Luxury Site Sees Opportunities in Aha Moments
Austerity, recession, belt-tightening and bargains have become watchwords for retailers and consumers over the past few years. But have they destroyed the joy of shopping? The flash sale website Ahalife.com doesn’t think so and has opened its doors to shoppers who shop for the love of it, unconcerned about bargains or price, but looking for sheer, unadulterated, luxurious pleasure.
Ahalife’s signature sales point is "curation," recommendations from trusted advisers for wonderful products customers might otherwise struggle to find. Entrepreneur and founder, Shauna Mei, explained to New York Times reporter, Pamela Rickman, that she "offers niche products suggested by a variety of ‘trendsetters and tastemakers.’"
"Tastemakers" are said to include Diane von Furstenberg, Wendi Murdoch, Tina Brown, Tim Gunn and Lauren Bush.
Explaining why Aha differs from women’s magazines, she added, "I haven’t read print for three years and neither have my friends. … There’s a ton of content online, but it’s not curated. We can’t separate the good from the bad." Ms. Mei’s "aha!" moment has reportedly attracted investors from banks, management consultancies and luxury retailers.
Determined to avoid targeting anyone who might resemble a "frumpy" housewife, Aha’s products are largely imported, targeting big spenders aiming to be trendsetters. Excitement and inspiration to be tempted and spend are part of the deal, along with the actual products.
Like other flash sale sites, Aha features one offer a day from categories such as fashion, food, beauty, accessories, home décor, tech and travel. Aha’s business model is based on consignment buys rather than stockholding, with potential profits coming from a traditional wholesale/retail relationship.
Courtney Boyd Myers at thenextweb.com has joined numerous bloggers singing the site’s praises, especially the Influencer Network which enables users to share their experiences and gain rewards.
Market research included an April 1 Royal Wedding package complete with London hotel room, car, driver and other accessories for $25,000. Once a waiting list had established that demand existed, potential customers were told the offer was a joke and given a free gift. Ms Mei’s gift was a conviction that she had a viable (not a joke) concept.
- About – Ahalife
- Ahalife adds curation and social influence to sell luxury goods – thenextweb.com
- Offering web buyers a thrill of discovery – The New York Times
Discussion Questions: Is the joy of shopping enough incentive for a luxury website without any discounts or special offers? Does the value of ’curated’ selections work as well online as in high-end retail?