BLURRING LINES: Gilt Groupe plans to continue testing a personal closet service that brings the e-commerce company into the physical world.
Gilt about a month ago launched the pilot, which offered some of its customers the opportunity to talk on the phone with one of the company’s stylists at its Brooklyn headquarters. Those same customers were then able to come to headquarters where a showroom was set up in one of the company’s conference rooms.
The appointments sold out in six hours, according to Gilt chief marketing officer Clay Cowan, who discussed the pilot Friday at the Global Retailing Conference in Tucson, Ariz.
The test resulted in an 85 percent conversion rate when customers came into the showroom. About 93 percent of participants said they would come back. The return rate, which Cowan wouldn’t disclose, has been much lower than the company’s average rate since customers had the chance to try the product on prior to purchase, he said.
“Our best customers spend many thousands of dollar a year,” Cowan said. “People spent many thousands in an hour.”
The company expects to roll this test out throughout the rest of the year.
“As an online-only retailer, we have to think a lot about offline experiences, too,” Cowan said.
Gilt joins a wave of e-tailers that have acknowledged the importance of bringing their brands offline. Among those are Warby Parker, Nasty Gal and ModCloth. And startups aren’t waiting too long to test out the strategy with Irvine, Calif.-based Combatant Gentlemen, Bikini.com of Las Vegas and Venice, Calif. David Kind among the budding brands showcasing product in their own physical spaces.