Discount shoppers were pleased to hear that the largest shopping mall operator in the US joined forces with an online discount retailer to take Premium Outlet shopping to the next level.
Simon Property Group got into an unconventional partnership with Rue Gilt Groupe, the parent brand of Rue La La, to launch a new website that takes the outlet mall experience online.
ShopPremiumOutlets.com is meant to make outlet shopping more easily accessible for those who don’t live close to outlet malls. Online shoppers can find discounted products from more than 2,000 brands.
Among the first major brands that signed on were Aeropostale, Cole Haan, G.H. Baas & Co., Nautica, Saks Off 5th and Under Armour. The website, which has been in beta testing since March, claims to be the ultimate online destination with currently 300,000 products available and more to come.
Giant’s partnership for fashion
Simon paid $280 million for a 50% stake in Rue Gilt Groupe. Simon also pledged to use a slice of its gigantic $100 million-plus annual marketing budget to promote the new website.
The website will be run by Rue Gilt Groupe, which is a merger of two online discount and flash-sale websites, Rue La La and Gilt, owned by billionaire Michael Rubin. By doing so, it will earn a commission on every sale made on the platform. For Rue Gilt Groupe, it’s a great chance to be a more dominant player in the online discount space.
From bricks to virtual store
In an interview with JCK News, David Simon explained his visionary plan: “We believe online value shopping presents a tremendous business opportunity for Simon, given our credibility, trust, and relationships with brands, retailers, and shoppers.” The idea of creating a new marketplace for off-price merchandise emerged after declining foot traffic to its outlet malls. It was just the right time for the outlet mall giant, which has remained stubbornly offline, to diversify its business and take a plunge into the e-commerce boom.
“When you put the physical and the online world together, sales for both go up,” David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, declared for Forbes. “This gives us an opportunity to create an online platform that shoppers can go to between visits to the outlets,” he said. The advantages of the website, besides being an additional channel for acquiring new customers, is that it will help unload excess inventory.