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Gilt Groupe iPad app comprises 3 percent of sales in first 2 days

With the iPad application, the privately-owned company presents shoppers with an interactive catalog and the option to buy items before they sell out after 36 hours. Just two days after the application launched, it was comprising 3 percent of the company’s sales.

“We wanted to encourage iPad owners who are not familiar with Gilt to try out the app from start to finish,” said Shan-Lyn Ma, director of product management for Gilt, New York. “We believe that once you make your first purchase you will be so excited you will want to return again.”

Guilty pleasure
Invite-only members can shop and buy exclusive designer apparel and accessories via the iPad, regardless of where they are. This is important since most of the shopping activity on Gilt is within the first hour.

“The vast majority of our Gilt members come from membership referrals,” Ms. Ma said. “This was designed in order to create a community based on referrals for people who are passionate about their style.

“By making it invitation-only, it helps us see who they are, what they like and don’t like,” she said.

Gilt has incorporated multitouch displays, pinch-and-zoom, split screen and a shopping cart into the iPad application.

A $25 Gilt credit is awarded to members that refer friends. The credit is awarded once the friend makes his or her first purchase.

“We started off about five months ago launching on the iPhone and we saw a lot of success with that so we wanted to extend to the iPad,” Ms. Ma said. “When we saw what the iPad offered compared to everything else we felt we could really adopt it to our targeted membership.”

Here is a screen grab of the application:

The Web site for Gilt has 1.6 million members and raised $40 million in funding last July, valuing the company at $400 million.

“In the first few days that it’s been out so far we have already seen a lot of positive feedback from our buyers,” Ms. Ma said. “On Sunday, just the second day after launching, we saw some great shopping behavior where people were buying up to 3 percent on the iPad app.” 

Apple sold 300,000 iPads the day the device was released.

“With the iPad we could really maximize the on-screen real estate,” Ms. Ma said. “Users are able to see really everything on the one screen and quickly tap through the sales and drag items from the screen to their cart, which is available on any page.”

For the iPad application, there is still more to come to engage buyers.

“All the features that we are looking to add will be around making it faster, simpler and more fun for the user to shop using the app,” Ms. Ma said. “Some examples will be allowing people to filter by their size and save their size to the settings.

“We would also like to make it easier to get the app by adding smart notification, which will let them know they have credit in their account if they would like to use it or more information about upcoming sales,” she said.