Amazon launches fashion flash sale site

May 3, 2011

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Amazon soft launched (little to no fanfare other than their facebook page) a US oriented fashion flash sale site that will compete with the Gilt, Ruelala, Ideeli, etc. of the world called (let the Nun/habit jokes commence!).  Back in October of 2010, Amazon acquired one of the largest flash sale sites in Europe, BuyVIP which we covered here and it looks like they either learned from that acquisition and/or leveraged the underlying technology to bring it to the US.  They also acquired Woot, but this has more of a buyvip feel than woot.

Quick thoughts on

The site looks pretty much like you’d expect with some upgrades from what you’ll find at Gilt/Ideeli/Rue:

  • You can login (and I presume pay) with your Amazon account which is handy and automatically gives them the largest registered user base of all the flash sites.
  • There are three introductory categories: (men, women, children)
  • The product photography and videos is very much first class – better than anything I’ve ever seen Amazon do.  It’s going to be interesting to see if this is a launch thing or if they keep with it as it’s very expensive to shoot and produce video every day like this (I can’t embed the video, but here’s a  screen shot)




It’s interesting to see Amazon entering the flash sale party from the high-fashion position.  Gilt,  Rue and Ideeli have all moved away from that starting position (Gilt and Rue especially) due to supply constraints (and demand constraints I imagine).  So you could argue that maybe Amazon is very late to the party.  However, knowing Amazon like we do, I’m sure they have a strategic roadmap here that takes advantage of something they are seeing so we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, many people forget that Amazon has a lot of (currently) disparate fashion assets:

  • Zappos – I imagine they can leverage Z+their own shoe biz to get endless shoes on myhabit.
  • Endless – Their home grown zappos killer that is still active believe it or not.
  • shopbop – Content and fashion retailer – I could see lots of great tie ins here