Internet retailer Gilt Groupe is launching Park & Bond, a full-priced menswear site without the limited-time component that’s been responsible for Gilt’s rapid growth. The success of Gilt comes from its 36-hour flash designer sales endingwith deeply-discounted merchandise. With added lifestyle offerings to appeal to fashionistas, such as luxury accessories, beauty packages and homeware, the sales have pushed Gilt Groupe’s annual revenue to an estimated $500 million and allowed the company to secure $138 million from investors in May.
The 36-hour sale has been a huge success with online female shoppers, but men have yet to be coaxed to rush to get the latest fashion deal. CEO Kevin Ryan told Daily Finance: "Some of the reason why we’re going into the full-price men’s business before women’s is that men love to shop online. They tell us “I just don’t like shopping in stores that much. I don’t want to spend hours in a store.” I think more and more over time, men are just going to buy more and more online."
Using this knowledge, Gilt Groupe has already built a handsome business ($100 million) in discounted men’s clothing and accessories on the shoulders of flash sales. But in order to really flex the buying muscle of its 400,000 male customers Gilt is going to offer them a specially selected full-price assortment on a dedicated site.
Ryan noted, “This is a full price men’s store. Go look at Saks and Bergdorf’s home pages, and check if you see any men’s [clothing]. They’re basically women’s stores that have a small men’s store.”
Back in November, John Auerbach, general manager of Gilt MAN and president of Park & Bond, explained that the site would be a virtual version of an old school salesman who really knows his stuff. Park & Bond’s curated, seasonal offerings shows gents exactly what’s current, covetable, and most important, looks cool head-to-toe from such brands as Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith,Thom Browne, Thomas Pink, Brooks Brothers, and Florsheim by Duckie Brown.
The team behind Park & Bond has a wealth of fashion cred, too. Gilt tapped the talents of execs from Rue La La (another flash sale site), Men.Style.com, and Zappos. To give context to the whole enterprise, Gilt is building on what it started with Gilt MAN’s “Manual” and provide editorial content as well as host a GQ online store that will feature a selection of products handpicked from the pages of the magazine by the editors. The picks will be designated in the print magazine as well as compiled on GQ.com, so readers can go directly to the GQ online store on P&B to purchase instantly.
For men reluctant to buy online without trying clothes, P&B offers Fits.me technology, a virtual fitting room service that customizes FitBot mannequins based on shoppers’ individual measurements so they can see how clothes from select brands look on them before they buy. Gilt is the first U.S. retailer to use the tech within its site.
Image: Park & Bond