Zulily is an oddball online retailer.
We’ve already talked about the company’s slow shipping times.
Now, here’s the latest way that Zulily is different.
In today’s third-quarter conference call with analysts, the Seattle flash sales retailer noted that the holiday shopping season isn’t that important.
That’s almost heresy in traditional retail, where most retailers bank on huge fourth quarters.
“Our business is not as seasonal … as a lot of retailers out there,” said Zulily CEO Darrell Cavens. “Our customers are coming back every day to see what is new and fresh and interesting. I think the use-case for Zulily tends to be different from many other retailers around the holiday case.”
Cavens said that he feels good about the promotions set for the holiday this year and it is worth nothing that sales will indeed increase substantially over previous quarters — with estimates of fourth quarter revenue of $391.3 million to $416.3 million. But he noted that Zulily doesn’t plan to chase the holiday gift train as aggressively as they did last year.
“If we look at the economics there, we want to make sure there are great economics for the customer, and for us,” said Cavens. “And, I think chasing that too far towards those last minute items, just becomes very challenging.”
“Our focus is more on the everyday execution, rather than on a big bang around the holidays,” he said.
Of course, shipping times do come into play at the holiday since it takes an average of 11.6 days from the time an order is placed on Zulily to when it is shipped.
No wonder that Zulily chairman Mark Vadon noted at the GeekWire Summit earlier this year that Zulily is largely misunderstood in the online retail business — where fourth quarter sales typically dominate and speedy ship times are all of the rage.
“We found a white space — a consumer opportunity, where it isn’t being dominated,” said Vadon, speaking of the company’s unique product offerings. “If we went head to head with Amazon, we’d get crushed.”
The strategy appears to be working well. While Zulily’s stock is getting torched today — down 15 percent — take a look at its revenue growth since the Nov. 2013 IPO.