By Irina Skaya, Sr. Community Manager
When we think of flash sale sites, we rarely think of how marketers can utilize these sites to learn more about their customers’ interests and online shopping behaviors. Based on the recent moves of several big brands in the travel market, such as Virgin America, JetBlue, Surf Air and Cannondale, flash sites like Gilt Groupe’s travel site, Jetsetter, can be considered trendsetters.
Utilizing a concept first popularized by Virgin America, which sold group round trip flights on the Jetsetter site, other airlines, such as JetBlue, are offering all-you-can-jet passes. On the same day JetBlue announced its new offer, a new airline (called Surf Air) launched, providing business travelers with an all-you-can-fly pass through a more affordable, private airline membership. This may be the beginning of a new trend, and we will be watching closely to see if any other airlines will allow passengers to [literally] jump on board with similar deals.
Other common offerings on the Jetsetter site are various cycling tours across Europe. Earlier this month, bike-manufacturer Cannondale announced its entry into the travel business, with the launch of Cannondale Tours, which follow the routes of legendary pro tours in America and Europe, combining physical exertion with plenty of sightseeing and pampered recovery time factored in. This seems like a natural fit for a cycling company such as Cannondale and the popularity of these tours on Jetsetter and other flash sale sites is proof of the potential bike tours have to be a lucrative business.
Should brands therefore monitor flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe for potential trends? As recent innovations demonstrate, these sites can at times suggest strategic opportunities regarding product/service diversification and/or innovation.
Here are a few ways brands can take advantage of daily deal sites:
- Run tests for brand new products or services over a couple of days to gain insight into their financial viability prior to launch.
- Leverage flash sale sites as focus groups to gain feedback on new products through the sites’ social networks.
- Test new products against your desired target demographic. With the launch of niche flash sale sites such as Zulily, a daily deal site for babies and kids, this seems like a feasible option.
- Experiment with different campaigns across different geo-locations. The majority of flash sale sites offer geo-specific deals, a strategy that allows brands with local branches and geo-targeted marketing campaigns to experiment on a local level. Whoever said flash sale sites are just for small mom-and-pop shops?