Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=210687
Story Retrieval Date: 12/22/2014 1:29:17 PM CST

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John Burfisher/MEDILL

Shoppers are turning to the Internet to find fashion deals. Hipiti.com launched Tuesday, a new site that aggregates daily deals for the consumer.


Sleek new website finds the sales for you

by John Burfisher
Nov 13, 2012


An overcrowded inbox piled high with daily deals and discounts is all too familiar for today’s fashionistas. A new site launched Tuesday is trying to take that flood of emails and turn them into a cohesive look at the best deals and rank them according to past offers.

Tuesday marked the launch of Hipiti.com. It is a website that aggregates daily deals from online retailers such as Gilt Group and Neiman Marcus and consolidates them into a single platform. Instead of having to sift through sales on individual websites, customers save time by finding the information at a single glance.

Hipiti’s goal is to help women eliminate information overload from retailers, according to Northwestern alumnus and Hipiti co-founder Rama Katkar. Her business partner is Kristin Kranias. “We are delivering the most relevant information,” said Katkar.

In addition to grouping deals, Hipiti goes one step further by evaluating the retailers’ sales. Hipiti’s rating system tells the consumer how “good” the sale is based on the retailer’s past deals and other factors such as trends and similar stores’ discounts. The service is available either through a website or through daily emails. Users can personalize their online dashboard or emails by choosing their favorite stores, further cutting down on clutter.

Katkar and Kranias both have extensive backgrounds in retail. Katkar was an investor in retail and software for 10 years and Kranias was a principal at Bain Capital focusing on retail and e-commerce. The two began aggregating data and information from retailers’ pages, emails, Twitter and Facebook feeds in the first-quarter of 2012. Their historical data measures what sales each retailer had during the year and how often they have sales. The data goes back two years and covers 150 top retailers.

“We have already affiliate relationships with 40 percent of our retailers. We are growing these relationships,” said Katkar. If a customer makes a purchase from one of these retailers after following a link from Hipiti, the site gets a percentage of that purchase.

The two founders met in business school at Stanford. After working at their respective jobs, the two were able to save enough money and fund Hipiti as a startup. The two launched their beta site in July, and after attracting several thousand users the company was able to launch Tuesday.

Twenty-five-year-old Haley Levine is a frequent receiver of emails from Internet shopping sites. “I like the idea of only one e-mail and getting everything at once. I think it would depend on them narrowing out the stuff that I like.”

After checking out the Hipiti site, Levine noticed that there were deals from Saks Fifth Avenue as well as Bath & Body Works, two very different retailers. That gave her pause. “If it targeted the places I frequent, I would use it a lot,” Levine said. “Someone who shops at Saks Fifth Avenue does not shop at Bath & Body Works.”

Online “flash deals” or “sample sales” have become very popular in recent years. Companies such as Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and HauteLook Inc. have changed the way people shop by allowing them to quickly filter designer offerings by size and then buy them directly.

Gilt Groupe is currently preparing for its initial public offering and HauteLook was purchased for nearly $270 million by Nordstrom last year.