Gilt.com relaunches today with a new look and a tweak to its business model.
Hudson’s Bay Co., No. 75 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500 Guide, acquired flash-sale, web-only retailer Gilt Group for $250 million in cash in January 2016, and it’s taken 18 months for the Canadian-based chain to relaunch the site. Hudson’s Bay Company, however anticipated the year and a half redesign, Jonathan Greller, president of Gilt and Saks Off 5th, tells Internet Retailer.
“We could have tried to do everything all at one time if we wanted, but we wanted to make sure we engaged our customers to be successful,” he says. “We’re trying to be smart about this. We’re in no rush. We’re going to continue to enhance and build the brand.”
Gilt emailed online surveys to “a large number” of customers it its database to gather their feedback, and the e-retailer made many of the changes to Gilt.com based on those responses, Greller says.
Gilt, which is in its 10th year of operation, is shifting away from its 100% flash-sale model but has not axed it completely. Instead of having 40 flash sales per category launch per day, such as 40 flash sales on shoes and 40 in the children’s department, the retailer is paring down those events to six flash sales per business unit. Plus, if a product does not sell out during the flash sale period, Gilt will continue to sell it after the flash sale ends at a heavy discount.
Shoppers, however, will still have a sense of urgency to buy the product right away because there is a limited quantity, Greller says.
“This is a flash forward,” Greller says. “We still have flash sales to pay homage to the origins of Gilt, but we have to move forward. Customers are telling us the expectations are much greater.”
When a consumer visits Gilt.com, instead of seeing a scrolling list of current sales, she will see a few sales, personalized to her based on per previous purchases and search behavior, and then editorial content and shopping recommendations.
Gilt added categories in its main navigation bar to make it easier for shoppers to find products. For example, shoppers can find “sunglasses” on the main navigation bar instead of first having to click on “accessories” and then “sunglasses.”
Gilt also added filter options, such as by sleeve length. This will make it easier for shoppers to find older looks that previously were part of a flash sale, he says.
Gilt also will sell some full-price products. The retailer says it also plans to improve the integration of its “Gilt City” and “Gilt Travel” products, which are vouchers for local services, such as a spa appointment. For example, if a woman is shopping for yoga pants on Gilt, the site will recommend that she try a nearby yoga class. Previously, consumers could only find these experiences in the “Gilt City” tab.
All of these changes will “absolutely improve the bottom line,” he says, without revealing specifics.
“Gilt has been successful, and it will be even more successful as we are giving customers exclusive access to products and what they are asking for,” Greller says.
He also emphasized that Gilt has more innovations ahead. The retailer is working on merging its Saks Off 5th inventory onto Gilt.com this fall, and by spring 2018 some Gilt inventory will be available on Saks Off 5th. Gilt.com will continue to carry exclusive products, and Saks Off 5th will not carry Gilt City and Gilt Travel products.
The redesigned Gilt.com is now available on it desktop and mobile web, and changes to the app will be made this fall, he says.