Zappos Targets Elevated Customer Engagement with Runners

Online retailer Zappos views running as not only an incredibly healthy activity for anyone, but also a path toward capturing its customers’ share of attention.
In October, the company launched a new initiative to help people get in better shape called Zappos Running, which offers inspiring videos and articles, featuring runners and trainers offering expert tips. It also provides product recommendations and a service called Run-On-One, which gives 100 people free motivational support in the form of personal phone calls for 30 days.
To get people involved in this running community, Zappos targeted customers shopping for running shoes with an ad for Run-On-One.
Joe Grusman, Director of Marketing, Zappos, talked to Loyalty360 about Zappos Running.
“What prompted the initiative was to capture our customer’s share of attention versus that of share of wallet,” Grusman explained. “The Zappos brand will aim to blur the line between e-commerce and content. With consumers accustomed to curating images that serve as representations of themselves in the age of social media, Zappos must evolve to become a platform that can blend both content and the e-commerce shopping experience. This progression toward a new way of commerce will enhance customer experiences with informative, entertaining content that emotionally engages consumers. With running, we have the opportunity to truly engage in a meaningful way with our running customers.”
Running is a very personalized activity for people based on their respective abilities and goals. Zappos faces the challenge of catering to different types of runners, from a casual jogger all the way to a competitive road racer.
“That was one of the largest hurdles to overcome, how do we speak with language that is welcoming to runners that are just starting out, but also establish the credibility to appeal to frequent marathoners,” Grusman said. “We found that we could do all of that by curating the content by taking a scalpel to the customer approach, by creating content that would honestly appeal to several types of core runners. For the beginners, we created content to help buy your first pair of running shoes. For the intermediate runners, we partnered with Refinery29 to create inspirational content, and for the advanced runners, we created marathon training regimens and infographics that showcase key running shoe technologies. Additionally, we created new value propositions to help runners. Our Run-On-One 100 customers were able to sign up to receive daily motivational calls from our customer loyalty team to get out and run. With our new Runlimited guarantee, we are testing giving our customers 30 days to test drive their shoes and if they don’t like them, they can return the shoes.” 
Grusman said Zappos officials feel that the new running vertical is off to a great start and has resonated quite well with customers.
“I think every company has to strive to give their customers what they want,” Grusman added. “We must give our customers a worthwhile experience, something that actually inspires them. Zappos should want to romance the customer with that story, taking him or her through a journey as they make their purchase decision, as opposed to having a transactional focus where customers just buy an item.”

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