up on the deal immediately, it might be gone 10 minutes later, a scenario that favors impulse buys and is ideal for the type of fashion and décor products that Gilt.com specializes in.
Now, when members log in with their iPhone or iPad for mobile shopping, they will see a “Personal Sale” section that shows real product sales, designed just for them, thanks to the recently implemented Gilt algorithm. You can see several snapshots of the process over at Mobile Commercial Daily, but they look much like you would imagine, with simple phone-friendly pictures of fashion products and the price markdowns. The formula examines past sales and browsing history to create sales that make products more tempting for customers. Gilt also mentions that it factors in the current season.
Gilt’s personalized flash sales will last a full 24 hours, a little on the long side for a flash sale but plenty of time for a customer to note the sale during a lunch break, think about it, and purchase it once they get back home. It also gives customers a reason to check into the mobile site at least once every day to see the new mix.
These customized flash sales have been tried before, notably by the Gilt competitor Fab.com, which stopped the program back in July. Fab decided that customers would prefer to “follow” certain products themselves instead of receiving automated sales, a move toward customer empowerment that also made that shop more like a social experience. Of course, Fab now misses out on the innate attraction of personal flash sales, too, but the Follow model appeared more practical with Fab’s larger array of food, art, décor, jewelry, and clothes.
Gilt’s smaller product line could help give its personal flash sales the boost they need to succeed where Fab’s project did not. Both programs, however, are notable for their focus on the mobile shopping experience. They are designed to keep customers coming back to the store, just like they would check Facebook or pulling up local news in down times. This type of commitment to the mobile model shows a promising trend in the mid-sized m-commerce sector, and could provide much-needed inspiration for the major players too.
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