Data, data, data — it’s the single most important thing a start-up can focus on right now, and Gilt Groupe, the flash sale leader that has yet to turn a profit after 7 years in business, is planning to turn things around with a data-focused, personalized customer approach.
The flash sale model has lost some of its luster, but rather than do away with it, à la much of its competition, Gilt is going to turn the sales on their heads by making them more personally applicable. Fab.com made headlines for quitting flash sales in favor of having customers follow the product categories they care about, then alerting them when only those items are on sale or new in stock. Works well for home decor! Gilt is largely centered around apparel, however, and plans to tailor its sales to individual customers according to their sizes, browsing history, and brand and category preferences.
How are they going to get this information? Digital data collection. Most of these changes have been wrought under Gilt’s new CEO, Michelle Peluso, who replaced founder Kevin Ryan (he remains on the board of the company). Besides initiating a highly tailored, data driven approach to offering its audience something new, Peluso is getting employees re-invigorated about the timed sales events model by opening up internal statistics for their review. The idea is to share what’s working, so the team behind the business can actually get excited about what they’re offering, in advance of the company’s eventual IPO.