Innovation That Matters

Effortless e-commerce for minipreneurs


French Zlio lets anyone set up an online shop in 5 minutes. Shop owners don’t actually need to have anything to sell. They don’t have to worry about stock or shipping, either, since orders are fulfilled by large online retailers like, eBay and This leaves Zlio shopkeepers free to focus on curation (selecting an appealing array of products) and promotion. Zlio was founded in France in November 2005 as a recommendation service, letting users recommend favourite products to their friends and family in exchange for small commissions. Which is comparable to other social affiliate schemes like FavoriteThingz and, which were featured in’s briefing on Generation Cash. In September 2006, Zlio switched gears and moved to its current model, which makes opening an online shop as easy as setting up a blog. How it works: a user signs up, picks a shop name and design template, and then selects the products he or she would like to sell. Users can currently choose from 75 merchants in France and 25 in the US. Since that includes giants like, users have millions of products to choose from. The business model is simple: when customers buy products from a Zlio shop, commission is split between Zlio and the shopkeeper. French shopkeepers are also rewarded for clicks through to merchants, with the US to follow. Zlio facilitates micro-shops for every niche interest imaginable, catering to consumers interested in subjects as diverse as Woody Allen, above ground swimming pools, Dora the Explorer, sudoku, sushi making and Isaac Asimov. (Related consumer trend: nouveau niche.) While Zlio shops are easily integrated with a minipreneur‘s own website or blog, some of the most popular shops don’t have any other type of web presence and are promoted solely by word of mouth or Google AdWords. Keyword marketing is of course a natural fit, since it can be targeted as narrowly as Zlio shops. Following the September 2006 relaunch, over 35,000 shops have been created in France alone. Since Zlio just launched in the US last week and will be adding the UK soon, now’s the time for English-speaking minipreneurs to seize the best shop names and get started.



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