Gilt, the well-funded company that sells high-end luxury goods online at steep discounts in short-term “flash sales”, has its eyes set on a new target: Groupon. At least, it’s launching a new service that has a very similar model. In the last two days, Gilt has been sending some members invitations to ‘Gilt City‘, where they can get “exclusive local deals and offers up to 70% off.” The service is only available in New York City for now, but it’s clear that Gilt intends to expand it elsewhere. As with Gilt’s normal flash-sales, you’ll have to request an account to take part (it looks like existing accounts already work).
Like Groupon, Gilt City offers deals from local businesses (restaurants, beauty salons, etc.) and events. Deals are available in limited quantities and for a limited time. But the site differs in a few ways from Groupon: there doesn’t seem to be a minimum number of participants needed for a deal to become “activated”, and some stores are offering multiple deals. And unlike Groupon’s one-deal-per-day, Gilt only updates once a week for now.
Gilt is only the latest in a long, long string of Groupon-like sites to launch recently, but it’s in a better position than most. Gilt already has a strong brand presence, and it’s raised $48 million. But it’s typically focused on luxury goods whereas Groupon has a broader focus, so there’s likely room for the two to coexist.
Among the deals currently being offered are specials at a local salon, a trendy restaurant, and a show, all of which are high-end. However, there’s also a deal for the 16 Handles yogurt chain, which has a pretty broad appeal.
Thanks to Josh Goldman for the heads up.