Riddle me this: Is it ever OK to try not to duplicate a smashing sartorial success? Answer: Yes, when it's clear the ploy won't play to a certain market. In this case, Gilt Groupe is going to launch a full-fledged men's wear site in 2011 without the flash sale component.
The 36-hour-only deeply discounted sales have made Gilt an addiction for many a bargain-hunting fashionista. In addition to high-end designer threads, the label-hungry could also snap up a growing array of accessories and lifestyle products for women, men and children, home entertaining and decor, along with luxury travel packages, local services, and experiences.
Yet what made the flash sales so thrilling for female shopaholics well-versed in jockeying for position and goods at sample sales and on eBay would leave the majority of male customers cold. Can you see a dude skipping lunch (most Gilt sales start at noon) in favor of clicking-to-buy the latest Dolce & Gabbana watch? Not really.
Gilt knows this. It's already built a handsome business (think $100 million) in discounted men's clothing and accessories on the shoulders of flash sales. But in order to really flex the buying muscle of its 400,000 male customers Gilt is going to offer them a specially selected full-price assortment.
The site is yet unnamed but according to John Auerbach, current general manager of Gilt MAN (and soon-to-be president of the new e-commerce venture) it sounds like it will attempt to be the virtual version of an old school salesman who really knows his stuff. Gilt's curated, seasonal offerings will show the gents exactly what's current, covetable, and most important, looks cool.
The team behind this enterprise has a wealth of fashion cred, too. Gilt tapped the talents of execs from Rue La La (another flash sale site), Men.Style.com, and Zappos.
Message to those guys who get hives at the thought of wandering through a department store or worse, the mall, in search of trousers or shoes: your shopping prince is coming.
Image via gilt.com