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Triathlon training, 39-mile mountain hikes and high-end shopping sprees: At Zappos, it’s all part of the job.
“We take employees who have a passion for something — whether it be running or fashion — and we place them in that category,” said Galen Hardy, Zappos’ senior director of clothing, who oversees the company’s outdoor and performance divisions and includes a 50-mile hike among his list of outdoor achievements.
Infusing the Zappos teams with employees who are passionate about what they do (some of the running team members are marathoners and some on the outdoor team trek to Alaska for ice climbing) has turned Zappos into more than just an online shop.
The mega e-tailer has four specialized sites meant to create online shopping communities for runners, outdoor enthusiasts, skateboarders and fashionistas and is considering adding tennis and bridal sites, among others.
“We want to create a unique experience for those customers,” said Fred Mossler, who oversees merchandising, marketing, creative services and product presentation, among other departments. “For the ride shop, they want to see action-sports apparel along with the footwear, and they want content that is action-sports related. Those aren’t the customers who want to see a pair of black pumps.”
A click on Couture.zappos.com takes the shopper away from the main site to an online boutique specializing in high-end stilettos, apparel and perfume, while the skater-centric Rideshop.zappos.com includes surfing shorts and snowboarding boots, and Running.zappos.com offers training sneakers and stopwatches. Outdoor.zappos.com features footwear, clothing, accessories and gear for climbers, campers and hikers.
Added perks for the outdoor site include ideas for winter hiking, a phrase book for rock climbers and a blog with postings such as “How to Build a Fire.” And according to Jeanne Markel, Zappos’ director of casual lifestyle and performance, the team hopes to add the U.S. National Parks schedule to the outdoor site and post a nationwide marathon schedule to the running site, along with training programs.
“We’re cognizant that there’s a shopper who wants to have more of a boutique experience,” Markel said, “and we have a unique opportunity to really include content ... and give an overall feeling of the lifestyle.”