Inbox Insider: Exclusive communities help to move inventory

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E-mail is a great way to connect with communities. It's also an effective method for selling inventory through exclusive offers.

I recently signed up for Gilt Groupe's fashion e-mail newsletter, as well as the company's Jetsetter's newsletter. Both do a great job to build community and move inventory.

Gilt Groupe gives recipients exclusive sample sale offers from high-end designers for one day. Once the e-mail-driven sales begin in the morning, consumers have 24 hours to purchase the inventory. The next day, the process starts again with new items. It is a great way to give consumers a good deal and move excess inventory.

Consumers have to be invited to subscribe to the e-mails, but when members invite a friend, they get store credit for a purchase. Because the offers are so good, friends are likely to share them and get credit at the same time. All of the e-mails have the share-to-social function, which extends the viral nature of the marketing program.

Gilt Groupe has a similar travel service called Jetsetter. Those messages give recipients 48 hours to book an exclusive deal at a designer hotel. Like the fashion e-mails, consumers have to be invited. On the business side, the e-mails give established hotels a new way to fill empty rooms and new hotels a way to introduce themselves to consumers.

As an architecture fan and regular traveler, I love getting these e-mails, because I can learn about new hotels I'd like to visit. And being part of the community, I get a great price.

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