October 25, 2009 in Business

Totsy joins Web sites offering invitation-only sales

Associated Press
 

NEW YORK – Just in time for the holidays, Totsy.com has joined an increasingly crowded field of online sites that offer invitation-only limited sales.

But Totsy aims to set itself apart from its rivals like gilt.com, hautelook.com and ruelala.com because it specifically targets expecting moms and families with young children with items like diaper bags, maternity clothes and strollers.

The site, which already had 15 sales events for different labels since it launched in mid-October, is expected to have more than 200 brands within the next six months. The labels are mostly European with limited distribution.

Members are alerted to these flash sale events of individual designers 48 hours in advance. Each brand’s exclusive sale lasts for a total of 72 hours. Discounts range from 40 percent to 70 percent.

More early birds?

Will stores see more early-bird holiday shoppers than last year? According to a recent holiday survey conducted by consulting firm Accenture, 52 percent of consumers are likely to shop on the day after Thanksgiving this year compared with 42 percent. The survey, which polled more than 500 people, also found that 69 percent of consumers expect to do the bulk of their holiday shopping by Dec. 7, compared with 60 percent last year.

Janet Hoffman, Accenture’s managing partner of the global retail practice, reasons that stores may be doing a good job in pulling shoppers in earlier because of the aggressive discounts taken during the entire month of November. But she also said that shoppers may be worried that they won’t find what they want if they procrastinate because stores have cut back on merchandise offerings.

But merchants are going to have to keep plying shoppers with discounts. The survey found that for two-thirds of consumers polled, discounts are very important in their purchasing decision. And most consumers are not moved to buy without a discount of 20 percent or more. In fact, one-quarter of shoppers polled say they require a 50 percent discount, the survey found.

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