Flash Sales


Here we go again. After analyzing the success of Groupon as an e-commerce model based on group purchase, and how the Arab World got filled with similar clones, yet a new trend in e-commerce is surfacing in the Middle East. And it’s succeeding. Big time!


Flash Sales websites are invitation-only social-friendly e-retailers who provide significant discounts that can reach 70% on top luxurious brands available for a brief window of time. This definition sums up the success factors of similar models. Below is a break down of these factors:

  • Invitation-only 

    So how is it supposed to be a success factor having an online shopping website as invitation-only? The answer is simple; it ensures exclusivity. It gives the members the feeling of being part of a private community which causes members to value their membership and hence increased loyalty. It increases demand since invitation-only systems grow the curiosity inside potential customers to join and discover what inside.


  • Social-friendly 

    A social-friendly website makes it very easy for members to share content and spread the word over social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and encourages members to invite friends.  Social media is a very powerful and essential promotional platform especially for online businesses.


  • Discounts

    Who doesn’t want a discount? People love it. Flash Sales websites provide a highly compelling prices increasing the impulse of purchases. It’s self-explanatory.


  • Limited Time

    If a customer clicks away and exits the page to think about a purchase, he/she probably will not come back. Offers in Flash Sales websites are accompanied with a countdown clock to visually indicate the time left before the deal is closed. It’s a great technique to create a huge sense of urgency and speed up the purchase decision by growing the fear of losing a good opportunity.


Mainly for the above reasons, such e-commerce models are a huge success and created a lot of buzz. Let’s showcase some websites:

Gilt Groupe

Founded in 2007, based in New York, USA and has 3.5 million members. Valued at $1 billion with expected revenue of $500 million in 2011.



Founded in 2010, based in Amman, Jordan and has attracted about half a million members and is growing at a rate of 2,000 to 4,000 members a day. Raised lately $3 million in investment. Revenues not disclosed but estimated at $1 million monthly.



Founded in 2010, a subsidiary of Jabbar Internet Group based in Dubai, UAE with almost 750,000 users and with an average month on month growth rate varying between 20% – 25%.