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Definition: is an e-commerce platform that offers flash sales, primarily focusing on products for moms, children, and the home. A flash sale refers to a type of sale event where products are offered for a limited time, usually at significant discounts. On Zulily, new sales events are launched every day, typically lasting for three days, during which customers can buy products from various brands and categories at reduced prices.

Historical Background:

Founded in 2009 by Mark Vadon and Darrell Cavens, Zulily aimed to revolutionize the online retail landscape with its unique business model. Vadon and Cavens, who had prior experience in the e-commerce world with Blue Nile, an online jewelry retailer, sought to tap into the market of mothers who were on the lookout for unique and affordable products for their families.

In the initial years, Zulily stood out in a crowded e-commerce space by curating products specifically tailored for its target audience. This focus on niche marketing, combined with the allure of limited-time offers, allowed the company to quickly garner attention and build a dedicated customer base.

Business Model and Operations:

Zulily’s business model is centered around the idea of “flash sales”. These are short-term sales events that feature a selected range of products at discounted prices. Due to the limited-time nature of these events, there’s an inherent sense of urgency for customers to make purchases, lest they miss out on the deals.

One unique aspect of Zulily’s operational strategy is its inventory management. Unlike many e-commerce platforms that maintain large warehouses filled with inventory, Zulily often waits until the end of a sales event to order products from suppliers. This means the company doesn’t purchase the product until after a customer has ordered it. This approach, often referred to as a “just-in-time” inventory system, minimizes overhead costs for storing unsold products, although it might extend the delivery time for customers.

In addition, Zulily continuously seeks to provide a fresh shopping experience by launching new sales events daily, ensuring that returning customers always find something new to explore. The company’s team works with thousands of brands, from up-and-coming labels to established names, bringing a diverse range of products to the platform.

Growth and Acquisitions:

Zulily’s growth trajectory since its inception has been notable. Within five years of its founding, the company went public in 2013, with its stock debut on the NASDAQ. This IPO was a significant milestone, reinforcing the company’s position in the e-commerce space.

The rapid success of Zulily did not go unnoticed. In 2015, Qurate Retail Group (formerly Liberty Interactive), which also owns other major retail entities like QVC and HSN, acquired Zulily for $2.4 billion. This acquisition further strengthened Zulily’s position in the market by providing it with access to Qurate’s extensive resources and retail expertise.

Challenges and Criticisms:

Like any business, Zulily has faced its fair share of challenges and criticisms. One of the primary points of contention has been its longer shipping times. As mentioned earlier, Zulily’s just-in-time inventory system, while cost-effective, can result in extended delivery times, often taking several weeks. In an age where consumers have grown accustomed to two-day or even same-day shipping from some retailers, Zulily’s shipping duration has occasionally been a source of customer frustration.

Additionally, some customers have voiced concerns about the inconsistency in product quality, given the vast number of brands featured on the platform. While Zulily strives to maintain high standards, the sheer volume and variety of products can sometimes lead to variations in quality.


In the dynamic world of e-commerce, stands out with its unique business model and niche market focus. By centering its strategy on flash sales and tailoring its product selection to cater to mothers and families, the platform has carved out a dedicated space in the online retail ecosystem. While challenges persist, as they do for any business, Zulily’s resilience and adaptability have allowed it to remain a key player in the industry. Its story serves as a testament to the potential of innovative business models in the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce.

Did you know that zulily has an affiliate program?

Here is some basic information about what zulily is all about. Check it out, and if you are interested there is a link below to access the zulily affiliate program.

Zulily, A New Store Every Day – zulily offers deals on brands for moms, babies, men and kids. Save up to 70% on our daily flash sales, featuring home décor, clothing, toys and more!

Miles Anthony Smith

Miles is a loving father of 3 adults, devoted husband of 24+ years, chief affiliate marketer at AmaLinks Pro®, author, entrepreneur, SEO consultant, keynote speaker, investor, & owner of businesses that generate affiliate + ad income (Loop King Laces, Why Stuff Sucks, & Kompelling Kars). He’s spent the past 3 decades growing revenues for other’s businesses as well as his own. Miles has an MBA from Oklahoma State and has been featured in Entrepreneur, the Brookings Institution, Wikipedia, GoDaddy, Search Engine Watch, Advertising Week, & Neil Patel.

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