I’m a big fan of Gilt Groupe.

Even if you are not a shopper or a luxury brand aficionado…join Gilt.com buyer’s club and follow along. There is a lot to be learned from their perfect sense of brand definition.

It’s really refreshing to see a new brand spring up that just gets the relationship between what the company is providing and the needs of its customers. That’s why while at its mechanical core Gilt.com is a discount store; it is already a $400M business that feels like a 5th avenue boutique that never gets stale.

Gilt understands the viral loop and social commerce certainly…but that is not their pure play, as it is with Groupon and others.

Groupon and the group buying services take value, scarcity, group buying and geographical location and smartly shake them up…and capture the fun of treating yourself to something special, often with friends. Groupon’s brand is about the daily deal and the fun of buying…it’s an impulse not a luxury goods positioning. When done perfectly, as Groupon does, its magic…but it’s different from shopping for a Tory Burch handbag or an Armani overcoat.

Gilt really gets brand and e-commerce marketing and selling. They understand deeply the appeal of the brands they sell, represent them with glam and imagination and represent the why and how of their customers desire to buy…and the atmosphere they like to shop in. They are courteous rather than pushy, focusing on value rather than cost and always…brand appeal and how important it is to their customer.

There is scarcity and referral in their model but they eschew the freneticsm of a threshold pushed sale and feel more like a high-end rack runway at great value than a push-and-shove sample sale of a thousand folks grabbing at designer t-shirts.

If you believe in the value of luxury brands and feel good about owning or wearing or using them…this is the place. Value with no discount bin feel. Selection without the sense of buying seconds. Clarity of a luxury story at a price that you can afford.

There is no cookie cutter marketing or business model here. Only a great study of a company that understands the value add of brokering brands to brand conscious customers at pricing they can afford, without price being the major selling point.

Take a look at this marketing analysis of Gilt Groupe’s studied approach to finding customers and keeping them happy and returning and loyal. It’s a workable list that all business marketers should pay attention to. Every business and brand model is different (as it should be) but there is value to learn from those that figure it out…and Gilt certainly has for their audience.


Thanks to @robinharper for sending the background post my way.