August 22, 2011, 3:35 PM

Gilt goes after Facebook shoppers

The flash-sale retailer launches a storefront on the social network.

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Gilt Groupe Inc. today launched a Facebook storefront that will offer Facebook-only sales for shoppers who Like the retailer on the social network. Consumers on Facebook will also have access to shop select offers before the sales launch on the Gilt.com e-commerce site.

When a consumer who Likes Gilt on Facebook visits the retailer’s Facebook page, she can log in using her Gilt account information to browse and check out at four Facebook-exclusive sales that focus on women’s and men’s apparel, children’s clothing and accessories, and home goods. The store will showcase a sale for each category that will rotate weekly.

The first Gilt Women sale features “Buyer's Favorites,” a selection of products inspired by one of the retailer’s buyers. The Gilt Man sale, called “Man About Town,” features an array of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and the Gilt Home sale features a Vera Wang Home sale. The Gilt Children’s sale features a SpongeBob SquarePants line of products. Below those offers are four featured sales taking place on Gilt.com.

A consumer’s entire transaction takes place on Facebook, which means shoppers don’t have to leave the social network, says Jason John, Gilt senior director, marketing. And, for the retailer, the purchases are completely integrated with Gilt.com. “Facebook is the perfect host for a more social shopping experience that allows our members to share and discuss with friends and other customers,” he says.

Gilt, No. 49 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, also launched a Support tab on its Facebook page to respond to customer service issues. Gilt built the Facebook applications in-house.

“Our goal is to allow for seamless interaction with the Gilt brand across on-site, social and mobile experiences,” he says.

Gilt is not the first flash-sale retailer to launch Facebook-exclusive sales. HauteLook, No. 156 in the Top 500 Guide, in November began rolling out 48-hour sales to consumers who Like either HauteLook or the brand on offer. Sales transactions initiated off of the retailer’s e-commerce site, such as through Facebook or mobile phones, typically account for about 10% of total Internet sales transactions. However, one of those  Facebook-only sales, featuring Diane von Furstenberg apparel, doubled the retailer’s off-site transactions to 20% of the total.

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