Redefining How You Find Things Locally: Gilt City Puts New Meaning to ‘Curator’March 30, 2011
by Nathan Richardson
It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve just landed in Boston to interview potential candidates to build out our Boston arm of Gilt Groupe’s newest online destination, Gilt City. “How can I spend my Saturday to give it more openings?” I ask as my first question to Julia, a potential Boston curator. “Sportello,” she replies, “They’ve got a phenomenal grilled cheese and tomato soup option. But then you have to swing by Flour bakery a few blocks down. The cinnamon cream brioche will change your life.” We’re off to a great start.
Gilt City skips the notion of a daily deal and using a search engine to find things locally, redefining the path to achieve a coveted lifestyle experience. While some consumers chase daily deals or search tirelessly online, Gilt City helps people plan their evenings, weekends, and city adventures — transforming the ‘best of’ lists into an accessible reality. The industry has projected $5 billion in revenue this year alone, which means this generation of consumers is taking note of their options. The notion of value has been entirely redefined. It’s no longer considered proletarian to buy something on sale, rather a smart, respected action and one that even those with a higher-income are choosing more and more often.
That’s where we come in. As mass coupon sites dominate the standard “daily deal” model, Gilt City is leveraging their luxury roots to appeal to consumers searching for the best-of each city and a convenient way of achieving it. Gilt City represents the dominant player in the luxury market, infusing expertise into the typical city-guide and replacing the assumed with the surprising. Gilt City’s model is to offer attainable luxury. Prices are insider to our members and stamped with a luxury approval. It’s not that members are drawn to the site because they want a deal, but that they want exclusivity; an opportunity to experience a top new restaurant exactly how the chef envisioned it or complete the fitness workout to maximize your strength. Members look to Gilt for guidance and access into these types of experiences.
The teams behind our weekly features are our Curators; locals to each city who have their finger on the pulse of what’s new, fresh, and in the know. Rather than simply recommending a visit to a just-opened spot, they are creating individual, catered offers to showcase the vendor’s specialty—that must-have burger, the best facialist in Boston, an opportunity to ride the newest model of Maserati. Case in point: O-Ya is one of the nation’s best sushi restaurants, and in our opinion, a must try. Insomuch that our Boston curator put together an attainable yet luxurious package for our members to experience the restaurant with a 23-course tasting menu paired with sake for Valentine’s Day. Gilt City is providing access to the luxury market and helping members to uncover something new in their city.
Our curated guides offer a path for members to live a life more beautiful. Though models vary among local offer sites, Gilt City features packages in limited quantities, adding that sense of urgency to a member’s experience. They know they need to sign on to the site immediately in order to obtain first the dining experience at L’Espalier, meet the founders of Vineyard Vines, or see Bruno Mars perform in an intimate setting. For members with a taste for nightlife and entertainment, the notion of the curated deal extends to Gilt City’s exclusive events. Whether an intimate guided tour of the Sam Adams brewery led by founder Jim Koch or a private shopping cocktail party at Boston’s finest boutique Gretta Luxe, Gilt City continues to create and appeal to member’s different tastes and desires.
gilt city bostonAs popular and relevant as local offer sites become, we must continue to innovate to keep the curated approach relevant. The future of the local deal site is in mobile, social media, and continued member integration. I think that we are already seeing it evolve into other social mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga, etc. and it will continue to grow in those spaces as new features are built in. Members are seeking instant-access and instant gratification and online services sites will grow through mobile apps, tablet integration, and more. Key evolutions for Gilt City include upgraded concierge services built in to the offer, an increase in hyper-local offers catering to the individual more so than the city, overall more customizable options across all markets, and great innovations on our vendor and member interface to ensure the experience on all ends is enjoyable and efficient. Each member wants to feel like they are fully taken care of with each visit to the site and that is our job to make sure they walk away with a new discovery made, a great adventure had, and an enhanced view and knowledge of their beloved city.