Gilt Groupe may be sweeping the members-only sale market, but the competition isn’t giving up without a fight. In fact, similarly structured flash-sale fashion sites are beefing up their infrastructure and looking to intrude on the vast and extremely lucrative territory Gilt Groupe has dominated this past year. Haute Look, for one, has just announced a 31 million-dollar expansion (courtesy of investments from Insight Venture Partners). “Gilt Groupe has been the reigning outlet of choice for the high-fashion crowd (think partnerships with Vogue), but now HauteLook (think partnerships with People’s StyleWatch) has just received the kind of funding that can make it a major player in the world of internet sale sites,” says Daily Front Row. So, what’s next? For starters, Haute Look will be offering deals on gourmet food and wine as well as “services and experiences” (read: spa trips, wine tastings, etc.). They’re also throwing a lot of energy into revamping their men’s section, which includes hiring “Tim Davis, who spent 17 years at Neiman Marcus.”
Speaking of key hires, Ideeli.com, a major Gilt Groupe competitor, has also put quite a bit of funding and focus into assembling a more impressive masthead. Ideeli.com, which just hit its 3-year-anniversary, landed several recent hires whose collective resume includes stints holding “senior-level posts at Urban Outfitters Inc., ASmallWorld.net, and Overstock.com,” says Women’s Wear Daily. Beginning Saturday, the site will implement aesthetic changes too, like incorporating Polaroids into its images alongside with more glossy, mag-appropriate shots. “Of the leading four members-only shopping sites, a group that also includes HauteLook, Rue La La and Gilt Groupe, Ideeli saw the highest rate of growth in unique visitors, according to Comscore data” for this past year, adds WWD. Meaning, the battle of the flash sale sites is far from over.