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Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

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"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, and ArtistDaily.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 closeouts?

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 brick-and-mortar retailers?

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 awareness.

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, Brittany Hageman, bhageman@flockshop.com for more info.

(Note: To read the official press release, visit http://pitch.pe/165089. Publishers Weekly recently reported on FlockShom.com and the growth of Interweave. To read the article, click HERE.)



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