A "flash sale" is a limited-time discount on a product or service sold by retailers to offload surplus stock either directly or, more commonly, through members-only flash sale sites. Flash sales differ from daily deals in that users purchase a final product rather than a voucher which they must go to the merchant and redeem.
Historical perspective: Online sample sale site Gilt Groupe made its debut with its free iPad application in April 2011. Users and buyers can access the iPads through flash sales apparatuses directly from the device. The application allows a buyer to receive real-time sale alerts, check upcoming sales and receive an instant Gilt membership when the application is downloaded. The application’s shopping cart is always visible and allows members to quickly touch and drag desired items into their shopping carts.
Here are a few of the best websites for private flash sales:
LuxeYard.com - Features “cyber pop-up shops” that offer steep limited-time discounts on home-decor items as well as men’s and women’s fashions.
US.VentePrivee.com - The new U.S. offshoot of the European site that pioneered online private sales a decade ago. It runs members-only online sales daily, in categories from fashion to electronics.
Zulily.com and TheMiniSocial.com _Great for kids’ and mom-friendly clothing.
C21Stores.com - Stages private online sales that provide discounts of up to 65 percent on designer clothes and accessories. It was created by the New York City–based department store Century 21.
Modnique.com - Features markdowns as big as 85 percent off high-end fashions. “On a recent visit, we found Diane von Furstenberg dresses for 71 percent off.