Thursday, May 26, 2011

Online Sample Sales - Stiff Competition; Who Will Prevail?

Gilt started it all, but in the last few months the space has become increasingly crowded with sites hawking goods for limited periods of time. Gilt, Ruelala, Beyond the Rack, and newer incarnations -- eBay Fashion Vault, MyHabit (, Century 21, Prive, JackThreads, and likely several more I've never heard about.

I get daily emails from just about every one of those sites, and today my emails from MyHabit and Prive both announced they were selling merchandise from the brand 'Mackage' (a high-end outerwear company for those that have never heard of it). Prive happened to be selling more fall/winter oriented stuff, while MyHabit veered more towards lightweight merchandise appropriate for spring. But the point being -- in less than a few years of Gilt's existence, we're getting to the point where completely different websites are selling the same exact brand on the same day (this isn't the first time I've seen this; it's often happened w/Gilt and Ruelala, but this is a more unknown brand than what is usually shared, i.e. - Theory and John Varvatos).

How long can this hugely competitive marketplace remain? And will these concepts win out over traditional brick and mortar concepts like Daffy's, which, mind you, is only a regional retailer competing against these sites that have national clearance. Only time will tell, but I fear for those that are solely in the old ways of brick and mortar - will there be enough merchandise to go around to even fill up the stores?

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