Saks Fifth Avenue launches flash sale site

After years of experimenting with the flash sale market, Saks Fifth Avenue is finally taking the plunge. The high-end retailer will unveil a regular flash sale site,, on Tuesday. Operated by the Saks Direct team, the site will build on the scattered flash sale events Saks has offered since 2009, plus its temporary pilot program of 2010, reported WWD.

The new site will give shoppers the opportunity to score deals 24/7. The site gets off to a roaring start with five events in the first week, seven sales during the next and nine events in the third week, leading up to multiple events each day. Featuring brands such as Catherine Malandrino and Elizabeth & James, each sale will last 24 hours, and as with many flash sale sites, shoppers must sign up as members to access the deals.

"We're excited about this phase. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and they're embracing the flash sale market. This is a tremendous opportunity to attract new customers and increase the existing customer's spend [on our site]," Denise Incandela, president of Saks Direct and executive vice president at Saks Fifth Avenue, said to WWD.

Saks will be jumping into the fray of a saturated market, joining a range of daily event sites and well-known flash sale sites such as Gilt Groupe, HauteLook, Rue La La, Groupon and Ideeli. But the retailer believes that the Saks site will have an edge over competitors thanks to the lessons it learned about consumer behavior from the 2010 pilot program and previous flash sale events.

But with so many players in the market, will there be enough merchandise to sustain flash sale efforts? By relying on its long-standing relationships with its vendors, Saks should be able to avoid this pitfall.

The company intends to vend out-of-season items or products created expressly for the site. Down the road, the department store may use the site to test private-label designs.

By offering flash-sale bargains, Saks aims to lure customers to its full-price items. Customers may find themselves eyeing a Malandrino deal, only to be drawn in by a display banner featuring higher-end goods available on Saks’ main website. Saks also may hit up customers with follow-up emails suggesting further purchases.

And more is on the way from Saks Direct, including mobile apps for Saks Fifth Avenue and fashionfix, and an e-commerce feature for

Anyone already registered to receive Saks’ e-mails will automatically be sent flash sale e-mails.

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LadyLUX via Saks Fifth Avenue

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