Flash sale sites, in which a limited number of items are sold at discounted prices for a limited time, usually feature unique products from designers or manufacturers.
Jasmere.com, a flash sale website started in 2009, focuses instead on highlighting the items of individual retailers, adding another spin to the still-new sales model.
Jeremy Kugel and his wife, Katrina, say their eco-friendly company, which has just four employees, actively seeks out lesser-known retailers and give these small businesses an opportunity to give their products, and their names, exposure.
“We began Jasmere because we think these entrepreneurs shouldn't be limited by their minuscule marketing budget,” Jeremy Kugel said. “If they have a great product and a story that deserves to be told, we want to be there to tell it.”
The Kugels’ mission to help fellow entrepreneurs widen their consumer base started with a lot of research.
They tirelessly surfed the Internet for innovative companies to feature on Jasmere. Thanks to their own rapidly expanding customer base, which overwhelmingly consists of women and has been growing by over 5 percent per week since the company started, their search has become a little bit easier.
“We do a lot of listening. Everyone has a favorite site or two, and we get loads of suggestions from our ‘community,’ which is what we call our customers,” Kugel told BusinessNewsDaily. “We also get a lot of notes from merchants who want to be on our site.”
You might be wondering exactly what kinds of items are sold on Jasmere.com, which offers one item over a 24-hour period. That’s what sets the company apart: There’s virtually no limit to the variety of merchandise. One day the product might be a handmade purse; the next, organic truffles or fair-trade teas.
Jasmere employs a team of self-professed “shopaholics” to test and critique each product featured on the site, Kugel said.
“That's the big unknown on the Internet . You can't pick up, feel or taste the product. So how can you feel comfortable buying from a small online retailer that you've never heard of? By writing a genuine review based on firsthand knowledge, we give these lesser-known merchants more credibility and decrease the risk for our buyers,” Kugel said.
Best-sellers on Jasmere.com have included upscale, eco-friendly products, personalized items, and gourmet foods — products that, Kugel imagines, style-conscious moms would like for their families.
“We seek out products that appeal to upscale women, usually with kids at home,” said Kugel. “We're always asking, ‘Is that a product that women with good taste are going to go crazy for?’”
Thanks to social media sites, which serve as Jasmere’s exclusive means of advertising, the Kugels are able to take full advantage of the viral nature of the flash sale system. When customers make a purchase at Jasmere, they receive a link to post on their social network of choice, to “spread the word” about the item they’ve just bought.
Jasmere’s pricing model gives customers a big incentive to encourage friends to visit the site: the more people who buy, the lower the price for everyone. Because Jasmere doesn’t charge customers’ credit cards until a sale is over, all buyers pay the lowest price of the day.
While Kugel noted that the flash sale market is getting crowded with bigger sites that feature name-brand designer items, he said he’s not deterred.
“Our commitment is to work with the smaller companies, personally testing their products, telling their stories, creating relationships,” he said. “We're going to stick to that, and I think we'll be fine.”