Zulily is one of many “flash sale” sites; however it caters mostly to baby items and seeing as I am now pregnant–it fell within my shopping radar. Zulily’s adorable baby outfits were too tempting, and so I joined.
I have ordered from other flash sale sites like MyHabit (jewelry, my wedding shoes, and a gift) and TheClymb (a hammock, and some outdoor shirts) with success so I was very comfortable perusing Zulilly with an intent to buy.
If you’re not familiar with flash sale sites, they all work basically like this: there is an event which lasts 24-hours to a few days. The events are often brand names or high-end products at steep discounts. Popular items can sell out quickly, and if you miss the event entirely it’s a “snooze, ya lose” situation. It’s like year-round Black Friday and I haunt flash sale sites when I have a particular item I am looking for.
For example, during my year and a half engagement I was pinning after blue Badgley Mischka shoes for my wedding. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?! No, thank you…
*presses against materialistic store window and sheds a single tear*
But, when I saw [the tan version] appear in the MyHabit “Upcoming Events” e-mail, I knew the blue would be in the sale too. I broke a sweat, readied my clicker finger and snagged them for 45$ (with shipping). It was sold out 10 minutes after the sale started. Glorious.
But, this isn’t about MyHabit–this is about Zulily!
Zulily events last about 72 hours, which isn’t particularly unique compared to other flash sites. However, maybe Zulily is just more forthcoming about their process–because they make it clear they do not keep any stock. They host an event, after the event ends they place a bulk order with the company, the company then ships the order to Zulily who packages the item and mails it to you. This ensures they offer low prices, and also that it feels like it takes forever to get anything you purchase from them. The trade off is the price.
Case in point: Calvin Klein bodysuit 5-pack for $13.99. This is good deal considering a 4-pack generic white bodysuits at Target is 9.99$. I know if I saw a pile of Calvin Klein bodysuits for 2.79$ each at the store I would definitely buy at least five. I need to buy our baby-to-be some clothes anyways and he’s not showing up for another 3 months or so–so waiting was not a problem for me to get the deal. I bought two 5-packs.
A tie and suspendors? Yes, please.
The time it takes…
Zulily states that it takes 2-3 weeks for an item to arrive at your door–which is something to consider if you’re ordering a gift. My niece and youngest cousin are 7 months apart, both girls (who I will indulge all my dress-buying desires upon). I ordered two adorable dresses (turquoise and light grey) for one upcoming birthday in September, and one for my niece’s future birthday.
I received both dresses exactly 3 weeks after the date of order. They looked just like the photos, and I was happy. However, this wasn’t so cookie-cutter for my two, 5-packs of bodysuits.
Canceling orders must occur within 30 minutes of placing an order. Otherwise, you have to e-mail Zulily (or call, I suppose) to cancel the order. I had ordered a Hugaboo (a baby floor chair), but about an hour later I decided it was a silly purchase and went to cancel it. No ability! But, the event was still going! I should be able to cancel until the event ends at least! I had a minor panic attack.
I searched around on their website and found out that I had to e-mail them because I waited more than 30 minutes to un-impulse my purchase.
Customer service? Will they even respond? It was late at night, so I just e-mailed them and hoped. But, they replied at 11PM, so by the time I had woken up the next morning I had received a reply that my order was canceled and I verified this was the case on the website. I monitored my bank account and the pending purchase finally slide off my bank account by Friday. Hooray!
They informed me that you may cancel your order before it ships to you (which means even while it is in transit).
I still think they need to keep the ability to cancel on their website an order to at least 1 hour before an event ends–not 30 minutes after a purchase.
Contacting Zulily about missing orders was my next foray into Zulily’s customer service as I received only ONE of the two 5-packs (exactly three weeks after I ordered) but, the other pack still had not even received a tracking code yet! They were ordered from the same event, but one of my 5-packs were still “In Transit” and the estimated shipping date remained September 1. It was time to contact Zulily again.
While I was feeling hopeful after a good experience with canceling the hugaboo order, my confidence in the whole ordering process was feeling a little shattered.
Today’s date: September 8th!
I e-mailed them at 6AM PST on Monday (today) and they replied around 11AM on the same day.
We had an overwhelming response to our Calvin Klein Underwear event, and unfortunately we are currently experiencing an unforeseen delay in receiving additional inventory of these items and are working closely with our fulfillment team to ensure your order ships as quickly as possible. We do apologize, as we do not have an estimated delivery time yet for this item, but will update you right away as soon as we have tracking information.
As an apology for the delay, we are processing a store credit to your zulily account of $7.95. This will insure that your shipping and handling is free on your next order. Your zulily store credit can be applied during the checkout process. Happy shopping!
Please note we are able to cancel these items as long as they have not shipped. If you would like to cancel, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
I am satisfied with my answer, but I wonder how much longer I have to wait… another 3 weeks? If this was the dress gifts I would have had to cancel, which would have been a really big bummer. But, since Mr. Baby is still cooking away, I’ll let the order stand.
Update [Sept 16]: It took 48 hours for the 7.95$ credit to apply to the account.
Update [Sept 19]: I have not received a tracking number for the missing Calvin Klein onesies.
Customer Service: 5 out of 5
They are prompt and helpful–considering some customer service (looking at you dishnetwork…), I’d say Zulily’s was above my expectations.
Products/Prices: 4.5 out of 5
The item selection is great, and the quality of the items I purchased are good and more unique than many store items. I am docking a half-point because while all are deals, they are not all significantly steep discounts (especially after you pay 8$ for shipping).
Shipping: 3 out of 5
If you buy an item on Zulily, you can create any new orders that same day and they only charge the shipping cost from the first order. That is pretty neat. I’m knocking 2 points from their shipping because I’m waiting more than 3 weeks for a flash sale item. I am happy that I was credited the cost of shipping to my account for future items, but I’m giving those points to their customer service rating.
Overall 6.5 out of 10
I think I’ll use Zulily again–but I think I will be hesitant to purchase any items where I have a deadline such as a birthday. If my delayed item was the birthday gift, I would have been forced to cancel the order and search elsewhere for a gift I already waited 3 weeks for. It would not have arrived in time for the party–considering I ordered these almost an entire month ago, I say that is a problem. However, the prices are good and make it worthwhile to make a future attempt.