Flash Sales Industry Evolves into Lifestyle Curation

The flash sales industry was founded on the brick-and-mortar sample sale model: Excess inventory sold at deep discounts, now applied online.  Gilt Groupe, Ideeli and Rue La La emerged as major forces in the burgeoning marketplace, but as the industry matured and a slew of competitors surfaced, a shift took place.  While flash sales retailers still emphasize discounts, they’ve grown beyond just peddling reduced wares, evolving into lifestyle curators.

Stephanie Rosenbloom, staff reporter for The New York Times, reinforced the need for evolution in her article last week in which she discusses increased competition within flash sales.

“Over the last five years, the flash sales industry has had average revenue growth of almost 50 percent a year, according to the research firm IBISWorld, which expects the number of flash sale sites to reach about 150 by 2017, up from about 90 today,” Rosenbloom reported.

According to The New York Times article, flash retailers and e-commerce boutiques have begun answering the call, curating content and focusing on delivering a particular consumer experience.  

That experience is not limited to purchasing.  It’s everything from content delivery to style guides and even includes the last, but most important leg: the out-of-box experience. 

Companies like Mercedes Distribution Center, which specializes in flash sales order fulfillment, provide consumers with a bespoke packaging experience that represents the lifestyle milieu to which they aspire.  Flash sales is no longer just about retail; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle experience.