Life After Zulily: Top Alternatives for Discount Shoppers!

zulily bankrupt

Last Updated on April 3, 2024

In my circle, I’m known as the person who finishes her Christmas shopping early, thanks in no small part to my favorite shopping app, Zulily. Usually, as September rolls around, I would start checking the app daily for sales and planning out my shopping list to get my loved ones designer gifts on a small budget. A Coach purse for mom, a pair of Gucci stunna shades for my cousin, a Ralph Lauren romper for my 9-year-old, and a little Juicy Couture for me, of course. This year was no different, so when pumpkin spice was on the horizon, I started shopping, gearing up to make my final and most important purchases a few weeks before Thanksgiving when all the best sales would be live ahead of Black Friday. And so I ordered all the usual designer goods, in addition to lots of pink Christmas decor, since I was all about “Pinkmas” this year. I even got myself an adorable pink Nutcracker cardigan to wear to my company holiday party. Score…or so I thought.

Who took over for Zulily?

Founded in 2010, Zulily (like HauteLook before it) was an online retailer that offered daily flash sales on designer goods at deeply discounted prices. Acquired by QVC in 2015, the app reached such popularity that checking it for deals became a part of the daily routine for many, including myself. A few months before Christmas, I would set my alarm for 6 am when new sales went live so I wouldn’t miss out on any great deals. The trick to navigating the site and using it to shop for special occasions was to shop early because once you make a purchase, shipping could often take a few weeks and sometimes over a month since the original vendor had to send your purchase to Zulily before it could be shipped to you.   

As someone who used the app faithfully for well over a decade, I had gotten used to the delayed shipping times, so when the first week of December rolled around and my purchases hadn’t arrived yet, I was annoyed but not surprised. I immediately checked the tracking information, and it said my items were in transit, so I wasn’t terribly concerned. That is, until about a week or so before Christmas when I checked the app again and kept getting an error message that said the app was undergoing “maintenance.” 

Why did Zulily close?

After a few days of receiving the same error message, I knew there had to be more to the story because there was no way they were doing this much maintenance during the busiest shopping season of the year. Then I checked to see if there were any recent news articles on the subject, and surprise, surprise, Zulily filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors, leaving its employees and customers out in the cold right before Christmas. According to several news articles, all pending orders would either be fulfilled or refunded, but at press time I and several other customers I know have yet to receive either. 

So, now what?

In addition to not knowing if we’ll ever see our items or our money, we loyal Zulily customers have now found ourselves without our favorite way to shop. Sure, there are plenty of other online retailers out there, but Zulily offered us the unique opportunity to purchase things we couldn’t afford at prices we couldn’t find anywhere else. Over the years, I’ve found $400 Chloé sunglasses for $99, a $500 Kate Spade tote for $120, and my holy grail item, a $1,000 diamond Hello Kitty pendant for just $140. And don’t even get me started on the amazing things I found for my young daughter. She was often the only kid at daycare sporting Juicy Couture and Ralph Lauren, leaving the other mothers to think we were loaded when in reality, we were pinching every penny. Of course, I’m not one to gatekeep, so any time someone commented on my little one’s designer clothing, I would chuckle and respond with a sassy, “girl, I can’t afford to pay retail for this stuff, I found it for cheap on Zulily!” Ah, the good old days. 

Now that I’m coming to terms with the fact that Zulily is long gone, I’ve scoured the internet for some alternatives so you don’t have to. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Zulily alternatives

The Nordstrom Rack App

Remember the aforementioned Zulily predecessor HauteLook? The company was bought by Nordstrom, who dropped the Hautelook name and moved the flash sales over to the Nordstrom Rack app. While the sales aren’t as exciting as the ones you could find on HauteLook, there are plenty of designer goods you can find at steeply discounted prices. I found a cute pair of Nike Dunks for $63, a Valentino Sophie Medallion tote for under $500, and a Dyson Corrale Straightener for under $200. The bonus is because the items are coming directly from Nordstrom Rack, you don’t have to worry about delayed shipping. In some cases, you can even pick your purchases up at your nearest store. 


With daily flash sales and special deals, RueLala is the closest thing I’ve found to Zulily thus far. The main difference I’ve seen is the focus is mainly on high-end designer goods, so while you’ll find your discounted Gucci, Celine, and Marc Jacobs items, you won’t find the more kitschy home decor and fashion pieces you would have found on Zulily. In terms of shipping, thus far, the few things I’ve ordered have only taken about a week to arrive, so that’s a definite plus! 

The RealReal

If you don’t mind buying pre-loved items, The RealReal is a great place to find authenticated luxury goods at a great price. I haven’t made a purchase on the site yet, but my bestie is a repeat customer and says she uses The RealReal to rehome the luxury handbags she no longer wants and purchase new ones to replace them. Pricing seems pretty fair and is based on the condition of the items, which are categorized as Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent, and Pristine. In addition to handbags, the site offers watches, jewelry, home decor, and clothing.

Now owned by Rue Lala, might be the best site I’ve found so far because it offers members daily flash sales, much like Zulily, as well as other discounted designer items you can purchase at any time. What I really like about this site is it offers more perks than all the rest, such as a “Must Have” feature where you can request specific items and then have them charged and shipped to you as soon as they become available. They also have a section for items that are curated just for you based on your taste and purchase history, as well as a personal stylist program where a stylist places items they think you would like directly into your cart so you can decide if you want to purchase with no fuss or guesswork. Overall, this site is a definite keeper and one I will continue to use. 

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