This morning, as I was updating my Facebook status, an ad appeared for another one of those Flash Sale sites..
For those of you who don’t know what that is, a flash sale site is a website that offers special deals on designer clothing, home furnishings, travel packages, etc. for limited time periods. Many of the flash sale sites are for members only, while all you need is an email addy and password for others. Sales can last from several days to several hours. With some sites you can earn points towards purchases for signing up friends. Examples of flash sale sites that I belong to are ideeli, Gilt Group, and Haute Look.
Not that I’ve ever made a purchase on any of them. I find that for me, a dedicated frugalista, these sites function as look books, where I make mental notes on designers, cuts, colors and fabrics–which then makes it easier to find that unique, on-trend look when I hit some of my favorite shops.
I guess, too, the other thing I don’t like about flash sale sites is that it’s difficult for me to buy something as, say, a $270 Hugo Boss dress, because I would like to try it on first. As an Average Woman, my size ranges anywhere from a 12 on a good day, to a 16 on a badly cut designer day (if I can find a 16, that is.) Not knowing the cut of a particular designer’s clothing or shoes, nor how the dress will look, causes me to hesitate before making a costly, disappointing, online ordering mistake.
All I can think of is the *great* Michael Kors dress I found in Macy’s, on sale, that looked fantastic on the mannequin, and utterly dreadful on me. Not to mention that Kors’ extra-large was (happily, though) too large for me. Could you have imagined how I would have felt if I’d ordered it online? I would have had to stare at my disappointment for several days (or in my case, several months) before I returned it. And then the hassle of waiting for the credit to appear back on my account…ugh!
I guess if you know the way a particular designer’s clothes fit, or if you’re ridiculously model thin, the whole return thing isn’t a big concern….
The bigger question though, is do we need another flash sale site? Maybe the folks who set it up think so, but the flash sale strategy is usually aimed at young female consumers with an unquenchable thirst for FASHION.
I’m not sure how long, nor how many sites, a strategy like that can support.
As usual, it will be interesting to see what happens to all these flash sale sites in a few years. For now, I’m suffering from flash sale site overload.