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An In-Depth Look at Zulily
Zulily is an online retailer that has garnered both praise and criticism since its founding in 2009. In this comprehensive review, we’ll take an up-close look at Zulily’s business model, products, reputation, and customer service to determine whether or not it can be trusted. By the end, readers will have the information they need to decide if shopping with Zulily is a good fit for their needs.
How Zulily Works
Zulily follows a unique business model in the e-commerce space. Rather than maintaining a large inventory, Zulily acts as a marketplace connecting buyers with third-party vendors. These vendors offer limited-time sales of their products through Zulily’s platform. Once a sale ends, the product is no longer available until the next promotion.
This model allows Zulily to acquire bulk orders from vendors at discounted prices. In turn, Zulily passes the savings on to customers. It’s an innovative approach that sets Zulily apart from conventional online stores. However, some critique that it also introduces unpredictability into the ordering process.
Zulily sells a wide selection of items across diverse categories like clothing, toys, home goods and more. Notable brands featured include Under Armour, KitchenAid and Macy’s. The site promotes itself as a one-stop-shop for family essentials.
Customers will find rotating sales on both well-known brands and niche boutique labels. Regular deal-hunters appreciate Zulily’s ever-changing lineup. However, some report the site pushing lower-quality merchandise to clear out stock. Overall, products seem to track seasonally appropriate for families.
Is Zulily Legitimate?
Yes, Zulily is a fully legitimate online retailer. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Seattle, Zulily has grown into a major e-commerce platform owned by Qurate Retail Group. It maintains proper business licenses and serves customers safely across 80+ countries.
The limited-time sales model may seem unconventional, but it’s a legal business strategy. Zulily prioritizes security with encrypted payment processing and secure server connections. No credible evidence suggests Zulily engages in fraudulent behavior or illegal practices. Despite mixed reviews, Zulily appears to operate transparently as a legitimate business.
Reputation & Reviews
Unfortunately, Zulily has a poor reputation reflected by its reviews online. On Trustpilot, the company earns a mediocre 2.3/5 star rating based on over 1,400 reviews. SiteJabber shows similar results, with a 2.6/5 star average across 4,500+ reviews there.
Common complaints involve incorrect or damaged items, subpar customer service experiences, excessively long shipping times and an inability to get satisfactory resolutions to problems. While discounts attract customers, quality and reliability issues seem to plague many orders.
Zulily’s official response is that the limited-time sales model introduces unpredictability beyond their control. However, addressing long-standing service problems would likely improve their reputation significantly. As it stands, reviews paint Zulily as a risky purchase.
Shipping & Delivery
Delivery proves one of Zulily’s biggest pain points, according to reviewers. The company estimates 5-14 day delivery within the US and 9-30 days internationally. However, many report actual wait times stretching to a month or longer.
Packaging also receives criticism, with some items arriving damaged, improperly packaged or without expected contents. Zulily charges $5.95 domestic shipping but offers limited (if any) tracking prior to delivery. Customers assume the costs and risks of delays.
While out of Zulily’s direct control, shipping issues seriously damage the customer experience. Addressing delivery transparency and reliability could counter negative perceptions. As it stands, unrealistic timelines and poor packaging hurt Zulily’s trustworthiness.
Returns & Refunds
Zulily’s return policy allows cancelling orders within 30 minutes of purchase and initiating returns within 30 days of delivery for a $4.95 fee. Customers receive store credit refunds, not money back to the original payment method.
However, issue arises when items arrive damaged, erroneous or don’t match the website description – situations beyond customers’ control. In these cases, Zulily reportedly makes returns difficult by blaming vendors, denying liability or refusing concessions.
Without sufficient goodwill policies to address unintended problems, upholding returns rigidly hurts Zulily’s reputation for reliability and fair customer service. Flexibility in special cases could minimize acrimony. As written, their procedures favor cost control over satisfaction.
Customer Service Quality
Poor customer service ranks among Zulily’s most frequent criticisms. The company fields complaints of unhelpful or uninformed representatives, difficulty having issues adequately resolved and general lack of accountability or follow-through.
An inability to track representative interactions or see notes from previous contacts frustrates customers having to repeatedly explain complex problems. Zulily representatives seem to lack authority or incentives to find real solutions.
While customer support handles large volumes, prioritizing quick resolution over quality leaves buyers dissatisfied. Customers just want issues addressed – not bounced between departments or representatives. Stronger internal policies could improve Zulily’s complex reputation.
Alternatives to Consider
Any online shopper considering Zulily would be wise to also research alternatives. Popular competitors like Amazon, Walmart and Target provide a more conventional shopping experience along with robust customer service and established logistics networks ensuring fast, reliable delivery.
Discounts drive customers to Zulily, but deals abound on retailer marketplaces and branded subscription boxes too. Subscription services like StitchFix and clothing-rental options offer variety on a scheduled delivery system outside Zulily’s flash sales.
Small specialty retailers on Etsy provide crafts and unique goods while building trust through reviews over time. Platforms like Poshmark for used and consigned goods expand options. Ultimately, balancing needs with feedback helps identify the best fit.
Making an Informed Choice
Weighing pros, cons and alternatives illuminated both legitimate aspects of Zulily’s business model as well as shortcomings damaging its reputation among customers. Our in-depth look found:
- Zulily operates legally but shipping and customer service problems plague the experience.
- Limited products and unpredictable inventory undermine reliability compared to conventional retailers.
- Returning items presents barriers, shifting costs and risks to customers.
- Mixed reviews show improved policies could counter superficial dissatisfaction.
For deal-seekers willing to accept risks, Zulily presents opportunities. But reliability-prioritizing shoppers may find alternatives better meet their needs overall. Doing research empower shoppers to choose where they feel most confident spending hard-earned money online.
In conclusion, while legitimate, Zulily gives the impression of valuing turnover over customer satisfaction based on available information. Readers must decide if compromising service fits their preferences – or if alternatives provide a better balance for their requirements in online shopping.
In evaluating the legitimacy and reliability of Zulily, it’s clear the company operates a legal business model as an online marketplace connecting buyers with third-party vendors. However, Zulily’s reputation suffers tremendously based on the volume of poor reviews from unsatisfied customers. While deal-hunting shoppers appreciate Zulily’s rotating sales, reliability seems to be a major downfall for the company.
Issues with incorrect or damaged items, long shipping delays, difficulty returning products, and subpar customer service have led to Zulily accruing mostly negative feedback across review sites. The limited-time sales approach may provide discounted prices, but it also introduces unpredictability that Zulily has proven unable to manage smoothly from a customer experience perspective. Problems appear systematic rather than isolated incidents.
Zulily’s policy of tightly controlling returns and refunds also breeds frustration, as it forces customers to assume costs and responsibility for issues beyond their control. A more customer-centric stance offering concessions for valid problems would preserve goodwill. But Zulily’s policies seem structured to minimize corporate liability over promoting long-term satisfied buyers.
It’s understandable that Zulily’s business model introduces certain delivery variabilities outside the company’s hands. However, failure to properly communicate realistic timelines, ensure adequate packaging, or take accountability for fulfillment breakdowns damages trust severely. Improving transparency and consistency could offset negatives.
Overall, while delivering deals through innovations, Zulily’s widespread service deficiencies make the shopping experience riskier than most consumers find acceptable. Competitors demonstrate reliability need not conflict with discounts. As alternative options expand, reliability becomes as vital as price for gaining loyalty long-term.
Considering alternative marketplaces and retailers provide quality options without compromising customer care as extensively as Zulily, most buyers are likely better served diversifying where they spend money online. Doing thorough research empowers shoppers to identify the companies that suit their particular shopping priorities and peace of mind. In the case of Zulily, caution remains advisable based on prevailing attributes.