Recently, online sample sales (originally available in a few cosmopolitan cities such as New York, LA and London) have made their way into the virtual world.It is a great concept, since putting Sample Sales online, makes them accessible not just to the select few who live in these cosmopolitan areas, but to various geographical areas (assuming you have online access and an “insider invite”).
The whole concept not only closely mimics the original Brick and Mortar sample sale experience, but also ups it a notch(see “The Positives” section below).Similar to the original sample sales, virtual sales run for a limited time periods from 12 to 36 hours.
Below is the following:
·List of the companies that offer online sample sales.
·Examples of the brands offered
·The positives of virtual sample sale shopping
·The things to be aware of
·“Nifty Features” summary
·Details on how to get an invite to 5 private sales
Online Sample Sale Companies:
1) – great selection,numerous sales, wide range of luxury brands (black label, white label, upscale jewelry and watch selection), user friendly design and technology features, responsive customer support.Highly recommended.
2)HauteLook – good selection, numerous sales, brands mostly consist of mainstream brands, user friendly design and positive shopping experience. Highly recommended.
3)Editorscloset – the selection seems to be mostly centered around upscale accessories, such as watches, pens and umbrellas.
4) – features apparel,accessories, and household items.
5) – mostly featuresaccessories at this point: handbags, sun glasses, and jewerly.
6)Beyond The Rack– apparel, accessories, and jewelry
1)Price (First and foremost) -The discounts run up to 70% off.(Nought said)
2)No lines – no more dragging yourself out of bed in the wee hours, and standing in line, instead you can shop from the convenience of your home ( office, starbucks or any location that has online access).
3)No crowd fighting – The available styles and sizes selection are clearly visible.
4)Numerous Sales– Each of the online sample sales providers offer weeklysales, sometimes up to4 sales per week:1 designer is presented per sale.Frequently multiple sales are running simultaneously.
5) Hot designers/brands – Many prominent designers and hot brands are featured.The range varies from white labels and luxury lines, such as: Dolce Gabbanna,Marc Jacobs and Rachel Roy to black labels and more mainstream brands, such as: D&G, Marc by MarcJacobs, Diane Von Furstengberg,Tahari, and Rachel Pally.
6)Great Quality and Selection – Brand new, first quality items purchased directly from the designers.
Well rounded selection; each of the company has buyers working with the designers to select specific items to feature in the sales.According to Fortune magazine (which featuredan article about Gilt Groupe (in Dec. 2008 issue )Gilt has Saks and Nordstrom veteran buyers selecting the merchandise.
Frequently, the items available via these sales have not been sold to the mainstream stores, (some items may have had a limited release that may not have been picked up by large retailers).Additionally, many of the brands sold via virtual private sales, are never offered at sales prices elsewhere in order to preserve the brand’s equity.
7) Great product variety – While initially most of the online sample sales were limited towomen’s appareland accessories(handbags, footwear, jewelry, lingerie), they now expanded into men’s and kids clothing.
8)Returns – are accepted, within a specified time periods, varies based on company. (Ideeli does not accept returns).
9)No tax – as with most online shopping ( unless you live in the state where the company you are ordering from is based.)
·Gilt – based in NY
·Haute Look – based in CA
·Editor’s closet – based NY
·Rue La La – offices in Massachusetts, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Colorado.
·Ideeli – based NY
Things to be aware of:
1)Timing is everything – You must be online at the exact time the sale starts in order to get the most popular styles and to have the most availability.Same as the brick and mortar sales, the good stuff goes fast.
Most of these sales start at either 8:00AM or 9:00AM PST( 11:00AM or 12:00AM EST).
2)Think fast – You must make purchasing decisions quickly.Each site has specific allotted time before the items in your shopping cart get released for grabs. (The time varies for different sites;10 minutes for Gilt). If check out is not complete within the allotted time, say good bye to your picked goods.
3)Shipping isn’t combined – when shopping from two different designer’s sales from the same site, shipping cannot be combined.You must check out first from one designer’s sale, then shop the next designer. ( Haute Look)
Here are some of the features specifically created to improve virtual sample sale shopping experience.
1)Email Notification Upon Item’s Release – Shopper’s are notified via email when the item they’ve indicated interest in, but was in someone else’s shopping cart, is released. (although the downside is that you have to keep checking your email, since the item becomes available to everyone else on site). You may be better off refreshing the sale page in your browser to see when the item becomes available and adding it to your cart immediately.
2)Wait List – my guess is this is more for tracking demand purposes then an actual delivery.I am guessing it gives a sample sale a good idea weather it makes sense to get more stock of the items.
3)Final Sales Shower – sometimes additional sales are offered on items from various designers that haven’t sold during the initial sample sale.The prices are great, but the selection isn’t – as mentioned earlier, the “good” stuff is always gone within the first few minutes of the initial sales.
In summary, private online designer sales are worthwhile (thumbs up for Gilt Groupe and Haute Look), especially if you know how to work the system.
Food for thought: Would love to hear your opinions on whether this would change the way you shop? Will this devalue designer’s brand in your opinion? Would the knowledge that the item can be purchased online at a discount prevent you from purchasing a designer piece at the store at full price? Will you take a chance and wait to purchase at the online sale sample sales or flash sales?
See today’s best sample sales here.