Zola has added a "Home Store" tab to its site. The goal: become an online retailer that does it all...oh, and maybe does gift registries, too. Notably, this a departure from its original, registry-focused mission statement. Initially, Zola told brands that indie store gift registry services were not servicing out of the way towns and that by opening Zola, the brand would reach brides in remote parts of, say, Oklahoma. Zola didn't say that it was simply selling online to the general public because: well, brands want to own the D2C space--and Amazon, Wayfair, and Houzz already blanket much of the market.
2020 was a tough year for retail, especially businesses that depended on weddings like Zola. Most weddings were canceled. Zola, which is highly leveraged with venture capital money ($100m+), likely had to pivot to general self-purchase orders in order to keep its VCs happy. In 2020, Zola was forced to lay off 20% of its staff
While the IPO market is hot, retail is not. An ideal case for Zola is some entity (Amazon, Wayfair, etc.) buys it. A good way to get a buyer's attention: start competing with it.
This begs the question: what if a brand opens an account, and that account pivots to another market? At what point does the brand close the account as it’s eating too much of other's lunches? While being king and watching the gladiators fight is nice, it ultimately results in: death. In this case, the death of retailers. Specifically, the death of indies.
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