Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flash sale sites are becoming regular e-commerce players (and the reverse)

Yesterday I was surfing on Gilt and Onekingslane plowing through hundreds and hundreds of difference products on these so called "Flash sale" sites; On One Kings Lane alone, there were 50 different sales going on simultaneously - at an estimated 100 products per sale (with some duplication) that's up to 5,000 SKUs being offered at one time. That doesn't sound like flash sale to me anymore - that's just a regular e-commerce site with a different (membership) twist. Simultaneously, Overstock, Amazon et al are offering sales/ discounts at al times and often, I find a so called "flash sale" product for the same price elsewhere. Couple of learnings from this for customers and Marketers:

- all e-commerce offerings converge rapidly: flash sales increase SKUs and bet on curation (Fab, One Kings, Gilt, Jetsetter, The Foundary, Joss and Main etc.); in the meantime, "traditional" e-commerce players like Amazon, Overstock etc. bet on massive # of SKUs but targeted (collaborative filtering and social-graph-based) recommendations; the end result is total convergence - seen at amazon with for example

- as flash sale sites become e-commerce sites - they desparately need to add a staple functionality of e-commerce sites: search. They have become too unwieldy and search is great for finding stuff!

- for the customer's sake - let's hope that flash sale catalogs become longer-lived so they can be indexed and searched through etc; that way the consumer will have an easier time actually getting the best deal. 

And now let's all go back and hope for the next magical discount to come up!


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