Als Zulily merkte, dass es auf die falschen Kunden gesetzt hat

Zulily ist das explosive Wachstum (“Zulily wächst 2014 von 696 Mio. auf 1,2 Mrd. Dollar (+72%)“) der letzten beiden Jahre dann doch noch zum Verhängnis geworden. Zuletzt musste Zulily deshalb extrem auf die Wachstumsbremse treten und rechnet für 2015 nun nur noch mit einem Plus von 8% bis 16% – bei einem Umsatzziel von 1,3 Mrd. Dollar bis 1,4 Mrd. Dollar.

Wie zuvor schon Groupon & Co. ist auch Zulily bei seinem Wachstumskurs in die Marketingfalle getappt und hat bei der Neukundengewinnung zunehmend auf die falschen Pferde gesetzt und irgendwann nur noch auf kurzfristige Conversion optimiert anstatt auf den langfristigen Kundenwert (CLV) zu achten.

Da es sich marketingseitig um einen typischen Fehler handelt, lohnen sich die Erläuterungen aus dem Investorencall (PDF):


“As we discussed in our last two earnings calls, as we moved into 2015, while repeat customers behaved consistently and continue to spend more over time, our more recent cohorts exhibited lower customer retention levels.

Since the start of the year we’ve taken action to address these challenges as quickly as possible and continue to believe these were largely within our control. Over the last few months we’ve been obsessively focused on driving our key initiatives to reinforce a passionate and committed customer base.

As we’ve dug deeper into better understanding our customers behavior, we believe two areas of the business will continue to be critical of the next several quarters, marketing and customer experience.

From mid-2013 to early 2015 we were overly focused on rapidly growing our customer base and found with hindsight that customers we acquired had a higher rate of initial activations but also lower retention rates and lower lifetime values than we had expected. We believe this occurred primarily as a result of our expanded use of transactional advertising.

Transactional advertising tends to focus on specific brands or products to drive near-term purchase behavior rather than attracting visitors for ongoing repeat engagement with our unique zulily model that emphasizes discovery and entertainment. Less transactional ads are ones that highlight the zulily brand, where the concept of discovery shopping with fresh, unique products at great value every day.

During this period, transactional ads became a significant portion of our marketing dollars, as our marketing team saw great success in using these types of ads to rapidly grow our customer base. As we looked at rebuilding our marketing models, we looked back at earlier years to better understand the better long-term impact of transactional ads and found they delivered very different customer values over time.

To highlight a specific example, we compared two sets of customers from 2012 that both came in through the same channel, a display ad on a major homepage, but through two different types of ads. The first ad featured a globally distributed well-known shoe brand, and the second was a set of uniquely styled but unbranded women’s dresses. When we analyze customers coming in through the two different ad types, the shoe ad had more than twice the rate of customer activations on day one. But 2.5 years later, the spend from customers that came in through the women dresses ad was significantly higher than the shoe ad with the difference increasing over time.

I believe that today we far better understand the impact of different ad types on long-term customer behavior. In the second quarter, we took these learnings and made significant updates to our internal attribution models to institutionalize the shift from near-term pay back to long-term ROI and lifetime value. These include improving our predictive models to focus on goals that we believe will deliver higher and more accurate lifetime values based on various attributes of our customers.

In late May we completed the rollout of this new framework to our marketing team and have seen some early positive signals, however it’s still very early. Near term, we expect this to drive a higher percentage of our spending into broad-based channels such as display and television, where we can do a better job telling the zulily story. Longer term, we believe there’s an opportunity for us to better optimize all of our channels as we continue learning and improving on this new framework.”

Nach der angekündigten Übernahme durch QVC (“Zulily geht für $2,4 Mrd. an QVC“) wird es nach knapp 2 Jahren an der Börse (“Zulily IPO: Das Shoppingclub-Modell im Business-Check“) künftig leider wieder weniger Einblicke in die Strategie und das Geschäftsmodell von Zulily geben (“Zulily mit einem Wachstumsupdate nach dem Alibaba-Einstieg“).

Als heißester Börsenkandidat bei den Shoppingclubs gilt weiter Westwing (“Als Private Company können wir noch experimentieren”), das dafür allerdings noch etwas Zeit braucht (“Westwing wächst 55% im 1. Quartal“).

Frühere Beiträge zum Thema:

Kategorien:Live Shopping, Shopboerse

  1. dazu passend ein Beitrag über die “Performance-Marketing-Falle”


  1. Wenn Mytoys, und Limango zueinanderfinden würden | 10 Jahre Exciting Commerce
  2. Exchanges #112: Umbrüche bei den Shoppingclubs | 10 Jahre Exciting Commerce
  3. Gilt Groupe geht für $250 Mio. an Kaufhof-Eigentümer HBC | 10 Jahre Exciting Commerce

Kommentar verfassen