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Flash Sale Sites Still Glowing

Revolutionary e-tailers shake up their formats to capture more sales

A 20-by-20A 20-by-20 Kyllini pillow was for sale in May on One King’s Lane.
NEW YORK - They're no flash in the pan.
     In fact, while the buzz about these fast online marketplaces may be somewhat quieter now, flash sale sites are clearly here to stay. But they are not standing still. Many of main players in the flash sale site category have unveiled major changes to their formats - adding specialty niches in home furnishings that include high-end home textiles, offering longer sale periods or teaming up with a bigger, more established retailer.
     Like any merchant, sites such as OneKingsLane, HauteLook, Gilt, the Foundary, Rue La La and others are looking to grab a bigger piece of the retail pie, according to Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research and the author of last year's report, "The Myths and Truths About Daily Deals." In her report, she describes daily deals as "[p]erhaps the most hyped retail business model of the past decade."
     To Mulpuru, the fact that several sites are offering sales that now extend from four to five days or even much longer - seemingly the antithesis of the original "flash" model - "is more about growing sales than anything else. These sites did a healthy business when the sales were shorter; they're just trying to squeeze more out of what they have, likely because the supply of inventory that's good is finite and limited, yet they still have aggressive growth goals to meet," she told HTT.
     Traffic is still very strong at these sites, reports Matt Tatham, media relations representative for Experian Hitwise, which tracks online consumer behavior. Total visits to these sites have increased 19% year-over-year.
     At home furnishings flash sale site One Kings Lane, traffic for April 2012 was made up of 75% of returning visitors within the last 30 days. That

 

 

 

 

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