How Zappos Kept Shoppers Engaged During The Holiday Season

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Zappos invests significant time and money in developing new tools and tactics that will surprise and delight customers. Within its internal innovation lab — aptly named Zappos Labs — the online retailer has a dedicated team of employees who focus on solving customers’ pain points, and creating compelling and customized experiences across all channels.

Out of a series of tests and brainstorming sessions, Zappos Labs has established a variety of innovative tools to make customers’ lives easier. For example, Ask Zappos allows customers to snap photos of items they see on the street and text, email or Instagram them to team members. A representative will then find the item and send a link to the customer to buy online. And new capabilities implemented in the Zappos mobile app allow consumers to shop and favorite items across different devices, as well as store their payment information in a secure environment.

While the above tools undoubtedly help make shopping more seamless and hassle-free, it is Glance that has helped surprise, delight and inspire consumers at the point of decision-making. Glance is an online shopping tool powered by Zappos stylists who pull the hottest items on the site and curate them in to compelling, easy-to-digest collections.


“We love our customers more than anything, so we’re always thinking about how we can really delight them,” said Kandis Yoakum, who is a content curator for the Glance site. “We try to set ourselves apart with customer service, but customers don’t always want to have the traditional service experience. Glance is ideal for them because they don’t have to take the time to call us. It’s available at any time, and it provides them with a breakdown of products they may like so they no longer have to search through endless web pages to find the product they’re looking for.”

Creating this educational yet fun experience is key for Zappos — especially during the holiday season, when stress runs high. To get customers in the holiday shopping spirit, Yoakum rolled out a series of collections focused on different components of the season, focusing gift ideas, holiday sweaters, cocktail dresses for holiday parties, and more.

During the holiday season, “you’re getting bombarded with emails,” Yoakum noted in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I know my inbox has exploded with emails, and sometimes, it feels more like a marketing blast than an actual connection. That makes the message get lost in the holiday marketing confusion.”

Glance was designed to help Zappos veer away from “batch-and-blast” tactics, and create a space that makes it fun to explore the shop, Yoakum noted. Most of all, the retailer wanted to “meet the need of holiday shoppers without having products shoved down their throats.” 

An Agile, Customer-Driven Environment

Since unveiling Glance about a year ago, Zappos has developed a content strategy that is tactical and strategic, yet also extremely agile. 

Yoakum establishes the editorial content for the year by using a skeleton calendar that includes key seasons and holidays. From there, she fleshes out specific months by plugging in specific color and pattern trends. However, all content is finalized only one week before the publish date, so she has plenty of time to plug in last-minute collections that spring up based on customer feedback.

“We have a small team, so we can put our heads together quickly and share the feedback we’re getting from customers and determine the best way to solve their problems,” Yoakum said. “It makes it more fun for us to determine the best way to address this feedback. Do we need to change the way we write the content for the collections? Should we change the collections themselves? Should we change when we show the collections? These are all things to consider.”

Most Glance collections are customized based on the time of year. For example, a collection recently published, called “Resolution Supporters,” touts workout apparel, sneakers and other gear for shoppers focusing on fitness. However, Glance has one ongoing collection, called “The Look,” which outlines full collections and outfits.

“I like to plan two weeks out for collections, since two are published every day in a timed fashion,” Yoakum said. “But if I get feedback from a customer that really wants to see a specific collection, I’ll jump in and change the next day’s collection. We don’t need any approvals; we’re just dedicated to providing that personal, curated experience. It really makes such a difference in the customers’ response to what you’re sharing.”  




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