Like Warby Parker and AYR before it, flash sale site Gilt is the latest e-commerce start-up bringing its customers some real-world action in the form of a shoppable showroom, conveniently (and rather economically) located in its Manhattan headquarters.
Formerly a gray, dark meeting space, the showroom now reads as a tasteful living room, one further spruced up with reduced-price ready-to-wear and vintage apparel, jewelry, handbags and a small assortment of home goods. After piloting the showroom concept in April, Gilt hired a dedicated personal shopper for its upcoming launch in September who is charged with refreshing the inventory on a monthly basis. Titled "Gilt by Appointment," the initiative operates, logically, on an appointment basis; when registering online, a visitor can note what she's interested in looking at specifically to better tailor the experience.
The decision to create an in-office showroom rather than a stand-alone store resulted from a desire to work within the company's existing business model. As a flash sale site, Gilt buys product in relatively small quantities; without changing that, it just doesn't have enough inventory to accommodate a traditional shop, Senior Director of Marketing Cynthia Kleinbaum said on a phone call.
Of course, redecorating an underused room is also a relatively inexpensive way to offer customers a plushy new service, much more so than opening a full-on store. Gilt got off to a buzzy start, but it's been reported to have lost momentum in recent years, so making an effort to engender shoppers' loyalty isn't a bad thing.
Gilt by Appointment will officially open on Sept. 8, with pre-registration beginning on Sept. 1. So as with any of the site's flash sales, get it while it's hot.