Here’s a new spin on flash sale sites — they actually offer a significant marketing component to the brands they sell.
Conventional wisdom says that sites like Gilt are good for unloading your overstock — but not for creating a new, and repeat, customer base. Turns out that having Gilt host your line may help boost its visibility — and more importantly, bring in new loyal customers.
The New York Times notes that the focus for the brand-flash sale relationship has shifted from a way to get rid of old inventory to a way to expand your brand. From increasing traffic (Amazon’s flash sale site, Myhabit, includes testimonials to the brands they carry and links to their sites) to acting as a venue for unveiling new products (Volkswagen introduced a new Jetta by offering three of them on Gilt), flash-sale sites are proving over and over that they can seriously move product.
The best piece of news, though, is that even among this vast sea of daily discounts, some retailers are still seeing more full-priced sales (there’ve been grumblings that flash sales could lead people to never want to pay full price for anything, ever again). Upscale candlemaker Saint Parfum watched their site traffic increase dramatically after they did a sale with housewares flash-sale site One King’s Lane — traffic on Saint Parfum’s site went from 250 hits a day to around 6,000. All those extra visitors meant more full-price sales, at least temporarily. And who can measure the exact value of that increased brand awareness?
While we wouldn’t jump to re-christen flash sale sites as complete e-marketers, it’s certainly worth considering that they have real potential. And if all those newly-acquired eyeballs are converting into real profits for the brands, then flash sales are offering a valuable service.