Zulily Will Test Accepting Merchandise Returns

zulily_screen_grabThe great flash-site boom of the past decade has one great success story that has survived the recession: Zulily, which started out selling children’s clothing and toys and has slowly expanded into clothes and accessories for women. That expansion means that the company is trying something that it previously found unthinkable: they’re testing merchandise returns.

That’s been a key part of the company’s business model, and what let it offer such low prices. They would offer an item for a limited period to customers, order the items from a vendor once customers placed all of their orders, and then ship the orders. Customers don’t mind the long waits for merchandise and the no-returns policy because items were so cheap.

It’s one thing to order items for children, who keep growing and will fit a larger size eventually. Adults stay the same size, or at least aspire to, and the Zulily model doesn’t work as well for grown-ups. One shopper explained her strategy for buying items for herself from Zulily when she wasn’t familiar with the brand.

“There have been times where I ordered two of the same item in different sizes because I wasn’t sure of the fit, then I was stuck trying to get rid of the second,” she explained. This shopper happened to be part of the merchandise return test: the company quietly offered her the opportunity to return some (unused, unworn) items for store credit only.

So far, this policy only applies to customers who are in the test program, and only specific items, which includes adult clothing and some home goods.

Zulily Tests Online Returns Program [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.