Flash in the pan: why the private sales fad crashed and burned

Flash in the pan: why the private sales fad crashed and burned

Oh, ye of little truth. The co-founder of the private sales site vente-privee, Ilan Benhaim, recently told a crowded conference hall that his site added 10k users per day last year yet, rather surprisingly, doesn't pay for traffic. Apparently, it's all word of mouth in the private sales world. It's all buzz and peer-to-peer and social. Except, clearly, it isn't.

Unless, of course, someone else paid for this ad...

Google advert for vente-privee

I'm not surprised that vente-privee advertises, but we are a little surprised that Mr Benhaim felt the need to bend the truth like that. There's no way a site like vente-privee could possibly sustain itself without calling in the keyword cavalry. Why? Because private sales / members'-only sales / secret sales / flash sales (call 'em what you will, they're all the same thing) are inherently un-social, for these three reasons:

1. For your eyes only?

There's a common ruse when it comes to private sale e-stores. It's expressed differently from site to site but, basically, it translates roughly along these hoary old lines: "Our prizes are so crrRRRazy, our suppliers will only let us show them to our members." Now, admittedly, I had an extra portion of cynicism with our cornflakes this morning,


▸ Continue reading

Financial Services: why the industry needs to rethink its loyalty strategy

FSloyaltyExpI

The digital age hasn't been kind to the financial services industry. On the one hand, online banking and self-serve product applications have facilitated enormous growth and resource streamlining. On the other hand, there's no such thing as loyalty anymore. A quick scan for 'credit cards' on Google gives a top search result for a price comparison site. And the second result? Another price comparison site. That's before Wikipedia's even defined what a credit card is.

And that's a big problem: when customers have become ferocious deal-hunters, and when the very best interest rates and fees are only a click away, it becomes almost impossible to compete without stripping back your product to its bare bones and scrapping it out to offer the lowest prices. And, when you're racing to the bottom, it's pretty hard to keep your customers with you - the moment you're not the cheapest in town, you might as well quit town altogether.

In recent months and years, FS companies have tried to offer value-adds as an incentive to lure - and retain - customers. It's the "I might not be as pretty as the girl who just moved in next door, but I know how to


▸ Continue reading