Gilt Groupe’s VP of marketing Jason John recently said at a mobile commerce summit that the flash sale site has adopted a mobile first approach in the past six months, designing features for the mobile site and app before adapting them to desktop. Mobile accounts for 40% of Gilt sales, far higher than average. To put that number in perspective, smartphones accounted for just 5.5% of sales on Cyber Monday.
L2’s Intelligence Report: Mobile & Tablet finds smartphones are more effective as a tool for driving customers to buy in store than a checkout point. It also finds that an app-centric approach to mobile is not necessarily the best, since Facebook, YouTube, games, and messaging apps account for 75% of the time consumers spend on apps. However, Gilt and other flash sale sites might be the exception. The flash sale model promotes a time-sensitive approach to shopping, and an app’s push notifications (which the Gilt app offers) can lead to sales. Furthermore, knowing the product might not be available in a few hours can motivate consumers to buy on the spot and stored payment information can make frequent purchases easier.
Gilt is encouraging consumers to make a shift to mobile by offering mobile exclusive deals and early mobile access to some sales, perhaps a sign mobile brings higher returns than desktop. Gilt’s against-the-grain mobile success shows a single mobile approach does not fit all.