One tactic the company might share with others is Lin’s idea to change the way product is delivered to the company’s Shepherdsville, Ky., distribution facility. Last year, Lin began consolidating shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach in California to reduce shipping costs. This year, Zappos consolidated orders into one shipping container from multiple vendors in China before leaving the port.
“Because so many vendors ship from China, we’re seeing what’s possible,” said Lin. “It’s one of those projects where pennies saved here and there add up to large amounts of money, and it’s more efficient for our brands and for us.”
Hunting for Freshness
Finding exciting brands will take on a new urgency in the coming year due to the current economy and the need to entice consumers to shop. And shoes are still a big part of the mix.
“Customers need to be inspired to buy, so now is the time to show freshness,” Mossler said. “We’re looking for new brands and new trends in each of our categories. When you’re in a downturn, you have to innovate to inspire the customer.” Recent additions to the site include Alife, Diane von Furstenberg and K-Swiss. Munro American and Burberry will soon join the selection.
In the end, Lin said this multipronged approach of experimentation and innovatation is all part of discovering the limits and opportunities for the young firm.
“We’re still in the very early stages of what’s possible with e-commerce,” he said. “We’re in the third inning of a very long game.”