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Partnership With Gilt City Shows Google’s New Focus On High-End Shoppers

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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is collaborating with discount luxury network Gilt City as it looks to expand its Google Offers deals service. The partnership comes as the search giant has been adding a number of new coupon features and retailers to its mobile payments product, Google Wallet.

The tie-up between Google Offers and Gilt City is considered a “first step” in a larger arrangement between Gilt Groupe and Google.

The deal with Gilt provides a sense of where Google’s deals are headed. Essentially, the implication is that Google feels it best to focus on high-end shoppers as opposed to a broader range of consumers. Unlike most of the social shopping sites that have sprung up, Gilt Groupe doesn’t aim to be a “daily deals” program. It sees itself as a curator of a limited number of”exclusive” deals, rather than offering an endless array of bargains.

Where Groupon sales can go on for an unspecified period, Gilt City offers at least three sales in every market every week at varying times depending on the location. The sales remain online for seven days, or until the limited supplies run out. Since starting up in 2007, when it was singularly known as an invitation-only site for discounted luxury women’s apparel and accessories, Gilt has started business lines in home furnishings, kids, men’s attire. It also
has a vacation travel site called Jetsetter.

The popularity of Gilt City and its exclusive positioning should help Google gain some acceptance with its new commerce efforts, especially considering the lackluster reception past projects like Google Checkout have tended to be viewed with. The deal also represents one of the first major partnerships Gilt City has signed since bringing on former content syndicator Mochila exec Caroline Bekkedahl as chief revenue officer in July.

The Google and Gilt City partnership launches in the San Francisco Bay Area and is expected to be rolled out to Gilt’s other dozen or so cities over the next few months.