Is Anyone Out There Still Shopping On Flash Sale Sites?

embedPhoto: Via Gilt.
Remember when you set your alarm according to flash-sale sites? While rumors swirl that Gilt Groupe may be gearing up for its initial public offering, WWD reports that insiders are questioning whether the flash-sale model is viable over the long term.
First introduced in Europe, and popularized in the U.S. by Gilt, Ideeli, HauteLook, and Rue La La, flash-sale sites are members-only and offer limited-time discounts on designer goods. They struck at the perfect time: following the 2008 economic downturn, when retailers needed to move excess stock, and shoppers sought bargains like never before. The business model was such a success, major department stores got into the game, too, with Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue hosting their own flash sales.
But, these days, we've noticed the pickings on sale sites are a little...slim. The reason for that is threefold. First, the economy is on an uptick, especially in the higher tax brackets. This means that luxury shoppers are more likely to buy current-season offerings at full price, rather than waiting for a bargain. Brands have also learned to better manage their stock, so there isn't as much excess inventory to go around. And, finally: simple market saturation. With so many sale sites crowding the e-comm landscape, chances are they're not all going to have the most covetable goods. Which explains why the last few times we opened our subscription e-mails, we saw a lot more "meh" than "must have."
On the other hand, some analysts say that sale sites have gotten shoppers addicted to both higher-end shopping and bargains — so they won't be going away any time soon. This writer seconds that emotion. I haven't flash-shopped for a while, but that's because (unlike when I first subscribed), I live in a major city and can get my fix via sample sales and end-of-season department store clearances. I certainly haven't grown immune to a deep discount.
What say you, readers? Do you still stalk Stella boots on flash sites, and look forward to your daily deal e-mails? Or has the sheen worn off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. And, if you have any next-level sale sites to share with us, we're definitely listening. Even if they're no longer the darling of the e-comm world, we can't say no to a good bargain. (WWD)


Like this post? There's more. Get tons of style secrets, insider shopping dish, fashion news, and more on the Refinery29 Fashion Facebook page!

More from Stores

The term "lady" certainly feels pretty antiquated. But in H&M's latest campaign commercial, the dated word gets a cool, thoroughly modern ...
J.Crew doesn't have the over-the-top quality of some other shows (or, as fashion critic Vanessa Friedman recently called them, "hashtag hoo-has") such as ...
Here’s a sentence my teenage self never thought she’d write: Lane Bryant is seriously killing the plus game. Besides an overall aesthetic shift from “stuff...
Lane Bryant's latest campaign is evidently not suitable for national network TV audiences: Its 30-second spot was banned by ABC and NBC. Featuring plus-...
If you had any lingering doubt that fashion is all about nostalgia, just take a look at Opening Ceremony's new arrivals: Humberto Leon and Carol Lim keep ...
We should probably employ a "believe it or not" clause around all of the epic tales we heard while on our exclusive tour of Cartier's newly renovated ...
When I saw Ashley Nell Tipton on Project Runway, I knew that a sea change had just occurred. It was thrilling to watch her tackle challenge after challenge...
After last month's productive spring-cleaning binge, we imagine your closet's looking a little sparse these days. With all of that freed-up space, the ...
H&M is on a quest for ambitious, innovative green ideas that could change the fashion biz. The Swedish retailer's non-profit arm, H&M Foundation...
Another day, another independent artist calling out fast fashion for ripping off work. Let's get right to it: Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed, who is known ...
If you've been a fan of R29's for years, you'll know we have a soft spot in our hearts for J.Crew. Its new arrivals always seem to address exactly what our...
A new book, set to be released in Sweden next week, asserts that the factories in Myanmar under contract with H&M hired employees as young as 14 and ...
Update: H&M just released a second look at its upcoming collaboration with Kenzo — one that teases a very different direction for a fast-fashion ...
Just a few weeks after people rallied behind artist Tuesday Bassen following allegations that Zara copied her original illustrations on numerous ...