Insider Q&A: Zulily looks beyond childrenвЂ™s clothing
NEW YORK вЂ” Zulily has gone from selling mostly childrenвЂ™s clothing to offering items from pillows to designer purses to chicken coops. Now, the site geared to young moms has its eye on doggy treats, electronics and goods that need to be reordered frequently, like toilet paper and paper towels.
The site, which is owned by the parent company of home shopping network QVC, has also been creating videos through Facebook Live, showing its followers how to use hair extensions, makeup or other products it sells.
Not everything has changed at Zulily. While some flash-sale sites have stumbled, it is still deal-focused and adds new products every morning that typically disappear 72 hours later, making shoppers feel the need to buy an item before itвЂ™s gone. It had 6.1 million active customers at the end of March, up 24 per cent from the year before.
The siteвЂ™s chief merchant and interim president, Lori Twomey, talked with The Associated Press about other moves at Zulily, why it launched a credit card and how itвЂ™s using Facebook to connect with shoppers. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.
Q: How is Zulily different than Amazon?
A: I think about Amazon as a place to go when I need something. Zulily is more about getting up at 6 a.m., getting my coffee and going to Zulily to see what itвЂ™s selling. The shopper doesnвЂ™t know that sheвЂ™s coming to Zulily to buy something, but she knows she wants to see whatвЂ™s on the site.
Q: Is there something you wouldnвЂ™t sell on Zulily?
A: We havenвЂ™t said no to a lot. WeвЂ™re not going to sell live chickens, but weвЂ™ll sell chicken coops. WeвЂ™re not in the business of selling cars, but it doesnвЂ™t necessarily mean that we might not one day decide to do that.
Q: Do customers shop on their phones or computers?
A: Seventy per cent of our business comes from mobile.
Q: What new categories are you looking to add?
A: WeвЂ™re just starting to look at the pet business and serve up the products that customers are looking for вЂ” collars, food, treats, leashes, toys, beds. I want to expand our electronics business and we are expanding our health and beauty business, such as fragrances, skincare and makeup.
Q: Zulily launched a credit card last fall. Why?
A: It helps us with loyalty. We can give customers things like free shipping promotions or we might give them an extra discount. We immediately got 100,000 credit card holders by the end of the year.
Q: Zulily has been posting a lot of Facebook Live videos. Why?
A: One thing thatвЂ™s really important for us this year is to reach the shopper where she is. WeвЂ™ve done 500 segments on Facebook Live, reaching more than 50 million customers. ItвЂ™s all hosted by Zulily employees.
Q: ThereвЂ™s a Facebook Messenger chatbot, too. Why do that?
A: ItвЂ™s customer service, you donвЂ™t have to call in and chat with a representative. It sends out order notifications. It kind of gives them that one-on-one interaction.