The popularity of private-sales clubs continues to gather momentum in 2012. With consumers’ thirst for hot deals showing no signs of abating, flash-sales websites are seeing strong growth.
At private-sales club BrandAlley, for example, sales increased 60 percent to £28.9 million last year after it expanded its range to include spa deals and theatre tickets as well as apparel, accessories, beauty products and homewares. It acquired an additional 160,000 active customers during the year thanks to “constant innovation”, particularly with social media platforms, mobile commerce, and increasing its offering to consumers.
To further extend its reach, the France-based online retailer is bringing its Outlet offering to a wider UK audience. In contrast to the flash-sales concept, the Outlet is a “permanent” online model. A spokeswoman explains, “BrandAlley sales usually last only a day or two—or until they have sold out—but with Outlet there is constant stock available all the time”. The move will not change BrandAlley’s main sales strategy, which will continue to focus on flash sales, but “it is an added extra that customers have asked for,” she adds. Having trialled it successfully in France, the Outlet was soft-launched in the UK at the start of the year and results have been encouraging so far. A formal launch is expected soon.
Also spreading its wings is Achica, the two-year old private-sales club launched by Asos cofounder Quentin Griffiths. Announcing an impressive 650 percent rise in sales in 2011—reaching £14.7 million—Achica has bold plans to turn over £60 million by the end of the year. To achieve this, Achica is opening up overseas. It launched in France in February and Spain in March this year and expects to open in two new countries by the end of 2012.
In more secret-sales news, April saw the launch of two new flash-sales websites targeting mothers. US-based Zulily officially launched in the UK on 4th April with Kristine Kirby, formerly ecommerce and multichannel marketing director of Monsoon Accessorize at its helm. On its heels on 18th April was new entrant Casabu, a London-based outfit. Casabu partnered with myfamilyclub.co.uk, a website specialising in money-saving ideas for families, to promote the launch.
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