I became a member of Gilt.com, via an invitation from Gwyneth Paltrow no less!
Gilt.com is a members only shopping site set up to recreate the buzz of a New York sample sale but online – you have to be a member to join (by invitation only), each “sale” of a particular brand lasts 36 hours, starting at a fixed time of day with limited availability – first come, first served. Each sale is previewed a few days before and there are 5-10 different sales live at any one time. Typically a lot of products will show as sold out, but you can join a waiting list.
Prices are typically half the RRP, and I suspect the same bargains are probably available elsewhere online. In addition you may have to wait 2-6 weeks for delivery. But that’s not the point – the site is using exclusivity and limited availability to create a real buzz, and avoiding the need for traditional online marketing. Very clever!