Back in the day, marketers rolled out ad campaigns via traditional media – like TV and newspapers – to introduce new products to consumers. Marketers also turned to deep discount promotions to move products that weren’t selling. Now, technology and keen consumer interest in all things online means marketers are launching new product lines with a deep discount twist.

Flash sales and online sites like Gilt have been in the news these days. A distant cousin to the daily deal phenomenon, flash sales were all about getting consumers to purchase deeply discounted, often high-end, goods online. As these sites have become more popular, merchants are noticing that a flash sale can lead to new customers who keep coming back.

Claire Miller, writing for the New York Times, remarks that flash sale sites are combining editorial, advertising and e-commerce.  She suggests that weary consumers are happy to have someone make choices for them.

Because of consumer interest in flash sales, some marketers are now choosing to introduce new products using this channel. Volkswagen recently used Gilt to sell 3 of its new 2011 Jettas at a deep discount. This strategy generated  55,000 leads for the company. To some extent, the flash sales channel is a way for marketers to reach out to younger consumers. A Gilt promotion by Brooks Brothers yielded a lead pool in which 70% of the men were age 39 or younger.

Charlie Taylor, general manager of digital marketing for Volkswagen of America, says the flash sale strategy is all about buzz. For the website operator, as in the case of Gilt, Chairwoman Susan Lyne sees her role as giving consumers information and helping them make the best purchasing decision. For the merchants, it’s all about having another way to stand apart from the competition.

[Source: Miller, Claire Cain. Bargains on Flash Sale Sites Serve a Long-Range View. NYTimes.com. 20 Jun. 2011. Web. 29 Jun. 2011]