Zulily Review: Is This a Good Way to Shop or Just Hype?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Feb 3, 2020

Sometimes while shopping online, you’ll stumble upon prices that seem to beat all others. Can these deals be believed, or are they only offered by retailers using subtle tricks to part you from your money?

Zulily is an online retailer that operates on a flash sale model and claims to offer lower prices than you can find elsewhere.

The company specializes in women’s fashion, home décor, kids’ clothing and more. It sells both popular brands and products not sold anywhere else and claims to make it easier to buy high-quality gear at low costs.

And, if you find the same item listed elsewhere for a lower price, Zulily promises to match it.

Should you switch your online shopping over to Zulily? Learn from our analysis on whether we think that’s a good idea.

Pros
  • New merchandise offered daily
  • Price matches Amazon and Walmart.com
  • Lower prices than many retailers for popular brands
Cons
  • Slow shipping time
  • Refunds only provided as store credit
  • Must pay $8.99 restocking fee for returns
  • Item quality is questionable

How Does Zulily Work?

Zulily works similarly to most online retailers. You can browse the site’s full inventory or search by new arrivals or sale items. Some of the brands represented on the site include Ralph Lauren, prAna, Brooks, PUR Cosmetics, Gaiam, Cuisinart, Apple (refurbished electronics), and more.

Every day, Zulily offers a different batch of products for sale. You can browse these items separately or look through the company’s full inventory.

But unlike other retailers, Zulily doesn’t technically own the products it lists for sale. Instead, the company makes bulk orders with its suppliers after their sales events end and then ships those items directly to you.

This purportedly keeps Zulily’s costs per unit low so that you pay less per item, though you might have to wait longer for shipping than with other eCommerce sites.

Price Match, Shipping, and Returns

Zulily offers a price match guarantee for Amazon and Walmart.com, which means that it will match or beat the pricing for any item you find on those sites.

To qualify, you can submit a price match request from either of these sites within 24 hours of your Zulily purchase.

In most cases, Zulily shipping will range from $5.99–$10.99 per order, depending on how many items you purchased. The company often runs promotions for free or reduced shipping costs. For example, once you place an order on the site, you can often receive free shipping for any additional orders made before 11:59 pm PT that same day.

Due to the company’s bulk shipping system, expect to wait ten days or longer for your order to ship. Some items are marked with a red rocket ship, which means that they can ship out within 1–3 days after ordering.

If you aren’t happy with a Zulily purchase, you have 30 days to submit a return request. Once accepted, you’ll receive a prepaid shipping label that can be used to send it back to the company. Note that an $8.95 shipping fee applies to all return requests of one to five items and that all remaining money from your order becomes store credit.

To qualify for returns, all items must be in like-new condition with original packaging and tags attached.

Not all Zulily items are eligible for returns. This includes swimwear, intimate apparel, furniture, some electronics, and more. You can check an item’s eligibility for returns by looking at its product details page or by going to the “My Orders” page.

Does Zulily Offer Good Deals?

Will you save money on Zulily compared to other retailers? To find out, we searched for pricing information for several popular Zulily items on other eCommerce sites to see how they compared.

Item Zulily Amazon Walmart Target
Brooks Ricochet Running Shoe $59.99 $74.99–$114.96 $79.99 NA
prAna Momento Sports Bra $24.99 $58.99 $44.99–$59 NA
Gaiam Sapphire Feather Yoga Mat $17.94 $17.95 $24.50 $21.49
Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 $249.79 $299 $189.99 $199
Ralph Lauren Boys Polo Shirt $19.99 $24.69 $29.48 NA

As this chart shows, Zulily beats the pricing for other retailers for some, but not all products. All the apparel items we looked at were significantly cheaper from Zulily, though these savings weren’t matched for fitness equipment or electronics.

However, Zulily’s price guarantee means that you might be able to contest the cost of these higher-priced items and get the same savings if you order off the site.

Overall, our price comparison lends credibility to Zulily’s claims that they offer some of the best prices online for many items. Keep in mind though that shipping costs may make up most of the difference. Amazon orders ship free with Prime or once you spend more than $25, and Walmart and Target both offer in-store pickup.

In contrast, Zulily shipping costs will range from $5.99–$10.99 per order for most purchases.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

There are more than 150 customer reviews for Zulily on HighYa, and they average 2.1 stars. Just over a quarter of shoppers said they would recommend Zulily to their friends—here’s a closer look at what they said:

Bad Return Policy

One common complaint against Zulily centers around its refund policies. Some customers shared that they received broken or badly damaged electronics and that the company reused to replace them or refund their money.

One shopper was told to contact the brand that manufactured the watch the bought off Zulily directly, only to then be told that it wouldn’t honor warranties for items purchased from Zulily.

In most cases, though, shoppers were upset with Zulily’s $8.95 restocking fee and the fact that they couldn’t get the money returned to their credit card after a return. A few users shared that they used up their entire refund on restocking fees because they kept buying new items and then returning them because of quality concerns.

Slow Delivery Times

Many Zulily users complained that their items took a long time to arrive. Some wrote that they waited over 2.5 weeks to get confirmation that their order was ever shipped, while others had clothing come weeks later than promised, which meant they weren’t able to wear it for the special events that they had bought it for.

In a few cases, customers wrote that they paid for items that never ended up arriving at all.

Poor Product Quality

For many Zulily shoppers, poor item quality made them want to stay away from the company. Some wrote that the clothing wasn’t true to size or that it was made from cheap materials that didn’t survive the washing machine.

Great Shopping Experiences

Despite these dour reviews, many Zulily customers had a great experience with the site. Some wrote that it was their go-to platform for online shopping and that they rarely had a bad order.

Many of these same reviewers noted that they always had pleasant experiences with customer service and that any problems they had were quickly fixed.

Key Takeaways

Zulily offers cheap clothing and home goods, but you might pay for this low pricetag in other ways, including slow shipping time, questionable quality, and stingy return policy.

Customer reviews show it’s best to shop with Zulily when you’re confident you won’t want to return your purchase.

The Bottom Line

Zulily’s flash deals on a wide range of merchandise seem tempting, but customer reviews indicate that these bargains are often too good to be true.

Beyond the pricey shipping fees and slow delivery time, you’re also at risk of ending up with items that don’t match your quality expectations and aren’t cost-effective to return.

If you do shop on Zulily, our advice is to stick with well-known brands and products you know you won’t want to return.

For example, the site offers great deals on shoes, kids’ clothes, and exercise equipment. We suggested only buying apparel from Zulily if you’ve purchased the same brand before so you already know the quality and your sizing information.

Overall, Zulily offers some great deals, but the site isn’t without some risk. So long as you don’t mind waiting for shipping and are willing to commit to your purchases, you should come out ahead.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Zulily:
  • 161 Customer Reviews
  • 25% Recommend This Company
2.0 out of 5
5 star: 17% 4 star: 5% 3 star: 3% 2 star: 9% 1 star: 63%

 Our Promise to You

To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

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  • They have no accountability.

    • By Vannie Huey,
    • Memphis, Tennessee,
    • Jun 23, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I purchased many things from Zulily during the pre-Christmas season 2015. The items were not sent to me until February 2016, which means I had to purchase Christmas gifts right before Christmas; therefore, spending twice as much as I had planned. I do not like the "no return" policy, which seems to be on everything. I purchased a pair of shoes in my size and they were 1 1/2 sizes too small. I wrote to Zulily, but did not get a response. I also ordered an item in blue, and got black. I wrote and no response. I purchased an item that was described incorrectly, wrote to them, no response. It seems that Zulily has no responsibility and concern for the consumer. I will spend my money more wisely and not purchase from Zulily.com in the future.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Critical

    • By Rose,
    • Florida,
    • Mar 21, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I ordered a couple of things and was satisfied, however, I received two orders today and am very unhappy. They do not advertise that the products are from Viet Nam and China. They usually sell products for full price with an occasional "deal." They are pretty clear there is a no return policy. That is listed on virtually every product. The material is cheap and badly made, although it is possible to "luck out" occasionally.

    My question is how can a company operate this way? No return policy? Unheard of!

    I know I have learned my lesson. NEVER AGAIN! I could have bought one item in dollar store and been more satisfied and paid a lot less money.

    I just sent in my critique and will see what they say, but my guess is they will repeat their no return policy. They do say they make exceptions if items are damaged but as far as I'm concerned, the items were damaged since they were poorly made and received heavily wrinkled!

    Buyer beware.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • I REALLY dislike Zulily

    • By Hauvonna,
    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Jan 6, 2016
    Overall Experience:

    I have ordered through Zulily a few times now and every time something goes wrong. Very long shipping times as well as charge problems.

    They have automatically checked me out with PayPal once. Long story short, that one mistake put me out of that money for days, and caused problems with my bank. They never take credit for their mistakes. They are always telling you to call other companies because they can't do anything about the issue, playing phone tag with everyone for hours and not resolving anything.

    They also have put the wrong address on the package. I bought it as a Christmas present and I had ordered early because I knew they took forever to ship in hopes that I would get the gift on time. Someone at Zulily had written the wrong apartment number on the package so the shipper sent it back to the factory which was not Zulily. I had to wait again to get the package. It still has not arrived and it's only two days until Christmas. I had ordered over a month ago. I still have to ship the contents to family. It will definitely not get to them on time. Zulily did not want to take credit for the mistake they made. I spoke with one gentleman and he told me that as soon as they received the package they would get it to me as fast as they can. I asked his name to be sure. When I called back, I told the lady I talked to someone who promised it would be there on time before Christmas. She asked me his name and said she had no idea who he was and that it is not up to them. Leading me to believe that the man I spoke with was just telling me whatever I wanted to hear to get off the phone with me.

    In all, Zulily has just caused a lot of stress in my life. The experience of buying through them has never been a happy one. I really dislike Zulily. They only give me headaches. I will never order from them again and I really hope people take the advice of everyone who posted on here.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Customer service wants me to pay for an item 4 times due to shipping error.

    • By JoAnn,
    • Colorado,
    • Jun 27, 2015
    Overall Experience:

    Re: Collapse It Bowls.

    Unfortunately I was only shipped one item in this “set of six” order. I contacted Zulily customer service and they kindly resent another order (set of six) at no charge. Again, I only received one item. I contacted Zulily customer service wanting the additional four items sent overnight because at this point I needed the products ASAP, since they were intended to be given as a gift. Here is where the trouble began. Zulily initially wanted me to pay an additional $119.00 for the already purchased four items. Their reasoning is that they credited me $60.00 for the original purchase plus $20.00 for overnight service. Somehow Zulily figured each bowl must cost $40.00 apiece. I insisted that since I had already paid for a set of six plus shipping they should credit the entire order – is that unreasonable?

    Evidently it is by Zulily standards because in the end I had to pay $20.00 shipping to get the items (needed as a gift). So in effect, if you order this set of six ‘Collapse It’ bowls, expect to pay 50% more than the advertised price to get the product – nice work if you can get it. FYI, it would be less expensive to order from Crate & Barrel. Additionally, I asked Tracy, the last customer service manager I spoke with at Zulily for the name of her supervisor so I could try to work out this issue and she flat out refused to give me the name of someone I could contact.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Wouldn't use again

    • By Jocelyn Kahn,
    • Hawthorne, NJ,
    • Apr 14, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    The reason I give them two stars rather than one is because I did get an immediate refund (my order was only $10, so that may have helped).

    However, the quality of the sweater was very poor. I asked for a refund because there was an obvious hole in one of the seams. The material seemed very thin.

    I was wondering how they could give such steep discounts and think I have found the answer in an article I read about Chinese companies that create poor-quality knock offs of clothing and pass it off as the real thing.

    I can't help but wonder whether this is one of those companies.

    In any case, I would never order from them again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Beware! Big rip off.

    • By Margaret,
    • GA.,
    • Jul 9, 2015
    Overall Experience:

    Items ordered took over a month to be delivered. NOTHING fit. Clothes appear to be made for children, not regular adults.

    Quality very poor, prices kind of fair for such substandard merchandise. A waste of my money. EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED. Will never buy anything from them again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Misleading Product

    • By Alexis,
    • Minnesota ,
    • May 16, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Let's see, where do I start? I first became familiar with Zulily.com about 6 months ago when I became pregnant and found all of their cute baby clothes. I would check their site everyday for new deals and designs, there really wasn't any site that offered such cute stuff, other than Etsy.

    Mid-way through my pregnancy they had an offer from the Honest company. I was planning on buying the Honest company diapers anyway so it was awesome to get a month's bundle for $50 dollars. I purchased the voucher, received my code, and had no problems using it on the Honest Co. Website.

    Well, just recently I found the cutest diaper bag on Zulily for $30 I had been eyeing it for a few months and had to jump on purchasing it at such a good price. The bag I ordered was the Journey Five Leather laser cut diaper bag. Originally it was $90 according to Zulily. There was no information about the bag other than the dimensions and looks. I also couldn't find it anywhere online except for Zulily, nonetheless I went forward with my purchase and painted $7 for shipping.

    It took a long time for my order to process and ship but I received it about 2 weeks later. I opened my package and was relieved to see the bag looked cute like its pictures and was a good handbag size. It definitely didn't look like a diaper bag and I'm really not sure why they would sell it as one.

    I noticed the bag was pretty stiff and had a strong plastic smell. I started checking the tags to see if it would say what the bag was made of and found the brand name tag. I was confused because the brand on the bag and the tag was a completely different name than what it said on Zulily. It said Journey Five on Zulily but no where on the bag or package. This wasn't the issue. The biggest problem is when I found what was also attached to the tag.

    There was a clear plastic tag with small black letters that stated "WARNING this product Contains Chemicals Known To The State of California To Cause Cancer, Birth Defects or Other Reproductive Harm". I was dumbfounded. This bag was sold described as a diaper bag and yet had a label saying it can cause birth defects?! I called Zulily customer service and the woman who helped me couldn't tell me what the bag was made of or why it would be dangerous. She only knew that the label was only valid in California because of their laws that a company has to put a warning on things sold there.

    She also stated that in order for me to see these effects I would have to wear the bag for "70 years". I could not stomach the idea that there was no information about this bag online or from Zulily that could even tell me what it is made of. I am receiving a refund of $30 but I won't shop on Zulily again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • SORRY

    • By Robertta,
    • San Antonio, TX,
    • Jun 1, 2015
    Overall Experience:

    I bought several dresses and tops at the same time. BIG mistake. The first two dresses were great. They fit just fine. Next came a blouse that barely covers my breasts. Then the dresses I ordered came and they fit like tops, no way could they be dresses. I went back to check the pictures and descriptions to see if I had mistaken tops for dresses. No, they are shown as dresses. Big lesson learned, I won't buy anything else from Zulily and I tell everyone not to buy from them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Zulily Is A Scam

    • By Margaret,
    • Raleigh NC,
    • Aug 24, 2015
    Overall Experience:

    Don't order anything from Zulily unless you recognize the brand name. Most of their items are polyester junk. I suspect (can't prove) that they make most of this stuff themselves and give it a name that sounds like a legitimate brand. (MKF handbags comes to mind.) I bought a handbag from them that was advertised as leather; I think it's plastic covered cardboard. We'll see what happens out in the rain. As many others have stated, their sizes are nuts. Their jewelry is measured in millimeters; I would guess most Americans don't even have a way to measure millimeters. The stones in their jewelry pictures look to be deep and vibrant colors; they are pale and anemic looking. I could go on and on. I have to admit that I have been able to return some of their trash, but it's just not worth the bother. If I want to buy discounted quality items, I go to Nordstrom Rack, Neiman-Marcus Last Call​ and Saks OFF 5TH. Those sites have better merchandise and don't have the ridiculous 'buy it now, or it will disappear' nonsense.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Gift card scam!

    • By Sara,
    • Dec 15, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We bought a $100 gift card for my mom for her birthday. When she went to place her order she couldn't find the spot to enter the gift card code and as soon as she entered a payment method she was automatically charged before she approved the payment.

    She canceled that order and was refunded the amount. Then she found the spot to enter the code for the gift card and placed the order again. She received an email stating the order was placed successfully and the gift card was accepted.

    A few days later, she received an email saying the order was canceled and the account was closed. We questioned Zulily and they said sometimes that happens and we should open a new account and place the order again.

    Before we tried to place the order a third time we checked the balance on the gift card and it said it was expired or an invalid code.

    Again we questioned Zulily and they told us to contact our bank. We explained again that the problem was with the gift card, not our bank.

    We asked for a new gift card code or a voucher, or if we could be reimbursed and again they told us to contact our bank and there was nothing they could do.

    We lost a $100 gift card and my mom got no merchandise or refund. She got nothing for her birthday.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Items promised in time for Christmas, now told I won't get them.

    • By Batalie,
    • Jan 2, 2016
    Overall Experience:

    I bought my daughter some boots two weeks ago because they said they would be here in time for Christmas. I checked this past week and they said they would ship. Low and behold Zulily sent an email saying they would not arrive in time for Christmas. Now they waited until 9pm on the Friday before Christmas to send it. I have no time to order something to arrive by Christmas and am frustrated because most similar items are gone in the stores. It's fraud to sell an item you do not have. Plus my card was charged. They don't even have the boots and charged my card. Seems fraudulent.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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