Home Zlio Launches in US – Build Your Own Online Shop

Zlio Launches in US – Build Your Own Online Shop

French startup Zlio.com, a service that enables any Internet user to start a
virtual store, has just launched in the US and also has plans for a UK version. It’s a
free template-based system and you select the products you want to sell from a list of
pre-approved merchants. There are 75 merchants in France, 25 in US. At this time you
can’t sell your own products, but that functionality is being worked on. Example shops
include a Woody Allen shop and a kids sports store. Note that we first mentioned
Zlio back in September, in our Top Web Apps in

The competition

More than 35,000 shops have been opened in the last 5 months in France and Zlio is
hoping for similar success in the US. Right now they have competition in the form of MyPickList, a slick widget-based online shopping
app. Loomia is similar. Also there is aStore from Amazon (only amazon products) and Shoplinc from Chitika (for people who already have a
website). CafePress.com is kind of in this market
too, although their focus is on customizable goods and services.

What I like about Zlio is its straightforward positioning, which they’ve only recently
changed. Zlio.com originally opened in November 2005 in France as a “recommendation
service”. Their positioning at that point was: “Recommend your favorites products to your
friends and make money”. Zlio CEO Jeremie Berrebi
told me they got “thousands of subscribers” but it was very difficult to manage and
maintain – users would recommend once, 2 times, 3 times, but after seeing that they only
made a few Euros, a lot of users didn’t want to use the service anymore.

So in September 2006 Zlio totally changed its market positioning – now Zlio is a
service that “allows any internet user to create his own online shop even if they have
nothing to sell.”


Zlio has a nice wizard-type sign-up process. It took me just a few minutes to sign up,
select a template, and ‘open’ my store. The
control panel for adding products is slick and easy to use. My one complaint is that I
couldn’t see any way to add bulk products, or a whole category. I had to individually add
each product, which is time consuming. It would be great if I could tell Zlio to add “all
microsoft office products” or “all Apple iPod products”; even better if I could say “add
any Apple iPod product that has at least 4GB of memory” etc.

There are also some useful promotional tools, such as creating a video to show on
“Zlio TV” and a widget to display on your blog. There’s also an area called “boosting
tools”, which includes a wizard to help you copy your store into your blog.

Business Model

Zlio has two business models: CPA & CPC (in France). For the US launch, it is CPA
only for now – but CPC will be introduced in the US soon. The CPA model means that when
someone buys a product through a shop, the shop owner makes money via a commission (they
are paid through PayPal). The company is based in France, but half the team is in Israel
and they are planning to open a US office in the coming months.


All in all, it’s a nicely designed app and very well positioned in the market. It kind
of reminds of Swickis, which are custom search engines. Having a niche custom online shop will be an attractive (and possibly profitable) proposition for a lot of people. It nicely plays into the need
for specialized and focused online properties, which are increasingly the success stories
on the Web. In other words, if I am a Woody Allen fan then what better way to shop for
his products than on a dedicated Woody Allen shop? So I like what Zlio enables and I’ll
be watching to see how much uptake it gets. Also I need to work on that R/WW shop! 🙂

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