Gilt City Manages Crowd Flow With Timed Entry for Warehouse Sale

By D. Channing Muller July 30, 2012, 4:44 PM EDT

Nearly 1,400 people attended the sale for the V.I.P. preview on Friday night or one of the four sessions on Saturday.

Photo: Alfredo Flores Photography

Gilt City Warehouse Sale
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Gilt City returned to the Long View Gallery this weekend for its second Warehouse Sale in Washington, but this one featured a new format to manage the mass of bargain-seeking shoppers. Beginning with a V.I.P. Media preview for 200 on Friday night, the main sale took place on Saturday with four two-hour sessions of shopping to manage the sold-out crowd of 1,200 who came by throughout the day.

“We never want to compromise the member experience, so we don’t want it to get too overly crowded,” said event manager Erica Schaffer. “Having completed so many successful warehouse sales in the past, we determined that four sessions give our members the opportunity to shop throughout the day and if the first session sells out, we have three others they can attend.”

Based on the size of the venue, and knowing how much space the rolling racks and table setups would use, Schaffer determined that each session could host 300 people on Saturday comfortably allowing for movement to shop, access to the dressing rooms, and a smoothly operated line at the cash and wrap. DJ Aluko made announcements about 30 minutes before the end of each session for guests to conclude their shopping and check out.

“We’ve found that our members are usually finished in about two hours,” Schaffer said, “so the stragglers are welcome to stay, but usually most people are really out of there in time.”

To further ensure the day progressed without hiccups, Schaffer hired five additional retail staffers, for a total of 20 this year, from Two Dots Productions to work alongside the seven Gilt employees managing the event.

Fiji Water and PopChips returned as sponsors this year along with VeeV, VitaCoco, and Kind Bars, providing specialty drinks and snacks for guests as they shopped.

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