Gilt Groupe Vs. Rue La La: A Detailed Comparison Of The Discount Shopping Sites

Online flash sale websites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La offer designer brands at heavily discounted prices, but they also have some key differences that shoppers should understand.

This comprehensive guide examines the pros, cons, features, and FAQs of Gilt Groupe and Rue La La to help you determine which discount site is better for your needs.

A Brief Comparison Table

CategoryGilt GroupeRue La La
LocationNew York, NYBoston, MA
OwnershipIndependentOwned by J.C. Penney (since 2018)
Product varietyVery large, thousands of sales across many categoriesLarge variety but smaller selection than Gilt overall
Average discount50-70% off, sometimes up to 90%60-80% off typical
MembershipsFree and Gilt Insider paid optionFree and RueNOW paid option
Mobile appiOS and Android app with Apple Watch supportiOS and Android app only
Shipping policiesFree shipping for Insiders on $50+Free shipping on $100+ or with RueNOW
Return policyFree returns within 30 daysFree returns within 60 days
Rewards programNoneRueCredits points program
Community featuresNoneRue Threads (chat), Rue Edit blog

Overview of Gilt Groupe

Founded in 2007, Gilt Groupe was one of the first flash sale websites that offered limited-time sales on designer apparel, accessories, home goods and more at up to 60% off retail prices.

The New York-based company operates various niche shopping sites targeted to men, women, kids, home decor and travel enthusiasts.

Some key features of Gilt Groupe include:

Gilt Groupe
Gilt Groupe
  • Flash sales – New sales launch every day at 12PM EST with discounts on top brands that typically last 36 hours only.
  • Limited inventory – Products are available in limited quantities to create urgency around the sales. Once an item sells out, it is usually gone for good.
  • Members only – Shoppers must join as members (free) to access the sales and make purchases. This exclusive approach heightens the thrill of the hunt.
  • Curated sales – Each sale event is curated around a theme, brand or product category to make it easier to find relevant items.
  • Mobile app – Shop the flash sales anytime, anywhere right from iOS and Android apps. App-only sales are also offered.
  • Gilt Insider program – Pay an annual fee for early access to sales, free shipping and returns, and VIP customer service.

Overview of Rue La La

Founded in 2008, Rue La La takes a similar approach to flash sales but has a few unique features of its own. The Boston-based site was acquired by retailer J.C. Penney in 2018.

Key features of Rue La La include:

  • The Rue – A live online boutique that refreshes with new sales every weekday morning.
  • Limited quantities – Like Gilt, they only carry select amounts of each item to prompt fast purchases.
  • Premium memberships – In addition to free memberships, Rue La La offers RueNOW monthly subscriptions for perks like expedited shipping.
  • RueCredits rewards – Earn redeemable points on purchases that can be used during checkout. Gilt does not offer a rewards program.
  • Rue Threads – Chat with fellow members about products and share style advice. Gilt does not offer a social component.
  • Rue Edit blog – Get the latest fashion and style tips here. Gilt does have an online magazine as well.

Also Read: Comparison Between RBX Ans Reebok

Comparing the Pros and Cons

Now let’s break down the key pros and cons of Gilt Groupe and Rue La La across some major categories:

1. Product Selection

Gilt Groupe

  • Pros: Thousands of sales across a huge array of product categories like fashion, home, travel, kids, food and local. Their niche sites have specialized products tailored for men or women.
  • Cons: Inventory leans more toward women’s fashion and accessories versus a robust selection for men or children. Local deals are only available in a handful of cities.

Rue La La

  • Pros: While smaller than Gilt overall, they do carry an impressive variety of designer brands across categories like apparel, accessories, home goods, travel deals and more.
  • Cons: Products are geared more heavily toward women, with a smaller selection for men, kids, home items, etc. Compared to Gilt, the variety is noticeably smaller.

2. Website Experience

Gilt Groupe

Rue La La
  • Pros: The website has a sleek, upscale feel that matches the luxury product offering. Easy to browse and search for items. Website layout adjusts well for mobile.
  • Cons: Sale pages can sometimes be cluttered with items. The complexity of the various niche sites makes navigation a bit tricky.

Rue La La

  • Pros: Clean, visually appealing website design that makes shopping a pleasant experience. Easy to navigate and responsive mobile site.
  • Cons: “The Rue” page that refreshes daily can feel a bit cluttered and crowded. Fewer sorting/filtering options to refine searches.

3. Prices and Discounts

Gilt Groupe

  • Pros: Typical discounts are 50-70% off, but sometimes up to 90% off retail prices. “Final Reductions” can drop prices to $99 or lower. Frequent promo codes offered too.
  • Cons: Their “Insider Pricing” for Gilt Insider members can offer lower prices not available to regular members. Some items are listed above retail cost.

Rue La La

  • Pros: While discounts may not be quite as deep as Gilt, you can routinely find designer items for 60-80% off retail prices. RueCredits rewards help lower costs.
  • Cons: They do not promote discount percentages upfront, so the exact deal amount is unclear. Retail reference prices are not always provided either.

Also Read: Comparison Between Cotopaxi And Patagonia

4. Shipping and Return Policies

Gilt Groupe

  • Pros: Free shipping on orders $50+ for Gilt Insiders. Standard shipping is $5.95, express is $14.95. Free returns within 30 days.
  • Cons: Slow processing and shipping times. Can take 7-10 days to fulfill and ship an order.

Rue La La

  • Pros: Free standard shipping on orders $100+ or with RueNOW membership. Otherwise shipping is $4.95-$10.95 based on subtotal. Easy self-service returns up to 60 days later.
  • Cons: No expedited shipping options. Return shipping fee is deducted from refund amount.

Also Watch this review video:

5. Mobile App Experience

Gilt Groupe

  • Pros: Smooth, user-friendly app makes shopping the flash sales on-the-go easy. Apple Watch app allows impulse buying right from your wrist. App-only exclusives.
  • Cons: Push notifications can sometimes be excessive/annoying. Visually, the app lacks some vibrancy of the website.

Rue La La

  • Pros: Rue La La’s app brings the flash sales to your smartphone or tablet with a seamless interface. Easy to shop, browse and track orders.
  • Cons: No Apple Watch app. The app largely mimics the website rather than offering special mobile features.

6. Customer Service

Gilt Groupe

  • Pros: 24/7 live chat and phone support. Gilt Insiders get priority service. Knowledgeable agents provide personalized help.
  • Cons: Hold times can be long. Limited self-service options – no chatbot or online form for common issues.

Rue La La

  • Pros: 24/7 customer service via email, phone and chat. Agents are friendly and try to resolve issues. Answers usually come within a day.
  • Cons: Chat support is limited to weekdays only. Phone waits can be lengthy. Self-service is limited.

Also Read: Comparison Between FandEdge And Fanatics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some common questions shoppers have about Rue La La and Gilt Groupe:

Are Rue La La and Gilt the same?

No, Rue La La and Gilt Groupe are competitors in the online flash sale marketplace. They have similar business models but were founded separately and have distinct brand identities. Rue La La eventually became owned by retailer J.C. Penney, while Gilt Groupe remains independently run.

Does Rue La La sell authentic items?

Yes, the products sold on Rue La La are guaranteed to be 100% authentic from legitimate brand partners. As an invite-only site, they vet suppliers thoroughly. If you ever receive an item you suspect to be counterfeit, you can initiate a return.

Did Rue La La buy Gilt?

No. Gilt Groupe and Rue La La have operated as competitors since Rue La La was founded one year after Gilt’s launch. In 2016, Gilt Groupe was acquired by online retailer Hudson’s Bay Company for $250 million. Rue La La continues to run independently after being purchased by J.C. Penney in 2018.

What company owns Rue La La?

Rue La La was independently owned and operated from its founding in 2008 until 2018 when the company was acquired by U.S. department store retailer J.C. Penney. Under J.C. Penney, Rue La La still functions as its own separate entity but can leverage the parent company’s resources.

Also Read: Comparison Between T.J Maxx, Ross And Marshalls

The Verdict

When it comes to scoring exclusive discounts on fashion, accessories, home items and more, both Gilt Groupe and Rue La La are excellent choices. Gilt Groupe shines with larger product variety, deeper average discounts and a more upscale shopping experience. Rue La La counters with a more social, community-driven site and solid discounts of its own.

For shoppers focused solely on amazing deals on women’s designer clothing and accessories, Gilt Groupe takes the lead. Those who want a strong selection for men or home goods may prefer Rue La La. Both sites offer terrific mobile apps that allow on-the-go impulse shopping.

Overall, while Gilt Groupe edges out Rue La La in size and average savings, both bring real value to shoppers through their limited-time sales events featuring coveted brands at prices well below retail. It’s worth signing up for free memberships on both platforms to catch the very best designer deals as they come along.

1 thought on “Gilt Groupe Vs. Rue La La: A Detailed Comparison Of The Discount Shopping Sites”

  1. The information regarding RueLaLa and Gilt being separately operated is incorrect. RueLaLa purchased Gilt in 2019 (if my memory serves correct). Reference the article from Inc. detailing this purchase. Also, their merchandise offered is now exactly the same, so even though they retained separate apps and company names they function identically. Perhaps it might be worth a revisit to update.


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