Zappos’ Retail Experiment: Selfies as a Sales Tool

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June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Will Young, director at Zappos Labs, discusses efforts to drive his company’s online sales by tying into social media, using customers’ selfies to promote their items as the next big thing. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

What are you doing out there?

We created this lab's office because we have seen retail and e-commerce changes so quickly.

Surely zappos is at the forefront.

If you want those black dress shoes and you have them in mind, you come to zappos and we find them for you, ship them to you.

Great customer service.

As we are trying to evolve our brand, people are spending so much time on pinterest and instagram, that is one of the things we think about as a retailer.

Now you're trying to transition us to make it part of our lifestyle.

I would not say transition.

We will not -- we will not stop being part of that amazing experience.

As we are seeing, consumer behavior changes and people move to their phones.

You make an important point.

Mark and i might sharp with our phones, but we are not likely to do that much shopping with our phones.

Kids on the other hand, they do a lot of shopping on their phone.

When everyone saw facebook being big and pinterest blowing up, everyone said let's build our own social network and everyone failed at that, including us.

People are doing stuff nash -- naturally on instagram.

To us older folks, we joke about it, but there is a hashtag on instagram called ootd.

It stands for outfit of the day.

There are 30 million pictures on instagram with that hashtag.

30 million pictures that have said this is my style, this is what i care about and i want the world to know.

How do we not be a part of that conversation?

I call it self expression.

How do you get your brand to be tied to those things?

We did a small pot lit.

We saw some interesting engagement.

We asked people -- you are doing an outfit picture.

We do not want you to do anything else but at the hashtag #nextootd.

Zappos is great at doing things emanuel.

When we see some one doing those things, we look at what they wear, look at their friends' st yles.

We have a huge catalog.

What is the followthrough like?

When those recommendations are made to those people, what do they do?

Do they shop?

They all go to their recommendation.

The thing we are seeing, if you are and instagram, you may check out one of our recommendation.

You may not feel like buying right away.

We have heard a lot of feedback like -- zappos sells clothing?

We are known for shoes.

Is a bot?

No, it is a stylist.

This will create jobs.

A big reason we moved our headquarters to las vegas is to grow our call centers locally and not outsource it.

We have stylists that are on our team that do some of these stylist recommendations as well.

It is very commercially focused.

A lot of companies spend time on social media trying to build brand awareness, loyalty, without any real sense as to whether there is a followthrough.

That seems to be different with the zappos.

If you look at our huge investment in our call center, it is hard to measure the roi.

When we do a 10 hour phone call with a customer that just wants to talk for 10 hours, there is no immediate short-term roi.

It might be negative.


It becomes a story of legend.

The old-fashioned way of brand building.


If you can achieve that level of branding, you are a go to experience.

I think we are a whole experience.

The zappos started in shoes.

Thank you.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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