zulily

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the 100-person marketing team at Zulily are finding video to be worth even more.

Naama Bloom, vice president of marketing for the Seattle-based e-tailer, spoke about how the company is using the medium to tell better stories around product and help boost sales.

The company, part of Qurate Retail Group, which also owns QVC and HSN, counts 6.6 million active customers with $1.6 billion in revenue last year. The company’s dealing with a breadth of stockkeeping units on a daily basis, launching roughly 9,000 sku’s daily with more than 100 72-hour sales rolled out each day.

“The average Costco has 4,500 sku’s in the warehouse,” Bloom said. “So we’re launching two Costcos every single day. That is a lot of merchandise and it’s a lot of brands. The brands are working with us not to just move their inventory, but they want to get in front of our customers.”

Video appears to be the medium that’s helping the company better tell those brand stories but also get across messaging about products and what solutions they may provide.

“When you’re a quirky company and you’re selling lots of different brands, you really have to stand out,” Bloom said. “Really, we try to use video to tell the story of our company and also tell the story of our products.”

The medium continues to gain ground among mobile users, with Bloom citing Nielsen data that said one-third of 18- to 24-year-olds actually use social media in the bathroom.

“It’s safe to say video is intimate and also really emotional and if you don’t know how to use it and harness it, you’re going to lose your competitive advantage,” she said.

In March of last year, Bloom and her team began using Facebook Live to launch daily videos. They were shot on an iPhone in what Bloom described as a “glorified closet” and focused on one sales event each day.

In September of 2017, the company began ramping up its efforts around video, adding a full production team and also started focusing on greater interaction between hosts and viewers.

When Facebook changed its algorithm in February of this year, Bloom described the news as “crushing.” However, she said the marketing team had been thrifty enough that it could also act and respond nimbly to the Facebook changes and continue building out the video strategy.

So far, the company’s lessons from video have brought it around to focus less on likes and more on clicks with an emphasis on tailoring content to the specific audience it’s speaking with on any given platform.

Zulily dipped its toe in influencer marketing with a pet-related campaign this past February. Pets happens to be a big category for the retailer and while the content was popular, Bloom said the company couldn’t figure out a way to scale the influencer program to other categories, pointing out the time-intensive work required to find and connect with each influencer. Still, she said the company continues to study the channel.

It’s also now building up more evergreen video content, with lingerie providing a good entry point — the company produces videos on fit and posts that content to YouTube.

“Never stop iterating because the world is moving way too fast in these platforms,” Bloom said, “and if you stand still for too long, you basically lose the market.”

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