ADVERTISEMENT Shifts From Flash Sales Model To Online Mall

Online fashion site has shifted its model to become a traditional e-commerce shopping mall. It is no longer a private 'online club' that required an invitation to access, nor does it offer flash sales.

Flash sales sites offer a high discount (between 60-90 per cent) sale on designer products such as fashion apparels, accessories and home décor products. These sales last short periods, around a few hours.'s departure from flash sales model means its users need no longer wait for the time-bound flash sales and can browse and buy from the site throughout the day. Discounts are no longer displayed prominently. This shift in model comes at a time when the online flash sales market is overcrowded and ready for consolidation.

The flash sales model was first launched by Vente-Privee and made popular across the globe by the Gilt Group. However, the business model has since suffered from various challenges such as unsold inventory, shipping issues, sluggish sales and poor customer care.

Why was set up in June 2010 to sell Indian fashion, jewellery, handbags, crafts, paintings, designer ware and wedding attire to the Indian diaspora in the US and raised $16 million from Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Helion Ventures in May this year.

Like BagitToday, 99Labels, Brandmile, Theprivatesales, Naaptol Club, Fashionandyou and a host of other Indian 'flash sales' sites, was invitation-only, and restricted the number of members who could access the site, hence making it 'exclusive'. What made it forego the model and become another online mall?'s CEO Sunjay Guleria, answered, "We saw the future of sales shifting on our site from a members-only to an open site due to an overwhelming demand for our products that short-lived flash sales could not meet. We felt the best way to service that demand was to move away from a consignment model in order to provide fully curated collections with a much broader selection and a full range of sizing to a wider consumer base."

Relaunched Site

The company relaunched its website on October 5 with a flurry of changes that are not just superficial. It has opted for a minimalistic look with a lighter background and smaller photos. It has also added new features on its re-jigged site, such as a wish list for consumers and profiles of various designers on its site, with a brief description of their work. The page allows users to 'follow' the designer of their liking. Sections for travel and weddings that were launched recently are no longer featured on the new site.

The website continues to expand to more countries. It has forayed into UK and is now reaching out to Canada, Australia, South Africa, Middle East and India. will cater to 15 markets including India by December 2011, Guleria had told earlier.

Now the site will compete against other fashion retail sites such as and, who re-branded from niches to online fashion malls. Macy's Inc, a global retailer, recently extended its e-commerce services to reach India with two sites - and India has also seen rising interest from local fashion retailers such as Globus and Bombay Stores in e-commerce. They have invested in e-commerce sites to woo the online crowds.

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