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Posted 8 Jun 2012

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Case Study Redefining the Designer Shopping Experience with Pinned Sites

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8 Jun 2012CPOL6 min read
Case Study Redefining the Designer Shopping Experience with Pinned Sites

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Gilt is an invitation-only lifestyle site that offers highly coveted products and experiences at insider prices. Each day, Gilt provides its members with a new, curated selection of merchandise, including apparel, accessories and lifestyle products for women, men and children, home entertaining and decor, along with luxury travel packages and fantastic offers on local services and experiences. Most sales start at noon ET and last only 36 hours, making Gilt an addictive destination for aspirational shoppers from coast to coast.

To manage their rapid site content turnaround, Gilt needs modern browser features that grab customer attention at the point-of-sale. It needs to be fast. 10,000+ members will hit the site in the first minute with intent to purchase. Through Pinned Sites, they delivered a better web experience and got more measureable results from them.  Users that pinned the site did more of what Gilt wants them to do:

  • Visited 39% more often
  • Added 160% more items to their shopping cart
  • Completed 45% more sales transactions

That’s why Gilt measures "fast" in terms of customer access and satisfaction. See the video on how Esther Park, Senior Product Manager at Gilt, says it.

You can take advantage of pinning features in 15 minutes of dev time by going to  Links in this case study will take you directly to specific MSDN Pinned Sites sections to learn specifically how to create a similar experience like Gilt with Code Samples and Demos.


Timing is key to Gilt’s success. Gilt’s customers are trend-setters and influentials. Their customers want fast access to the browsing experience, so they can score that dress they’ve always wanted. They demand great quality at value prices in a personalized "must-have" shopping experience. Today’s web browser is sufficient to deliver the content and complete a secure transaction but it relies on the customer proactively visiting the site. By the time this happens, the current sale may be already over. Other emerging technology channels like mobile and social posting are valuable complimentary experiences that build loyalty but they are less immersive than the core site experience on the PC, which is where most purchases occur.

Gilt’s "ideal" customer experience would be more like this:

Image 1

Trina prides herself on being "in the know" and being a trendsetter amongst her friends. Her home town of Boston is trendy in fashion but it’s not quite like the New York shopping experience she would long for. She found Gilt when one of her former college friends "liked" it and now she loves it! But she’s busy and sometimes she misses out on the best sales. On her work PC, she pinned Gilt to her Taskbar. Now, Gilt notifies her when a sale happens. For 5-10 minutes a day during her lunch break, she can be a designer label shopper and shake the work stress for a few minutes. Sometimes she even buys that handbag for a "steal." The next day, she tracks the shipping at one-click and reads Gilt’s fashion blog. And there’s always today’s sale to check-out too.

Developers at Gilt look for features that run clean and simple in platforms that their customers use every day. The designer products and shopping experience should stand out and the technologies that enable them should not. Success means getting the customer to engage quickly for the core sales experience. That means designing a site that supports the pre-sale and post-sale as well as social experiences that build membership and loyalty.

Gilt chose IE9 as their primary standard for the "modern web" because of how they measures success in terms of user access and satisfaction. Pinned Sites features were key differentiators in the decision-making process because they brought their members back into the experience when a new sale hits.


Gilt made a designer site experience to match their designer products. It feels "fast" because:

Members are Primed for the Sale – Members of Gilt visit often. They read the Gilt Blog for fashion trends. Sales run daily. So, Gilt Favicons feature a slick GiltMAN logo personalized for men’s style. Women get the classic Gilt logo. About half of consumer usage of the PC is outside the browser. Now, Gilt’s brand is always visible on the members’ Taskbar. It’s one-click away.

A Sale Hits – The Taskbar flashes the Gilt logo when a sale starts. Members are ready for it. Their best 36-Hour Sales sell-out within 15 minutes! Seconds matter, because 10,000+ members hit the site within that minute to purchase. Inventory sells out quickly. Those that pinned the site have an advantage.

Image 2

Members Come Back Often – Members want to track their purchase. They want to know if an item they missed is back in-stock. Gilt also displays new offers through Gilt City and Jetsetter part of their growth strategy. Static Jump Lists provide a great solution with quick access for members. Dynamic Jump Lists track the last 10 viewed products.

Image 3

E-Commerce and the Modern Browser

Success to Gilt is about great customer access and satisfaction. They wanted their site to inspire their members and be different than many of the "utility-like" e-commerce sites.

Customer Value

  • Visited 39% more often
  • Added 160% more items to their shopping cart
  • Completed 45% more sales transactions

Site Experience Benefits

  • Built their brand and grew membership loyalty
  • Created an inspiring experience that grabs the member at the point-of-sale
  • Built a "faster" experience, getting members what they wanted

Visit Gilt and See It In Action

Gilt in IE9 is a great example of the new experiences that are possible with sites at the center. Members get what they want quickly without the browser getting in the way. Learn more about how to take advantage of Pinned Sites with code samples.

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Image 4

The Gilt Groupe

Launched in November 2007, Gilt Groupe has rapidly established itself as one of the leading online fashion and travel retailers in the US. Gilt curates a broad range of daily sales for its exclusive, invitation-only membership. Each sale lasts just 36 hours and features many of the world's most sought-after designers. Gilt Groupe is headquartered in New York.

Image 5

Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 9

Start Building for a More Beautiful Web. You are the designers, architects, and visionaries of the web. Our goal is to give you the tools you need to build richer, more immersive websites. This Case Study is one of many that illustrates a great site experience optimized for IE9. Discuss and engage more on this topic through the Exploring IE Blog or by @IE on Twitter


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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