Kind: Shark
Platform: iOS/Android
Version: 5.1.2 iOS 4.0.8 Android
Rating: 4.5 iOS 4.0 Android
AppScore™: C
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Teardown: Gilt iOS & Android App

Guilt was one of the first and fastest growing “flash sales” sites launched back in 2007. Its initial focus on limited time deeply discounted fashion items targeted at women made it the darling of the startup world, but subsequent expansion into less profitable niches, combined with general email fatigue (the main way in which flash sales were promoted) put the kibosh on a planned IPO. The company was sold for $250M in 2016, less than the company had raised from investors overall.

As usual, let’s highlight the good, the bad and the noteworthy. If you want more details you can order a detailed version of this report at the end.


The apps (we reviewed both the iOS and Android apps), are solid, but far from overwhelming. The sites history of flash sales and deep discounts show through and overall the apps are pretty solid, but some obvious glitches mar the overall experience. Candidly we would have expected a more polished product, which accounts for the lowish AppScore of 72.

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The Good

The core business model of Gilt is to sell you things RIGHT NOW and at a deep discount. One feature in particular that is persuasive in that regard is giving prominence to the number of items left for an item at a given price:

Effective for sure.

The Bad

Our pet peeve here at Octopus Mercantile is cross platform development where the shortcuts of that approach bleed into the customer experience:

We understand that a “build once, distribute everywhere” saves companies significant development resources, but might we suggest that some of those savings get spent on better cross platform QA?

The Noteworthy

It’s probably not too far a stretch to say that Gilt inspired the launch of Groupon a year after Gilt launched, so it’s pretty interesting to see how the current Gilt app has incorporated a per-city, groupon-like experience:

Interesting, though we do question whether the deals actually detract from the overall brand that Gilt promotes.


Overall, a reasonable app by a brand that certainly has had some of the shine taken off. Clearly some corner cutting has been done on the engineering front, but then as the original Gilt never became profitable, that’s probably understandable.

Author: Emily Gomez & Einar Vollset, Corresponding Author:


For each teardown we collect over 200 data points, including UX best practices, search capabilities, payment integrations as well as re-engagement tactics and social/engagement features. Each teardown includes an overall score, along with the score for each of the 20+ categories we collect data under. We then provides either video and/or slideshow content of the actual app, highlighting important parts of the app along with particularly good, bad or surprising functionality.