Members Only Bargains

August 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm Leave a comment

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When you think of bargain hunting nothing nice comes to mind. You usually associate with crowded racks, pushy women, long lines for the dressing room and an overall unpleasant shopping experience. And there’s always the risk that wehn you find that perfect top/dress/pants/skirts it has a stain/ snag/tear. In my head it’s a little different.

For a while, I’ve been fascinated by the recent rise in members-only shopping web pages. I love going on RueLaLa, Gilt Group and Hautelook to check what the sales are for each day.   They’ve managed to turn crowded and unglamorous sales racks into fabulous exclusive online boutiques. They have sales that last one to two days with prices that are usually 40-70% off.  I have to admit that I quickly became addicted to checking what was on  each day and what fabulous finds I would save money on.  I love everything about the shopping experience. I like feeling I save money, the idea that I’m part of a secret club, the amazing selection of brands, the quick shopping and getting the gorgeously wrapped package with the personalized notes. I’m the ideal customer.

As an advertising student I’m amazed at how the marketing aspect of these webpages work. They opened a nische market in a seemingly overcrwoded internet. They found a way to tap into the demographic of big spenders, and those who want to be big spenders, by  packaging a sales rack in a much more alluring shopping experience. To get customers they rely on word of mouth and since women love secrets, especially shopping secrets, this method has been a hit. That, along with a $10 credit incentive has women sharing memberships with all their friends and taking the advertising aspect away from the online sotre’s hands. According to a Wall Street Journal, 

The private-sale business avoids two common pitfalls of online commerce: low margins due to inventory costs and spending on online ads. Marketing centers on email blasts to members. And by carrying only a few dozen styles, often out of season, the sites are able to keep a lid on inventory spending.

They not only manage to save themselves money, but also their clients. The time limit also ads pressure for the consumer and they think less about buying things. I’ve been about to buy things that have sold out and because of that (and to their benefit) I’ve learned to act quickly when I do want something. They don’t skimp on the shopping experience though. The web-pages are extremely user friendly and make sure that the shopping experience is special up to the point where you get your package. You get your quality goods in a gift box with a letter and  in some cases other perks. RueLaLa has RueLaLa business cards which you can use to give to your friends and invite them to join the site. It sure beats shopping at Marshall’s or TJMax’s crowded racks to try to find some fancy bargains.

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I might be a bit biased since I love bargains and I love shopping, but there’s definitely a future for these pages. There’s a reason why there’s so many popping up. Brands, clients and investors love them. I’m not the only one.

If you’re interested in some bargains, here’s a link for a membership to Rue La La (by far, my favorite)

http://www.ruelala.com/invite/didisworld

Entry filed under: fashion things, things i love. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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