Retailers experienced a record high in e-Commerce sales from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday 2012, with total online transactions exceeding $1 billion during the weekend, according to comScore research.
ZooStores.com, an online-only specialty products merchant, was part of these stellar results: The eTailer reported a 73% year-over-year surge in total sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, versus the same days in 2011.
Consumers’ growing dependence on the web for browsing and buying played a role in this positive performance, but the ZooStores.com core business model also contributed significantly, according to Nikhil Behl, Co-Founder and CEO of ZooStores.com.
ZooStores.com houses approximately 250 specialty stores within a single site, with a focus on five categories: home, outdoor/patio, kids/baby, office and fitness/sports. Featuring more than 500,000 products, the e-Commerce site wraps content and tools such as holiday gift guides around inventory, which enables consumers to discover and choose products more easily.
“The specialty products we sell require a bit of research for shoppers,” Behl said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We help consumers find the exact products they’re seeking by offering custom storefronts and guides, which help tailor the discovery, research and decision-making processes based on their unique wants and needs.” This variety of content and resources “resonates with consumers,” Behl explained, and helped ZooStores.com increase average order size by $50 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2012, versus 2011.
To accelerate online purchases over the holiday, ZooStores.com consistently released themed promotions and campaigns. But while customer acquisition and winning one-time buys was important, ZooStores.com also fine-tuned strategies to appeal to repeat customers, according to Behl, which led to a 40% increase in repeat purchases. For example, during its “12 Days Of Christmas” initiative, the merchant released new deals in different categories every day, which Behl said encouraged customers to come back and share specials with friends and family.
Keeping the online shopping experience top of mind, ZooStores.com is investing heavily in two key areas through the New Year: e-Commerce site performance and delivery efficiency.
For the e-Commerce site, ZooStores.com is focused on maximizing load times and stability for PC and mobilized shoppers to ensure a pleasant online experience. At the same time, the eTailer “made a heavy investment in supply chain technology to ensure faster and more efficient shipments for the holidays,” stated Behl. “At the end of the day, all that matters to consumers is that orders are delivered efficiently and on time.”
The retailer guarantees a 99% on-time delivery rate, Behl reported, with Supplizer, which is a supply chain engine created by ZooStores.com. All orders accepted on ZooStores.com is sent to supplier partners, who ship them directly to end-user customers. This strategy not only improves order delivery processes, Behl explained, but also allows ZooStores.com to save money on developing its own warehouses worldwide.
In 2013, ZooStores.com executives plan to utilize new technologies and strategies to improve merchandising and search performance further, Behl noted, and will maintain tablet-optimized e-Commerce services as a top priority.