At the end of 2008 we are way past the online presence debate: with majority of the fashion designers and leading luxury brands accepting the advantages of online products offering, now it’s all about building the online shopping experience.

Many online retailers turn into creating an online “shopping events” these days, which have limited window opportunity to score highly discounted goods.

Neiman Marcus has run a two days only shopping event early in November, offering their subscribed consumers 40% off on new designer items. While there is no official numbers on the sales increase during the promotion time, I would assume creating urgency similar to that of a real store closing its doors at 6pm would do the trick of sales boosting. 

BlueFly took the concept even further with their new limited time sale feature called The Quickie, launched earlier this month. Blue Fly shoppers were offered highly discounted Prada wallets, for 2 hours only. The concept, borrowed from the exclusive invite-only sales sites like Gilt, Ideeli and Rue La La has definitely a future in the “traditional” e-commerce world and goes in line with the recession economy.

If I had to make my 2009 e-commerce trend prediction – this will be the one to watch. Considering the fact that most online retailers like Saks, Nordstrom, eLuxury, BlueFly and Neiman Marcus are already equipped with the necessary technology, have the merchandise in stock and most importantly loyal customer base, it will be easy to incorporate these timed exclusive sale experiences into their daily routine.

This move might create a very competitive environment for almost 20 exclusive invite-only sales sites existing today in the US only. Returning customers are a high reward, and is worth “fighting” for. At the bottom line – we, online shoppers, will be the most rewarded from the competition.