Gilt Ridden: When a Brand Goes From 10 to 10,000 Orders a Day
Remember that scene in The Matrix when all of those spider like robots were harvesting humans? Vaguely? Sure. Well, that’s sort of like what goes on in the Gilt Man warehouse in Andover, Massachusetts. In fact, it’s exactly like that. Minus the humans, the harvesting, the spider like robots and that weird goo-slash-perserver. The robots in the Gilt factory are more like little Wall-E’s. Okay, so picture Wall-E harvesting humans in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse. Now replace the humans with boxes of fresh Converse and folded Thom Browne cardigans. And to be fair, they’re not really harvesting anymore — now they’re just rolling around picking up some sneakers from Column A and sweaters from Column B. Why? Because it’s 12 noon and you, my friend, just hit one of seven or so sales that Gilt tempted you with today.
Yeah, we know what you’re doing in your cube at work. Big Brother can track your Internet history, remember? No big deal, your boss is doing the same, besides we can all multitask, right? Shit, I know I’ve “yes’ed” my mother to silence on the phone while shopping the Tomas Maier sale a while back. Back before Gilt Man was Gilt Man.
As the first of it’s kind, this men’s only virtual sample sale came from humble beginnings. It all started with two employees and a countless team of oompa-loompa-like workers hand-selecting, gift-wrapping and shipping your precious goods. Just look at them now. Growing from 10 orders per day to more than 10,000 per day. Seriously. Not even two years later, and the Gilt Man force has increased nearly ten fold and in place of the oompa-loompas is a fully automated factory making things happen. As an added bonus, the company hosts an insightful blog for men with style advice and designer interviews from one of the industry’s most respected style editors.
Here’s what happens. You skip your afternoon meeting. Shop that all-important sale and pay up to 70 percent off retail price for some designer goods. Let’s say you want to overnight that — well, because you’re going away for the weekend and new sneakers are necessity — Wall-E gets it. He understands your needs. So he gets a code that sends him directly to Column A instead of Column B. Wall-E then drops those sneakers into a box and off they go.
This is pretty much the first fully automated warehouse I’ve seen apart from car manufacturers. And even then, their robots are no where near as cute as the Gilt Man bots, or as productive. These guys are busy, thanks in part to your addiction to a good bargain. Think about it, e-commerce has not been around that long, but in a few short years, Gilt Group has changed the way we shop online and the way we receive those goods. A new day has dawned in the world of menswear and Gilt Man is leading the way in innovation, service and efficiency. So long oompa-loompas, hello Wall-E.
Keep robots employed. Shop giltman.com.
(This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of ANTENNA.)