There are a plethora of flash sales sites on the web, with Gilt, Rue La La, HauteLook and Ideeli and many others offering members 50 to 70 percent off retail goods. With so many competitors, newbie RowNine is hoping to differentiate itself by offering a more personalized platform that allows users to customize the types of clothing, handbags and accessories that are delivered to them. RowNine has also added the ability to Like items on the site and push them to Facebook.
On RowNine, users will now be prompted to specify what types of clothing, brands, bags, and more items they are interested in purchasing. Customers can indicate their preferences when perusing offers and merchandise on the RowNine Website by giving a “thumbs up or down” to build their preference profile.
Based on this interests, RowNine will then source and recommend customized products to the users. RowNine’s recommendation engine will integrate a shopper’s clickstream and purchase history as well as group matching with customers with similar interests to deliver targeted recommendations. Customers will also have the ability to publish products and purchases they like via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
RowNine’s CEO and co-founder Lawrence Kosick likens the site to the Pandora for flash sales. While the space is competitive, the model is certainly ambitious and could prove to be attractive to shoppers who want more customized offerings from online sample sales. One of the biggest challenges for RowNine will be to attract users; the site only has a hundred thousand members as compared to Gilt, HauteLook and others which have subscriber bases in the millions. But the online sample sale space is still growing, and clearly there’s room for a number of strong players.