Flash-sale e-commerce company Zulily is abandoning a key element of its supply chain approach and is working to stock inventory ahead of sales.
The Seattle-based retailer previously held off purchasing merchandise until after shoppers ordered it from Zulily's site, a process that was designed to save money but instead resulted in shipping delays and errors. Under this new approach, the merchandise stocked in Zulily's warehouses will still be owned by vendors until it is sold.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the average time for an order to leave Zulily's warehouses was 13.7 days in the fourth quarter.
Zulily's business is further complicated by the immediate shipments offered by many other retailers, including physical stores offering e-commerce deliveries as fast as same day. This change to its inventory and shipping process rectifies a key problem in Zulily's supply chain, and demonstrates the key role fast fulfillment plays in retail these days.