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Gilt personalizes flash sales to simplify mobile shopping

Gilt is rolling out a new feature within its mobile applications and Web site that is aimed at tailoring the company’s inventory of daily sales for a more customized shopping experience.

The flash sales site sees mobile as critical in the launch of the “Your Personal Sale” personalization algorithm since the devices have smaller screen sizes. Consumers can shop the new “Your Personal Sale” feature on Gilt’s iOS apps and Web site.

“Personalization is even more important on mobile because of the more limited screen real estate,” said Steve Jacobs, chief information officer at, New York.

“Our goal is to make it even easier for members to discover products they love while they are on the go,” he said.

Personalized sales
After Gilt members open the company’s iPhone, iPod touch or iPad app, the “Your Personal Sale” feature shows consumers one personalized sale per day that are curated to products that they have shown interest in previously.

The algorithm that powers the recommendations takes several factors into account to personalize content, one of which is past buying and browsing history.

The algorithm can also be funneled down to specific product sizes, categories and brands. Seasonality is also used to recommend products.

The personalized sales are a part of the same daily sales that Gilt already offers.

Gilt is also using the personalized shopping feature to generate feedback about the recommendations that users are served, which will likely help the company better understand which types of products and content sticks to consumers the most.

The company also has plans to expand the feature to Gilt’s other platforms in the future.

“These sales are unique to each member, featuring their favorite brands and styles curated exclusively just for them,” Mr. Jacobs said.

“We plan on launching personalized sales across all of our platforms but initially wanted to focus on our highest impact platforms,” he said.

Another screenshot of the feature

Mobile-first mentality
Similar to other flash sales sites, Gilt has seen success with mobile as the first screen that shoppers are drawn to with 40 percent of revenue coming from the medium.

Most recently, the company launched a mobile sales series to offer consumers exclusive chances to shop inventory (see story).

Gilt also revamped its Android app in May with improved image quality, faster speed and new checkout functionality (see story).

Last year, Gilt released an iPad app based on merchandising tactics that the company learned. The company also claimed that its focus on mobile merchandising helped close the loop between browsing and sales last year (see story).

Now that flash sales sites have significant traffic and revenue coming from mobile, the next phase for many of these companies with mobile is creating a more customized, tailored experience for shoppers.

“In this case, we wanted to create a unique shopping experience that felt even more curated and customized and also create another layer of excitement and discovery to complement the flash sales that we already offer each day,” Mr. Jacobs said.

“We have a very loyal member base who visit the site and our mobile apps, interact with our merchandise, make purchases, favorite items, waitlist items and are generally very engaged,” he said.

“With our first release of personalized sales we really wanted to reward our most engaged members with an experience that makes an already simple shopping experience, that much faster and easier.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York