As easy as Zizo
At the end of July, Boston-based Wayfair Inc, one of the world’s largest online destinations for home furnishings and décor, announced it had sold its Australian business to Temple & Webster (T&W).
Speaking to Inside Retail Weekly, Mike Henriques, general manager, Zizo, said the Australian operations were a relative small portion of Wayfair’s business and were simply not getting the attention they required to capture the marketplace.
“Wayfair Inc wanted to focus its resources on its two largest markets, North America and Europe, and approached T&W about a sale,” Henriques said. “The communications between our two businesses revealed it was a perfect fit.
“And, from what we are seeing today, it is a really great fit. The T&W business is all about providing that inspiration to consumers. It has a model of presenting beautifully styled products every day to a closed group of consumers via its email platforms. It’s probably closer to a magazine experience.
“Zizo, I guess, is the ying to its yang. We aim to reach those search customers that are looking for something in particular, and we help them find what they need from our extensive selection.”
In terms of the agreement, T&W, which describes itself as Australia’s number one members-only online destination for retailer of furniture and homewares, had just 45 days to change the Wayfair name and re-introduce the website under a new brand.
“We went from closing the deal to, six short weeks later, having produced a fantastically polished rebranded business,” Henriques said. “Some may say that’s as simple as a coat of paint on the website, but there was a lot of rebuilding of the identity to allow the platform to speak to our market place with a better voice.”
Zizo has taken a lot of its cues from where Wayfair Australia left off. Its aim is to be Australia’s largest online destination for furniture and homewares. It currently has an offering of 100,000 products from more than 800 brands in furniture, home décor, lighting, rugs and kitchenware, through to home improvement and hardware.
“We offer consumers a deep and extensive range that allows them to shop for every style and budget,” Henriques explained. “We combine that with a fantastic level of service where we aim to wow our customers, not only with that shopping experience, but also that pre-sales and post-sales service from our local team. To keep it fresh, the Zizo catalogue will be updated regularly, with over 1000 new products added weekly.
“Price is always an important part in making any purchase, whether it’s furniture and homewares, or any other category,” said Henriques. “But we also aim to provide a great offer in the market and to make that shopping experience easy. With the range on offer consumers no longer need to visit four or five or 50 stores to find what they want. They can find everything they are looking for in one place.”
Zizo was built from the ground up with an emphasis on making the shopping experience as easy as possible for customers. There is a myriad of ways people can shop on the site, with products categorised in all different ways to allow them to shop in the way they want to, be it by room, style or specific product.
“Extending from the first point of contact and where they start their search, we have a very intelligent technology base that allows them to really drill down into their own requirements,” Henriques explained.
“Over 50 per cent of our orders leave the warehouse network within 48 hours. And 90 per cent are shipped within four days of orders being completed. If you think about buying furniture at bricks and mortar retailers, there are often long lead times. But we continue to work on reducing our delivery times.
The group also offers free delivery Australia-wide on over 5000 products and white-glove two-man delivery for selected premium furniture pieces.
Zizo’s name roughly translates “it’s easy” or “it’s done” in Dutch, and Henriques said that’s the message the business wants to communicate to its consumers.
In terms of marketing and advertising, Henriques noted that the aims and values behind the rebranded Zizo business were more closely aligned to the Australian consumer than perhaps the Wayfair brand was.
“It really gives us that platform to be able to talk to consumers above the line for the first time. A lot of our effort now is on providing a reason for those consumers who aren’t online shoppers to come across.”
On the potential for any bricks and mortar developments in the future, Henriques said that there could come a day when we see physical Zizo stores.
“Look, we’d never say never, but right now our focus is entirely online and building our range. But some kind of tactile experience is certainly something we aim to deliver to our customers in the future.
“The aim for the group is to be the first place Australians turn to when they think about furniture and homewares. Following the rebrand, we are very pleased to say September has been our biggest month to date and we are breaking records at every front.”
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