The e-commerce website Zulily has catapulted to more than one billion dollars in yearly sales in fewer than four years. Zulily focuses mostly on parents as its major clients, and it sells clothing for women and children as well as home décor through flash discounts. Recently, the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company conducted an investigation into the business strategy utilized by Zulily and the reasons why it is successful in spite of the many challenges it faces. The success of Zulily can teach us a lot about e-commerce, including the following seven takeaways.
Something completely new:
In order to promote new products on a regular basis, the website engages in a promotional tactic known as a “flash sale.” Customers get a sense of excitement from this, as well as the possibility of making new discoveries. Experiment with showcasing a new product or service on your homepage on a daily basis and cycling through a variety of images to see what works best for your business.
Sensation of necessity:
During sales, customers are put under additional stress to make a quick decision because the promotions typically only last for a maximum of three days. Customers are encouraged to make purchases they otherwise might not have made when they are led to believe that there are limited supplies of an item. You could try advertising a limited-time promotion in which customers can purchase one item at a reduced price.
The assortment of products sold on Zulily is mostly comprised of unique, high-quality items that are not sold anywhere else. Try: Locating unusual sources of the product, such as local artists or crafters located in other countries.
Longer than usual transit times
Zulily’s success demonstrates that buyers are prepared to wait for things that they truly want if they can also get a fantastic price on them. This is true despite the current uproar around same-day or one-day shipping. Two to three weeks (yes, weeks!) is the typical amount of time that it takes for the company’s products to be shipped. Try: I don’t mean to imply that you should make sluggish shipping your goal (many of Zulily’s customers become angry when the company takes too long to ship their orders). Nevertheless, if you can discover something else of value to offer customers, you won’t be as dependent on how quickly they receive their orders (or worry about keeping up with Amazon).
Zulily deftly combines things that are used up quickly (such as children’s clothing, which children outgrow frequently and therefore require to be replaced) with products that are less urgent, such as adorable toys, accessories for mothers, and home decoration. Hence, a mother who is on the market for new shoes for her son may also come across a decorative pillow for the family room or a scarf for herself and make the decision to add both of these items to the shopping basket as well. Provide products likely to elicit impulsive purchases at checkout. How about making a recommendation for a dog toy, dog collar, or dog bed on your e-commerce site to a customer who has just purchased dog food from you?
IT inventory: just in time inventory
Because Zulily waits to place an order for a product from a supplier until the end of a transaction, the company always has the perfect amount of product on hand and never has an excess supply. Moreover, the company does not permit returns; hence, there is no surplus inventory to manage. Try: Find out how your company can cut costs associated with warehousing and inventory by employing the drop-shipping method.
Instead of using stock images that are provided by the vendors, nearly all of Zulily’s product shots are taken in-house by Zulily’s own photographers. This results in a more opulent appearance for the daily email sent out by the company as well as the website. Customers spend an average of nearly ten minutes on the website during each visit since it is less like scrolling through an ecommerce site and more like viewing a beautifully photographed catalog. As a result, it is not surprising that customers do so. Consider: Hiring a professional photographer (or developing the skills of an employee already on staff) to take photographs of at least the products that are displayed on the homepage of your website.
The overwhelming majority of Zulily’s customers are dissatisfied with the quality of the items that they have purchased from the company, as indicated by the consumer rating of 2.62 stars out of a possible 5, based on 4,498 reviews. Customers who are unhappy with Zulily typically highlight issues with store credit, the return process, and the low quality of the product as the primary reasons for their dissatisfaction. When compared to the other websites that offer Daily Deals, Zulilyv comes in at number seven.