Last Friday, Target premiered its latest designer collaboration lines with John Derian (home goods), Tucker (apparel), and Mulberry (handbags)—but not in-store nor on Target.com. The brands launched on Gilt Groupe, a high-end members-only designer flash sales web site. The 36-hour sale opened on Friday, August 20, allowing members to shop the collections before they hit stores. The sale was promoted on banners in Gilt Groupe emails for the week leading up to the sale and Target sent an email to shoppers via its Style blog the week before to build excitement and educate Target shoppers about Gilt. Shopping on Gilt is only open to members. Signing up is free but is only available by request or through an invitation from another Gilt member, ensuring that the discounted items remain exclusive.
What if Target shoppers weren’t already Gilt members? Target enabled shoppers to sign up for a Gilt Groupe membership via the Target Style blog, and those who signed up via the blog received an automatic $10 credit on Gilt. This was a savvy partnership for both brands. With Target’s most recent designer collaborations, Cynthia Vincent shoes and Zac Posen apparel, items sold out on Target.com the day that they premiered. Gilt Groupe’s regarded reputation for bringing in high-end brands and distributing them at clearance-sale prices while maintaining an exclusive brand image will only strengthen Target’s growing reputation as a place where style meets value.
How successful was the sale? Looks like shoppers loved the Target items and prices on Gilt. The Mulberry handbags sold out within ten minutes of going on sale. I now anticipate seeing if and how the partnership can work for in-store promotions that will drive shoppers back online.