(RueLaLa.com, HauteLook.com, Fab.com)
Flash sale sites are changing their business models to accommodate for increasing competition. (Gilt.com)
That was then. Five years later, the flash-sale sites that once blew our minds (but never our wallets) have moved far away from their original purpose. According a report in The New York Times, more than 90 discount sites now saturate the market, and that number is expected to rise to 150 by 2017.
Have you noticed that sites like Gilt don't seem to have the unbelievable finds of yesteryear? Is the novelty wearing off?
With the economy picking back up, designers are no longer seeking out hundreds of different ways to discount. Additionally, department stores are impeding the sale space. For example, Nordstrom acquired fashion and beauty blowout site HauteLook last year.
According to The Times, the increase in competition is creating a market where great deals just aren't enough anymore. Shoppers now want things they can't get anywhere else.
Perhaps this is why so many flash-sale sites now do Pinterest promotions, exclusives on emerging designers, and have expanded sales to include food, beauty services, travel, fitness and shelter items?
Shoppers are scooping it up, though. Fab, a members-only lifestyle shop for home and shelter pieces, recently brought in $105 million in financing.
Does this mean flash-sale sites as we knew them are dead?
We want to hear your thoughts on the issue. Did you used to buy from these sites when they started five years ago? Do you still use them today? And does it bother you that you no longer can score a mega-fabulous find like 75 percent off Helmut Lang? (Gilt now offers the brand full-price. Womp womp.)
Let's discuss in the comments below!