Since Zulily launched in 2010, we’ve been laser-focused on moms as our primary customer, to the extent that our original tag line was: “Daily Deals for Moms, Babies and Kids.” Just as the original intent of the internet was to democratize information, e-commerce was designed to democratize deals.
From the beginning, we set out to capture the attention of shoppers who enjoyed browsing and discovering products in their everyday life, during their respite and discretionary time. Our premise was to inspire those shoppers to buy things they had not yet realized they wanted (this is in contrast to directed product search – e.g., a shopper searches for something specific, like “red fire truck toy”) and verticalized e-commerce where there’s one category focus, such as Home, Toys or Shoes.
As we grew rapidly, we expanded to other categories, recognizing that our highly loyal and passionate customers shopped across categories. This meant that our platform’s stickiness became valuable to other household name brands and small boutique brands that wanted to reach millions of moms, but still required differentiation within an online retail experience. We continue to provide a unique opportunity to brands – both big and small – to co-exist together. We even make a brand a “hero for the day” using machine learning, data science, and marketing customization to help them reach a personalized audience that’s most likely to engage and purchase their product.
Understanding the “Mom-Economy”
Brands have always turned to Zulily because of our significant number of coveted customers – moms. Economically, moms steer their families’ purchases as they research products, shop for themselves and their families, and make countless decisions when it comes to budgeting and spending. In some sense, they are the CEOs of the U.S. economy. Zulily’s remit is to understand what moms want and need in real time – and to reduce friction wherever possible – so their shopping experience is fun, relevant, and reduces decision fatigue.
What Makes Her Tick
Over the years, Zulily has gathered and tracked feedback from moms via focus groups, surveys, interviews, and deep analytic insights. We recently learned that moms are facing digital fatigue. Once a source of pleasure, shopping has become yet another item on their overwhelming to-do lists, and the selection is endless. As a result, moms desire a shopping experience they’ll enjoy, and one that makes their lives easier and more satisfying.
The fundamental reality is that there has always been pressure on moms – whether it’s from a lack of time, expanded responsibilities at work and in the home, or the need to stay within a budget. In fact, there’s a tremendous surge of personal, societal, and situational pressure that influences moms’ purchasing motivations and behaviors. Several prominent issues emerged from our findings:
1) Moms juggle a busy schedule and are short on time
Moms are notoriously busy. Seventy-four percent of moms with kids in their households said they sometimes or often feel too busy to enjoy life. They need to make the most of their time, so they look for ease and convenience, especially when it comes to shopping. To maximize the time she has with us, we debuted new virtual brand experiences to ensure the most relevant and useful product information is easily accessible to moms, so they don’t need to research elsewhere. In addition, we can flex to inventory strategies that are both deeply discounted (for our limited-time deals) and always-on (for our basics and essentials that moms want and need to shop – when they want, as opposed to when we want them to).
2) Moms strive to maintain quality of life on a budget
In a survey of 1,000 U.S. moms, they make it clear that they want to maximize their budgets – and Zulily aims to help. In general, 68% of moms are more likely to always look out for special offers, and nearly half are likely to be consumed with getting the best deal for the products they purchase. While deal-seekers look for value in price, they don’t want to trade off quality.
Now, exacerbated by record-breaking inflation, it’s no surprise that 92% of moms say inflation has greatly affected their household spending. They’re feeling the “inflation pinch” mostly on day-to-day essentials, like groceries and gas (72%), followed by discretionary spending on vacations, entertainment and dining out (25%), as well as on gifting occasions. In fact, 81% report that inflation will impact the way they spend this holiday season, with 33% saying they’ll buy fewer gifts this year.
Our three new shopping experiences – exclusive limited-time deals, virtual brand experiences, and everyday values – enable brands to adjust their inventory and pricing strategies through new creative methods, so moms can afford the brands and products they love (as they do at outlets, special discount events, and more). We’re increasing the value transparency about our product offering and helping moms find well-priced, high-quality products from trusted brands – in one online shopping destination.
And we’re educating moms about how to shop and save more, with new programs like our exciting threshold free shipping option and flat-fee return policy that reduces the friction in returns, communicating that they’re getting the best possible deal they can. This is how we earn and deliver on trust and empower moms to make real-time decisions, without sacrificing quality.
3) Moms plans ahead, whenever possible
Planning ahead is a behavior we know our customers exhibit, which means brands have an opportunity to sell product earlier on Zulily than during a traditional brick-and-mortar season, and with a retailer that has limitless virtual shelf space and many creative strategies to help moms reduce the pressure they feel from their to-do lists.
One way we achieve this is by anticipating moms’ upcoming needs, rather than current whims, and ensuring that the products curated are relevant to their shopping calendar. Our customers shop early and often – in fact, the majority of moms (97%) see the importance of planning ahead for purchases, which helps reduce stress and anxiety while also saving time and money.
We’ve always offered seasonal collections ahead of many other retailers. Not only because of moms’ shopping behaviors, but also to ensure we leverage cost efficiencies in our supply chain. We aim to reduce costs and pass along savings – both financial and environmental – by consolidating as many items as possible into one box. This reduces costs to both our customers and the brands that sell on Zulily. Additionally, we now offer an expanded selling timeframe, plus flexibility in merchandising formats which enables the ability to drive sales early and often, so you can get ahead of seasonal cycles and emerging market trends, or manage effective liquidation through limited-time sales.
4) Moms shop not only for themselves; they keep their families top-of-mind, too
Eighty-four percent of moms believe the stereotype of the “perfect mom” is an outdated standard, but nine out of ten still feel pressure to be perfect. Burnout and societal expectations are at an all-time high, with 79% of moms frequently wishing they had more time to spend with their families.
Moms have voiced that they would also like acknowledgment and recognition for managing their family’s wants and needs, for the work they put into planning and scheduling, and for creating positive experiences intended to form lasting memories. They also want to feel appreciated for their continual efforts and noteworthy accomplishments.
“I like being appreciated when I’ve put thought into something.” – Rebecca (focus group participant)
Now at Zulily, moms can shop on their own time, on their own terms. And make decisions for themselves, their families, and their homes without fear of missing out. Increased categorization, virtual brand experiences, and essentials and basics via our new everyday product offering means there’s explicit choice in value shopping, anytime. Having both urgency with limited time-deals and ease with everyday product offerings from brands moms trust and love makes simplifying shopping in one destination an easy choice. Essentially, moms can save time and maximize household budgets without sacrificing trusted quality.
Interested in selling on Zulily? Let’s grow your business together. Get started here.
Pew Research Center 2020, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ Study Finds 2018, Moms 25-54 Winter 2020 NCHS survey, Simmons 2020/121 index, Zulily Segmentation Project Zeitgeist Research 2021. All other source data and statistics on file at: https://www.zulily.com/pressroom