The latest development in online shopping is member-only websites selling designer products at large discounts. These member-only shopping sites, such as Gilt.com and Hautelook.com, notify their members of the online sales on a per-designer basis, but there’s a catch: each online sale only lasts for a limited time before “closing.”
These member-only sites work largely on the basis of generating urgency and feelings of exclusivity, and certain products sell out quite quickly. Unfortunately, sites such as HauteLook.com often do not ship products until well after the end of the sales period, so shoppers may have to give up some shipping speed in exchange for prices that are usually 50-70% off retail.
Here are some limited time only invitation codes provided by InStyle Magazine:
- Hautelook.com code: “instyle” (membership plus $20 off first purchase) until December 1, 2008.
- Gilt Groupe invite: go to http://www.gilt.com/whatsnow (membership plus $10 off first order) until November 31, 2008.
[While these offers have ended, you can still use this Gilt Groupe invitation link from Meilily to join Gilt and start shopping designer sales!)
So, in the name of research, I used these invitation codes from the November 2008 issue of InStyle magazine and signed up with Gilt.com [which I often mistype as "guilt.com"] and Hautelook.com to see if this trend is worthwhile. I will report back later with my results. So far, some nice brands that have been on sale on these sites include Badgley Mischka Platinum Label RTW, Rachel Roy, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Vera Wang Lavender Label, and even Stila Cosmetics.
Also, though I chose not to try it out this time around (because the invitation did not include free credits), Ideeli.com is another such member-only shopping site that is currently taking open memberships, and also offers upgrades to premium “1st row” membership for a monthly fee of about US$7-8. Ideeli’s premium membership allows members to shop an hour earlier and also gain access to 1st row only sales. Personally, I would prefer not to pay for shopping privileges, so I’ll probably stick with other shopping sites unless tempted further.
P.S. Again, in case you need it, here’s a Gilt Groupe invitation link from Meilily
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