Gilt foresees 50% of sales coming from mobile - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Dec. 11, 2013 9:00 am

Gilt foresees 50% of sales coming from mobile

At the latest Brooklyn Tech Meetup, VP for Personalization at Gilt explained how using data about users preferences is complicated when its best products sell out in an hour or so.
Erik Lumer presents at Brooklyn Tech Meetup

Erik Lumer presents at Brooklyn Tech Meetup

(Photo by Brady Dale)

While web sales are still the leader for the flash sale site Gilt, current trends suggest that the day will come when mobile sales represent half of the company’s conversions.

That’s according to Erik Lumer, VP for Personalization at the popular ecommerce company, who spoke at Tuesday’s Brooklyn Tech Meetup. Gilt has recently expanded its operations at the Navy Yard.

Some takeaways from Lumer’s talk at the meetup’s new location at dd:Outpost in Dumbo:

  • Collaborative filtering (the idea of suggesting products to people based on what other people who have bought similar products) doesn’t work well because by the time they know someone likes something, it’s already sold out.
  • Stylistic preference is hard to capture, so the company is working to break products down into attributes that they can track.
  • The company has begun deploying personalized sales algorithmically. So if they know they have inventory that a segment of their list might like, they offer those users a special discount.
  • Personalized sales generate more conversions than the sales everyone sees, but they also take place over more time (hint: you have more time to bid on personalized sales).
  • They have recently experimented with contextual feedback, allowing users who don’t like a suggestions to tell them why, if they want.

When asked if Gilt had ever considered building more community among its members, Lumer said that it has been a conversation within the company. There’s a recognition that the site does not do much to generate a social element, which may be valuable as a means to understand its community’s affinities. Still, he said, “I don’t think we’ll ever be a Pinterest.”

Other companies that came out and presented to the completely full room:

  • Have to Have. Carla Holtzee, Cofounder and CEO, explained how the company’s ad platform works as something of a stealth survey system, helping company’s learn more about consumer’s preferences by presenting them with interactive ads. Holtzee explained that the platform is geared less toward conversions and more toward branding budgets.
  • Sociidot. Esther Kuperman, Founder, presented her development story and concept for the new app. Sociidot provides users with roadmaps to fulfill their dreams. They can purchase the particular roadmap laid out by particular people who have achieved a similar dream. A preview video showed the slogan, “Life is about the journey. How will you dot it?”

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