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HERE’S How Zola Makes Money in 2023 [Full Business Model]

Newly engaged couples start planning their wedding from the day they get engaged. The period between the engagement and wedding can be pretty exciting and sometimes even stressful.

Most couples nowadays try to eliminate the stress part. Therefore, they use Zola to manage all the wedding-related chores efficiently.

Zola operates as a wedding planning, wedding registry, and retailer company. Being a female-led e-commerce platform, Zola offers diversified options in wedding gifts and wedding experiences.

This company has served numerous couples till now and made a huge profit by offering satisfying services. Continue reading to understand Zola’s business model and how this company makes money.

What is Zola?

Zola is an online wedding registry, planner, and wedding-related product retailer. It invites newly engaged couples to pick gifts, experiences, and gain cash funds. It was established by Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi in 2013. Now, it has become a prominent platform to plan your perfect wedding.

They follow the same method as other e-commerce platforms to generate revenue. It is essentially an online retailer and wedding service provider. Engaged couples have used this platform to wishlist the gifts they need. It also helps guests buy what the newly wedded couples need and thus it makes gift-giving quite simple for guests.

The company gains a 20% commission from the purchased services, which goes up to 40% in the case of physical goods. Thus, Zola generates profit by offering top-quality services to its customers.

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Zola History

This company was founded in New York City by Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Sakaguchi. They had the vision to provide a platform where couples could book wedding registries. The goal was to offer options in wedding experiences, gifts, and cash funds to engaged couples.

Zola was introduced as a one-stop destination for wedding shopping and founders succeeded in achieving their prime objective. Couples now use this registry to pick which gifts they want to receive and exchange ordered gifts with useful items.

Zola has received huge funding from investors. It had collected $140 million and $100 million to expand its business operations. It was serving only as a wedding registry before 2017 and then it introduced Zola Weddings as a wedding planning service.

It now offers free solutions for guest lists, wedding websites, tailored checklists, and RSVP tracking. This company started offering customized wedding invitations in 2018. That same year it received investments from Goldman Sachs and Comcast.

Zola partnered with Crate & Barrel (a home décor retailer) in 2018. This partnership allowed consumers to book over 3,500 Crate & Barrel products from the official website of the company.

Zola’s very first brick-and-mortar store was opened in January 2019. It was established as a pop-up shop in New York City. The same year this company’s valuation went up to $600 million, making it one of the leading firms to be a unicorn!

The New York Times has listed Zola as one of 50 potential unicorns in upcoming years. It may soon add more products and services to entertain more customers!

Zola Business Model: All Revenue Sources Explained

Zola is one of those companies, which have used technology to retool traditional services. Their platform offers flexible options to consumers, which were not previously available to the masses. It conveniently allows consumers to prepare gift lists they want to receive from guests. Thus, it helps them save money on future shopping.

Wedding registry

This company can become a unicorn within a few years. However, many people consider it an underdog in comparison to traditional registries. Zola’s huge product line draws the attention of millennials looking for simple ways of organizing everything. The online product catalog and official app introduced by this company make wedding planning pretty simple.

Users only need to swipe right or left to include or exclude products and services from their wedding registry. Couples can check a wide range of products from the comfort of their home. It does not require buyers to wander across large stores to find useful items. That convenience allures many engaged couples and guests. 

Zola is one centralized destination where everything is available for the engaged couple’s registry. This platform offers impressive products and cuts the shopping time. It delivers everything the way couples want and thus it makes their wedding a more enjoyable occasion.

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Gift Buying

Zola has made gift-giving pretty simple for guests. People used to spend hours in gifts shops to find a perfect gift for the couple. Many guests used to carry the same item as gifts and it wasn’t quite useful for guests.

zola product offerings

Zola allows couples to express what they need. Guests can check the couple’s demands and buy gifts accordingly. Suppose there are some expensive items, guests can pool their money to buy those items.

This platform allows couples to collect funds for their dream home, honeymoon, and other expensive things they need. Many guests happily add money to make the newly wedded couple’s dream come true.

As an engaged couple, you can decide when you want to receive gifts. Zola can deliver the purchased goods directly to the new home of the couple to ensure nothing is left on the porch!

Serving through a cutting-edge website, Zola offers tools to prepare a sophisticated registry list. Users receive amazing suggestions while preparing the list. Thus, Zola takes the guesswork out of wedding preparations.

Wedding Website

A wedding website is a digital platform where couples can share all important details related to the wedding. It may cost a lot of money if couples hire professional web designers to create the website. Therefore, Zola offers a quick solution to prepare a wonderful website for the big day.

Zola has introduced this service to help couples describe everything digitally. Now, it doesn’t require explaining everything from the date to the venue separately. Guests can check all the details online.

Guest List Planning

It may take hours or days to plan the guest list. Couples and their families sit together to decide who will attend the wedding. Zola makes it quite simple for its consumers. Users can use this company’s website to prepare the guest list, collect their mail addresses, and know their choices in meals.

Couples can use this platform to track RSVP and send free digital invites. It helps save money on expensive invitations, especially when guests belong to far located cities.

Wedding Attire

Being a dedicated platform for wedding planning, Zola provides top-quality attires online. Buyers can save their time by placing a quick order on the company’s website and receiving all the attires at the venue.

Wedding Decorations

This platform helps couples plan a themed wedding to make the day more special. There are vendors and wedding planners listed on this platform. Users can evaluate services offered by different vendors to pick the best service providers.

Zola helps clients in finding the best deals on products and services. Therefore, many engaged couples rely on this platform to plan the best wedding. 

How Does Zola Make Money?

Zola is essentially an online store! It provides a wide range of products and services. Whenever consumers use this platform to buy products and services, it takes a cut from the overall price of the product.

If couples buy an experience through this web portal, it charges a 20% commission on the sale. That experience can be a wine tour, a guided trip, or something else. The service provider will pay this company 20% of what the buyer pays. If the customer purchases a product, this platform takes 40% of the product price.

Zola does not have any inventory. It does not own a warehouse to store its products. All the endorsed products on Zola’s official website are shipped directly from the manufacturer. Therefore, this company does not need a warehouse or place to manage its inventory.

This company’s overhead is way smaller than other e-commerce platforms offering similar solutions. Amazon is an e-commerce giant, but it has warehouses and inventories that cost a lot of money. Zola’s money does not go into managing such facilities.

This company provides cash options, activity packages, wedding-related services, and a limited range of products. It takes a considerable chunk of the sale and thus it generates revenue.

One can say that Zola is only managing a website through which it sells everything couples need at the wedding. It is continuously gaining funds to expand along with a huge revenue gained from customers.

Zola Weddings

Zola Weddings is a one-of-a-kind platform where couples can access free services. The company had introduced this platform in 2017 to draw more customers to the official website and online store.

The package of free services Zola offers is called “Zola Weddings”. These services include RSVP tracking, free wedding website creation, and tailored checklists.

Even though the company does not generate any revenue from these services, it gains loyal customers through these platforms, which ultimately boosts revenue. These services have played a vital role in expanding the business!

Zola is creating an ecosystem of products that meets various needs of couples and encourage them to buy premium products offered by the company. Many other e-commerce companies are following the same business model to generate profit.

Being a one-stop shop for engaged couples, Zola can soon emerge as one of the USA’s leading commerce companies. It may not surpass Amazon, but its profit will certainly skyrocket after the pandemic! 

People will get drawn to Zola Weddings for a free website, wedding planning, and other services. Once everything is planned, users will choose vendors promoted by this company to save time. Thus, Zola will gain commission and introduce gifts to gain more profit from each wedding.

What are Zola’s future plans?

Zola has recently secured a $100 million investment and it has planned to invest this funding in the company’s expansion. It is going to introduce several unique products to reach more customer segments and increase their average revenue per wedding booked.

Zola’s ecosystem will include several services that will excite users to spend more money.

The founder envisions that Zola will be supporting couples in planning every step of the wedding. It will make the engagement, wedding ceremony, and other events extremely special for couples.

The wedding industry is pretty vast and this company still offers limited services. Zola is on the move to rapidly expand its offerings. It is planning to raise awareness within untouched communities so that they can get personalized solutions.

The company is collaborating with other service providers in the wedding industry to offer comprehensive services. Thus, it is growing faster than most of its competitors.

Final thoughts

Zola is indirectly competing with Amazon. Its line of products is constantly stretching, and the Zola ecosystem now comprises several services that were not there when the company was founded.

Besides, local vendors, wedding planners, decorators, etc. may snatch Zola’s chances of selling its services. All such challenges make the path difficult for Zola, but it is still growing. It may soon overcome all the obstacles and emerge as the USA’s one-stop destination to plan the most memorable wedding.