Posts Tagged ‘Zappos’

Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Posts in 2011 – Numbers 20 to 11

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

iStock_000010469879XSmallAs 2011 winds to a close, no year would be complete without a wrap-up list of some kind. In that spirit, we are counting down the 20 Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas posts in 2011. In today’s post we will be highlighting numbers 20 to 11.

Did your favorite Fresh Ideas posts make the list? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know.

20. The Art of Storytelling

19. PRSSA National Conference Speed Networking PR Student Questions

18. How to Speak C-Suite

17. Disappearing Act: 10 Brands That May Not Be Around in 2012

16. The New York Women in Communications 2011 Matrix Awards

15. When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey

14. Zappos, 24/7 Customer Service in the Internet Age

13. Oscar’s Social Media Fever

12. Snooki’s Appearance at Rutgers – Good PR or Poor Reputation Management?

11. Poll Results: Should PR Interns Pitch the Media?

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Marketing Brand Loyalty: How Far Would You Go?

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Yfrog: the_951

Yfrog: the_951

As I was going through my daily ritual of skimming through my Google Reader and industry headlines, this one caught my eye, “Zappos Founder Launches New Voyeuristic Ecommerce Site.” I figured it was a teaser headline so after only a brief pause, I continued on.  When I saw this one a minute later, “Zappos Founder Wants to Peek in Your Closet.” I knew it was something I had to read!

Nick Swinmurn does want to see what’s in your closet, as do many other marketers and advertisers. According to AdWeek, his new platform RNKD (pronounced ranked) opened to the public (in beta) on Wednesday, November 16th. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Swinmurn said he felt there had to be a better way for vendors to know who their customers are and to create a channel of communication. 

Mashable explains, “The concept is simple: Take pictures of all the things you have in your closet. Tag them by brand and purchase location and get rewards and deals based on your proven likes.”

In a statement to Huffington Post Swinmurn says, “Every consumer has favorite brands and stores they are loyal to, but most have never been recognized or rewarded for their purchases. If you buy more shoes from Nike than anyone else – shouldn’t you be given early access to new lines and different pricing than someone who is trying the product for the first time and may never buy again? ” Swinmurn argued that RNKD, unlike many other social sites, gives people an incentive to share.

There are tiered rewards, presumably to make sure beginners are able to win some deals. Users can earn points, badges and discounts by uploading, “liking,” commenting, or accumulating a particular brand as well as inviting friends and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. There are also individual ranks for the various types of apparel. The user can even peruse other people’s closets to find new brands (although you are able to make your profile private if you prefer).

According to a WSJ blog, the catch right now is that not many brands have jumped onboard yet, and it could be a while before the site reaches the scale that brands really begin to offer discounts.  Currently the site shows users being rewarded based on weekly rankings with gift certificates from Zappos and Dethrone Royalty – two of Swinmurn’s own creations.  The blogger notes brands currently have no control over how their clothing items, shoes, and accessories are being portrayed on RNKD, since the content is user-generated – to which Swinmurn replied, “We’re telling brands, that’s just real life. Here are the $100 shoes in people’s closets, next to the $20 pair, because that’s what people really own.” 

So, as the old BASF tagline goes, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” Swinmurn is betting that RNKD will revolutionize the brand loyalty arena by allowing retailers to offer the biggest discounts to those who deserve them – their biggest fans.

What do you think? Will you whip out your phone (yes, there’s an app for that) and start uploading pictures of what’s in your closet? Do you think Swinmurn is on the right path? I look forward to your feedback!

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Zappos: 24/7 Customer Service in the Internet Age

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

24/7 Customer Service in the Internet Age

by Lauren Shapiro*

In the past few years, nearly everything has found its way to the Internet, from ordering your groceries online to ordering a pizza. What we have learned, though, is that the Internet takes out a key component that online shoppers often need – personalized assistance… or at least the option of it. In fact, many online retailers have left their consumers high and dry when they need help navigating their website or have questions about their products. Other brands have gotten creative, however, combining the ease and convenience of online shopping with the option of real-time customer service when needed.

One of the main draws to is the accessibility to a real walking and talking person! While on the Zappos site, you can easily call the 24/7 customer service phone number or opt for live help which will connect you via online chat with a customer service representative. is a prime example of client service gone right. According to, Zappos grossed over one billion dollars in 2009 and, as cited by, they earned themselves the number 15 spot on Fortune’s 2010 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Their attention to customer service combined with a quality product and strong culture have made Zappos an example for other organizations to follow in 2011.

Zappos isn’t shy about sharing their secrets to success either. provides a unique opportunity to visit the Zappos “family” (as the employees are called), schedule time to tour their facility in Las Vegas and learn about and request your own Zappos Culture Book that outlines Zappos culture, core values, and tips for your own organization.

Zappos puts a strong emphasis on the culture in which their employees thrive. The happiness of the employee then translates to the customer – making for an overall positive experience. Just ask Donavon Roberson, Zappos culture evangelist, or Matt Wong, Zappos audio/video jedi, who make up a portion of the Zappos Insights team.

As we continue to worry about the down trodden economy, the unemployment rate and the many other lackluster things going on – why not take a nod from and put our focus on being creative, thinking outside the box, being positive and being strongly attentive to customer service and internal culture?


*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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Online Video: Another Tool in PR’s Arsenal

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Valerie Simon

On Wednesday CEO Jeff Bezos chose to talk about the Zappos deal on YouTube. By speaking directly to the public, and bypassing the press, Bezos was able to assure that his key messages were clearly articulated. The video spread quickly via social media, and became a part of the story in the traditional media.

There is little doubt that online video is exploding. The July issue of the BurrellesLuce e-newsletter, devoted to online video, notes that according to comScore’s Video Metrix, published in June 2009, 78.6 percent of all Internet users viewed online video during the month of April 2009 (16.8 billion videos), a 34.5 percent increase in video consumption from April of 2008.

The rapid growth of online video provides public relations professionals new opportunity to engage the public and media. Tuesday I moderated a PR News webinar, “How to (Really) Leverage YouTube for PR,” designed to help PR practitioners use online video to take their media relations to the next level. Anthony Allen, director of Digital Media for the American Society for Training and Development, provided some practical advice on creating and sharing videos. Christi Day, emerging media specialist from Southwest Airlines, shared great examples of how Southwest has been able to engage the media and audiences using online video. And Rick Wion, vice president Dialogue, GolinHarris, offered great suggestions on what organizations should be measuring.

As Rick pointed out, “Viral is not a strategy.” Effective use of online video means assuring that it is seamlessly integrated with your overall PR plan. The Jeff Bezos video provides an excellent example of how to tell a story, while simultaneously aligning the video to key messages. While it took Bezos nearly six minutes to mention Zappos, he was quick to talk about the company’s core values; a customer centric philosophy, constant invention/innovation and long-term focus.

With that said, the Bezos video was not without its critics. Is eight minutes too long for an online audience? Why did it take six minutes to get to the news viewers were waiting to hear? Was the quality of the video lackluster?

As business communicators, we all have a lot to learn about how to harness the full potential of online video. Back in February of 2007, Doug Simon, president of D S Simon, noted in his welcoming vlog post: “In two years, websites and blogs without video will be the exception, rather than the rule.” Today, online video has become an essential element in communications plans and is an important part of what we monitor for our clients.

Be sure to check out these tips for using online video from BurrellesLuce.  How do you incorporate online video into your PR plan?

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