With a business model centered around offering 72-hour deals, zulily faced a challenge in coming up with a promotion that would stand out from its usual business model. The retailer found the solution in Thrill Week, held July 23-27, featuring a focus on flash deals and site-spanning scavenger hunts.
The typical zulily shopper is someone who “Seizes Opportunity, Buys Often” (SOBO), according to a study by the retailer. During a typical month, these SOBOs purchase four times as many items for themselves that they don’t immediately need compared to non-SOBO shoppers. More than three-quarters (78%) of SOBOs make 10 or more purchases each month, compared to just 8% of non-SOBOs.
“The idea for Thrill Week came up because we identified the opportunistic shopper, who is motivated and excited by the idea of the thrill of the find,” said Naama Bloom, VP of Brand Marketing at zulily in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We thought, why not do a sale or an event that’s actually built around the things that get her super excited?”
As a result, zulily “wanted to zig when others were zagging” and avoid a traditional price-based promotion, according to Bloom. The result was a structure that emphasized daily visits and extensive browsing:
- Shopping Spree: Customers who visited every day of the event were entered to win $150 worth of zulily shopping credit;
- Dash for the Deal: The regular deals offered by zulily were punctuated by a series of extreme promotions that lasted just a few hours each, offering deep discounts with limited supplies; and
- The Big Thrill: Each day, clues scattered around the site pointed to the location of a deal that was valid only for the first customer to find it, such as a $2,000 wardrobe for $10.
The promotions were designed to promote daily browsing, rewarding regular customers for their loyalty and giving new shoppers a reason to engage. The Big Thrills were made to stand out with their creativity, offering prizes beyond the retailer’s usual offerings, while Dash for the Deal opportunities gave shoppers more reason to purchase immediately.
“What we’ve learned is our shoppers are really driven by the excitement and thrill of the find, and the kind of inspiration they get from browsing the site,” said Bloom. “It’s not unusual for them to browse the site [the way that] they would scroll Pinterest for inspiration, and then when they see something they have to act fast.”
The shopping sprees were designed to help zulily turn newcomers into regulars: though 91% of orders already come from repeat customers, zulily experienced 24% year-over-year customer growth. Bloom noted that most zulily users browse the site daily, treating it as they would an entertainment publisher, so giving newcomers a reason to visit every day offered them a taste of that appeal.
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