Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
"Flash" Sales Come to the Industry
Q. & A. about the newest way to introduce new
products or dispose of overstocks.
Staff Report (August 15, 2011)
Interweave has introduced Flockshop.com, which,
to CLN's knowledge, is the industry's first "flash" sales
e-commerce operation. It works like this: one product at a time is
sold at a substantial discount for x amount of time. Many of the
featured products include video describing and demonstrating the
products When the limited quantity is sold out or the time expires,
another product is presented. Visit
www.flockshop.com to see it in "action."
FlockShop sales are promoted to Interweave’s
network of enthusiasts through its 10 online communities which
collectively have 1+ million . Five of its largest communities are
KnittingDaily.com, BeadingDaily.com, CrochetMe.com, QuiltingArts.com,
CLN: Where does Interweave get the products, and how do you
choose which ones? Does Interweave have the products in its
possession, or does the manufacturer drop ship?
Interweave: Interweave buys the products
from the manufacturers and they are held in our warehouses until
they go on sale, and shipped by us direct to the consumer.
Initial buy quantities will range from 50 to
200, depending on the product. If not all of the purchased quantity
sells out during the flash sale, the products will either run again
on FlockShop.com or inventory will move to InterweaveStore.com. We
guarantee no product will be returned to the manufacturer.
CLN: If a manufacturer offers a product
for Flockshop and Interweave says yes, is there a minimum number? In
what order are products presented?
Interweave: There is not a minimum
quantity we’ll run. It is somewhat dependent on price, but if we
feel good about the quality of a product and the discount, we want
to get that in front of our customers at any quantity.
We are learning more everyday about when and
how to prioritize our deals and align those with our traffic
patterns. We do try and make the best products available when we
have the largest volume of visitors.
CLN: How are you promoting the site?
Interweave: During the initial launch
we've sold primarily art quilting and mixed-media products, and have
promoted the sales to the Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper
Scissors audience with emails and in-house online advertising.
We are launching FlockShop.com to Interweave’s
other 8 craft communities in phases, and once we have secured enough
product for jewelry-making enthusiasts and beaders, we'll be rolling
out the promotions to those online communities as well. But no, our
community members will not receive an email for every FlockShop sale
item. Crafters interested in following FlockShop’s daily deals will
need to sign up for the email alerts at
http://buy.flockshop.com/alerts.html or follow the deals
announcements on Twitter (@FlockShopDeals) and Facebook.
CLN: Is it primarily for overstocks and
Interweave: Many companies are using it
for overstocks and closeouts. Other companies may see it as an
opportunity to launch and promote a limited quantity of a new
product at a deep discount, much like how Volkswagen of America
partnered with Gilt Groupe to sell three deeply-discounted, all-new
2011 Jettas to its members back in December, 2010. They sold three
cars at $5,995 each, a savings of 10,000 each, and received
substantial media coverage for the deal.
CLN: Is there a danger of irritating
Interweave: We have great relationships
with independent craft shops around the country, since so many of
them sell our magazines, books, and DVDs, and they’re not
complaining. Since FlockShop deals are a limited quantity of a
product, for a limited amount of time, we're not competing with
bricks-and-mortar; in fact, our hope is that the shops will benefit
and see a lift in a product's sales after it appears on FlockShop
and information goes out to our e-newsletter base and raises brand
CLN: If a manufacturer wants to get
involved, whom does he/she contact?
Interweave: We have several category
buyers. A manufacturer can contact our in-house sales manager,
firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
(Note: To read the official press
http://pitch.pe/165089. Publishers Weekly recently
reported on FlockShom.com and the growth of Interweave. To read the