August 23, 2013, 1:11 PM

Social shopping site Sneakpeeq.com goes on ‘hiatus’

Flash-sale e-retailer Sneakpeeq closes the curtains, at least for a while.

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Flash-sale e-retailer and social shopping e-retailer Sneakpeeq Inc. is shutting down, according to an e-mail sent to members this morning.

The merchant says it will work with its suppliers to offer more products and faster shipping times, though it gave no information about a potential reopening. “To reach this goal of creating a truly stellar e-commerce experience, we will be putting Sneakpeeq.com on hiatus,” it says in the note, a copy of which was received by Internet Retailer. Sneakpeeq.com says shoppers have until Aug. 31 to use any credits, coupons and promotions. The company’s founder, Henry Kim, did not respond to a request for comment and calls to Sneakpeeq headquarters went directly to voicemail.

Sneakpeeq, No. 508 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, launched in 2011 and brought in $18 million in online sales last year, up 100% year over year—making it one of the fastest growing merchants in the guide in terms of dollar growth.

The e-retailer sells housewares, apparel, food and accessories by combining social shopping with personalized recommendations and gamification, or contests and rewards shoppers can earn for performing certain tasks on the site like sharing, Liking or buying items.

Sneakpeeq.com prompts shoppers to sign in with their Facebook accounts. Each day, the retailer puts a set of new products on the site and presents each shopper with three products it thinks she will like. She can use online features to share products with friends and Like items through Facebook as well as buy a product. All those actions earn points and badges for the user, which in turn can lower prices on products

The merchant has nearly 160,000 Likes on Facebook, where it hasn’t posted since July 16, and nearly 5,000 Twitter followers.

Sneakpeeq isn’t the only flash-sale e-retailer that is rethinking its business model. The shutter of Sneakpeeq.com comes three months after another fast-growing flash-sale e-retailer, Totsy.com, began laying off its employees. Fashion retailer Modnique bought Totsy’s assets shortly thereafter.

Fab.com, which, similar to Sneakpeeq.com, was founded in 2011, has taken several steps in the last few months to move away from the flash-sale business model, such as expanding its distribution network and laying off employees in Europe.

Fab.com is No. 150 in the Top 500 Guide. Totsy is No. 457.

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