Private sales are a hot topic these days (short sales, large discounts, registered users only), with online retailers such as, One Kings Lane, Rue La La and Gilt successfully implementing a retail strategy that’s worked very well in Europe for some time (private sale leader Vente Privee had sales of around 1 billion dollars in 2009).
Take Gilt, for example: it has raised $48 million (i.e. investors believe in this model evidently!) and is expected to take in over $450 million in sales this year. Zulily (private sales of goods for “busy moms”) has reportedly raised a total of $10.6 million to implement their business model.
Can small businesses do private sales within their budget?
Unlike the companies we just mentioned, you might not have millions to spend. Can you still give this retail strategy a try? Can small businesses implement this type of business model (since it appears to be working quite well), without spending a fortune or having to do a lot of time consuming custom development?
Well, get yourself a ProductCart v4.1-powered e-commerce store and you can get started right away 🙂
Restricting access on the entire store
With ProductCart you can turn an open e-commerce storefront into a “private” shopping club within minutes. It’s easy to do, you don’t need a developer, and you can revert back to an “open” store without any issues, if you want to just see how it would work. Here is a sample store turned into a private shopping club.
Restricting access at the product level
With ProductCart, it’s also easy to restrict access for specific products only. To achieve that, you can leverage the “Not for Sale” feature and “Customer Pricing Categories” to provide special benefits that are not available to all customers.
For example, you could create a “Gold Customers” category, assign customers to it based on certain requirements (e.g. that they fill out a form where they share more information about their purchasing preferences and habits), and give them special benefits that might include…
- Products not generally avaiableIn ProductCart v4.1 and above you can override the “Not for Sale” feature at the Customer Category level, meaning that a product can be “Not for Sale” for everyone except for certain customers (e.g. “Gold Customers” can buy it).
- Special prices
Some or all products can be offered at discounted prices. Only customers that belong to the Category can view the special prices.
- Special coupons (discounts by code)
You can restrict the applicability of coupons to only customers that belong to the Category. For example you could send an additional, 10% coupon to be spent within 2 days: other customers would not be able to use it (even if they were given the discount code).
- Special payment options
In ProductCart you can restrict certain payment options by customer category. This is often used when the customer category includes customers that require special terms (e.g. resellers that pay “Net 30”).
For more information, see these step-by-step guides: