June 16, 2011, 1:57 PM

IRCE 2011 Report: Private sales sites spur new buying behaviors

One Kings Lane is up 500% over last year, CEO Doug Mack tells IRCE.

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The daily deals market is growing fast online, and One Kings Lane is one of the leaders in the space.

Sales at the high-end home décor retailer have grown 500% over the past year, CEO Doug Mack said today in a featured presentation at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.

He attributed One Kings Lane’s growth to its fostering a unique culture. “We create a daily sale habit,” he said, comparing the experience of shopping on One Kings Lane, whose daily e-mails to members include compelling product photography, to the experience of window-shopping offline. That stands in contrast to the more directed, needs-focused manner that consumers typically shop online.

That’s evident in the retailer’s sales data, he said. “About 75% of our shoppers are repeat shoppers,” said Mack. “The thought was that people don’t buy home décor items often, but our model is proving people will.”

Key to that repeat business is the site’s curated merchandise, he said. The site’s merchandise is carefully selected according to the brand’s standards, which narrows consumers’ choices. “It’s the opposite of Amazon, the world’s largest store,” said Mack. “This is the world’s smallest, most precious store.”

Private sales also generate sales by imbuing the site with a sense of fun by creating urgency. The sales last for 72 hours and items are offered in limited supply or are unique.  Recently, for example, a sale featuring an exclusive tableware brand sold 700 units within the first 15 minutes of going live online. “Shoppers get a great deal and the sense that they’ve beat another shopper to it,” he said.

One Kings Lane also functions as a marketing vehicle for suppliers, said Mack. “Many of our suppliers do not have well-recognized brands,” he said. “Some of them tell us that every dollar discounted on what they sell on our site has been followed by a dollar spent at full price on their products later.”

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