Online discount retailer Zulily is expanding its workforce again, with plans in the works to create 900 jobs at an Ohio-based call center as well as add an additional 500 jobs at its Obetz, Ohio, distribution center, according to an article in Columbus Business First.
The Seattle-based company has established itself as a flash-sale site, specializing in merchandise appealing to women and, in particular, mothers. The company has mastered the art of “treasure chest” shopping, offering one-day or 72-hour deals on favored brands with limited inventory, thereby creating a sense of urgency for shoppers.
To its credit, the site has procured very loyal shoppers in a key demographic since its launch in 2010. Since sales change daily, the company constantly engages customers via email and social media. In turn, customers can share the information with friends and family to receive shopping credit at the site if they buy something.
Zulily reported its active customers — customers who have made at least one purchase in the last 12 months — jumped to 3.7 million by the end of first quarter 2014, an increase of 93 percent year over year. Total orders placed increased to 5.5 million for the first quarter 2014, an increase of 91 percent year over year.
“Our customers remain incredibly engaged with us,” said Darrell Cavens, Zulily CEO. “And you can see it in the active customer growth that the customers are coming back and buying from us again and again and again.”
The increase in sales is behind much of the need to expand the company’s workforce. Zulily maintains very limited inventory. Instead, the retailer orders items in bulk from vendors after customers place online orders. After receiving the bulk goods, Zulily then ships the orders from their distribution center, an estimated 2-4 week turnaround. Increasing staff at the distribution center helps the company improve those shipping times, which are slow compared to most e-commerce sites.
The company has not disclosed the final location for the new call center, although it is expected to be located in central Ohio.