Zulily is changing its commercial strategy to highlight major brands


“We don’t want to be a list of products. We want to elevate the collections of great brands and great products that will make it easy and fun,” said Courtney Kissler, Chief Technology Officer.

Zulily previously offered around 100 flash sales for 72 hours which would be delivered to customers via data-driven advertising on its homepage and social media channels. Many participating brands were boutique or little known. Now, the platform has launched individual pages for more than 300 brands at prices that will stick – and it’s emphasizing working with big-name brands. But the new strategy continues to focus on deep discounts — one of Zulily’s key competitive advantages over e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart.

The shift comes as discretionary spending evolves and affects brands like Zulily: Second-quarter earnings for Zulily’s parent brand, Qurate, showed a year-over-year revenue decline of 45%, from $397 million to $220 million. The company cited supply chain constraints and marketing inefficiencies that led to fewer customers; it also underwent corporate restructuring and left a distribution center.

But Zulily is betting his new strategy will appeal to inflation-weary shoppers hungry for bargains. In August, Zulily commissioned a survey of 1,000 US-based mothers and found that 72% said they felt price increases on essentials like groceries and gas.

Kissler said the new brand-focused strategy aims to help the company increase lifetime value and re-engage customers. Before, Zulily’s flash sales could be a unique offer. But the new, brand-specific stores will have fixed inventory and pricing, meaning “Mom can always count on those collections from brands she loves,” Kissler said.

She said brand-focused stores also aim to make shopping convenient – ​​around three-quarters of shoppers order on mobile.

“We really want to make it something that’s really fun and that takes into account the digital fatigue that everyone is feeling, and do less and more about, ‘How do I know that I can make a good decision and have confidence in my decision ? ?”

To highlight new deals, the top of Zulily’s homepage is now anchored by a rotating carousel showcasing the best brands and offers. Below, a drop-down row of brand names links to a mini-store for each company. In the previous version of the site, the homepage featured an assortment of daily deals without any brand-centric curation.

Zulily declined to provide information on the breakdown of sales between the company and the more than 300 brands sold on its website, citing contractual terms. But Kissler said participating brands choose which products and how many to offer on Zulily — some brands offer around 100 products, while others offer nearly 2,000. The site offers a way to sell excess inventory that can have accumulated due to recent supply chain issues, she said.

“We’re perfectly positioned to be a great partner for many of these brands because it’s a place where we can help them,” she said.

Kissler said Zulily will market the new site through email and social strategies, as well as influencer marketing plans.

Gerard Szatvanyi, president and CEO of OSF Digital, a global e-commerce consultancy, said the trend is to have marketplaces focused on a particular industry or need – and increasingly it is. more common for children’s items. Zulily’s push to offer better-known brands shows they are listening to their customers, Szatanyi said, because many parents are brand-driven.

“They’ve worked with their customer base to understand what they want and how they can provide a much more meaningful response to their needs,” he said.

Offering a specialized, specific experience — in this case, popular brands at a discount — can give a business an edge over Amazon or other e-commerce retailers, Szatvanyi said.

“One of the downsides of Amazon is that they can’t customize and personalize the experience.
at a level that Zulily could reach, and that’s what makes a huge difference,” he said.

Kissler said Zulily aims to differentiate itself from other retailers by reducing decision-making with brand-based offerings presented as a collection, rather than individual items. And the company also relies on a combination of data-driven merchandisers and machine learning to advertise products based on trends, remaining inventory and top sellers.

“What we’re hearing from customers is that they want inspiration and a certain commitment that goes beyond ‘go to a retailer and look for something, find it and buy it,'” a- she declared. “So with us, you’ll get that extra attractive and curated collection.”


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