Retail Convergence Launches Private Sale Site enables retailers and wholesalers to offer consumers exclusive access to discount merchandise.

E-commerce company Retail Convergence is providing retailers and wholesalers with several methods of running two-day online private sales using the site.

Retail Convergence announced April 24.

"There are three different ways retailers and brands can work with RueLaLa," said Retail Convergence CEO Ben Fischman. "The retailer can sell merchandise directly to us and we handle the sale from our warehouse, they can integrate with our drop-ship platform, or they can perform what we call a -quick ship,' where we conduct an event and they ship the goods to the customers the moment the event is completed."

Mark Carleo, chief technology officer of Retail Convergence, detailed how the drop-ship and quick-ship options work.

"Retailers who don't work with us on a regular basis or have direct-to-consumer sales capability can upload their inventory and pull orders from our merchandise management system through a structured portal for drop shipping," Carleo said. "If they work with us on a regular basis or lack direct-to-consumer capability, they can perform data exchange using EDI [electronic data interchange] or EDI-like communications for purchase orders and customer orders for quick shipping."

Fischman said Retail Convergence offers a variety of integration points to make using RueLaLa as easy and flexible as possible for retailers.

"Most importantly, it's a membership-only private sale," he said. "We offer the opportunity to sell merchandise at a unique, exceptional value without publicizing it. The brand controls the interaction with the customer."

To that end, Fischman said Retail Convergence works closely with retailers to ensure proper brand experience and customer experience on the site.

"In the walled garden, we control who gets in, when they get in and what they see when they get there," Fischman said. "The only way to become a member is to be recommended by another member. This brings in the incredibly powerful tool of peer-to-peer marketing. The urgency is like nothing you've seen before."

James Tenser, principal of retail and brand marketing technology consulting firm VSN Strategies, said RueLaLa could be a useful vehicle for "friends and family" sales that can move excess merchandise without undermining price image.

"The controlled nature of the platform could allow manufacturers and retailers to make it a preferred alternative to traditional end-of-season markdowns or emptying warehouses into the gray market," Tenser said.

The viral peer-to-peer marketing aspect of RueLaLa is interesting, according to Tenser.

"I sometimes get -friends and family' sale notices forwarded in my e-mail, and I often send them on to others," he said. "If RueLaLa proves it can move sufficient volume, it just may catch on."

Carleo said security measures for the site include full end-to-end encryption, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) authentication protocol, password and ID protection, and other internal mechanisms.

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out's Retail Site.