Gilt, the #1 US luxury flash sales club, has launched a Facebook fan-store offering fans early access to flash sales and special Facebook fan-exclusives.  Every Monday, each of Gilt’s main departments – Women, Men, Home and Children will offer a special fan-first or fan-only Facebook exclusive.  Member fans can login with their Gilt credential and buy directly on Facebook.  Like Burberry’s sample-store that we featured yesterday, the Gilt fan-store is simple, slick and smart – as all e-commerce goodness in social media should be.

Offering exclusive experiences is a key and proven word of mouth driver, so by offering Facebook fans exclusives and special previews, Gilt will boost the word of mouth referral value of its members.

Going beyond the futility of simply replicating your e-commerce store in Facebook, offering fan-first and fan-only Facebook exclusives is smart – giving the Gilt fan-store a veritable raison-d’etre.  And what we particularly like is that Gilt has worked hard to recreate a user experience within Facebook that matches the exclusivity and prestige that the brand seeks to command.  Early f-commerce experiences delivered something akin to a social media equivalent of the mobile WAP site.  Functional but hardly a brand-building experience… Today f-commerce is maturing, and consumers and brands will rightly expect an experience on Facebook that matches that on any other digital property.

One build we’d consider if we were working with Gilt would be to monetize the increased word of mouth generated by their fan-store, for example by integrating it further with Gilt’s member-get-member program. For example, liberating a trick or two from group-buy platform LivingSocial, Gilt could offer incentives if friends join and buy from Facebook fans-store flash sale exclusives. Likewise, Gilt could build on the special relationship engendered by fan-stores, and invite fans to vote on which brands future flash sales should involve.  By engaging fans as ‘special advisors’ Gilt would drive brand affinity, loyalty and further boost advocacy.