Zappos marketing strategy

Winning with the Zappos marketing strategy.


Social networking is not about farming followers, it’s a way of cultivating relationships.

- Hubspot


What makes Zappos marketing strategy stand out above the crowd? Cultivating relationships and social networks are certainly contributors. Using the many new social media tools and social platforms, yes?


When choosing to learn from others marketing strategies, it is always helpful to choose one of the top dogs. Ones that stand way above the crowd. Zappos is certainly one of those in this category we believe. One that we regularly follow.


Meet Zappos. They have been successfully executing their marketing strategy with a social focus since the first days of social media. For over 5 years, and their strategies have played a significant role in their growth.


See our article on the Zappos company culture.


An introduction to Zappos is probably unnecessary.


But let’s examine one of Zappos top advantages … their company culture. The four dimensions of their culture core values (our favorite company culture):



Deliver ‘WOW’ through service

Do more with less



Embrace and drive change

Pursue growth and learning



Create fun and a little weirdness

Be adventurous, creative, and open minded

Be passionate and determined



Build open and honest relationships with communication

Build a positive team and family spirit


In our opinion, the company has inserted itself into the American e-commerce landscape more quickly and craftily than any retail company in history (even considering its parent Amazon). It has forever changed the way companies market themselves to customers.


Related: What Ben and Jerry’s Can Teach You about Social Commerce Business.


Zappos has obviously built their business entirely on the digital realm. With a strong presence on multiple social networks, the brand has set a high bar when it comes to being social and engaging its customers. They are at or near the top of nearly every major brand ranking in customer service and social media.


Zappos ability to wear so many hats … corporate success, “local” favorite, and Internet sensation warrants strategic examination.


Why is Zappos’ marketing strategy such a difference maker? There are nine key reasons in our minds:


Going to its customers

When Zappos uses an example of their customer service, it shares it on Google+, posts it to Facebook, tweets it on Twitter, and pins it on Pinterest. It clearly goes to where all its customers like to hang out. Cross-promotion is more valuable as the world becomes more digitally focused.


Each network provides an opportunity to reach their audience in a new channel. Integrating their strategy on each is crucial to increasing visibility and promoting the brand.


 Market segmentation

The company has stayed focused exclusively on e-commerce, competing on those who prefer excellent customer service. One could say they set the mark for everyone to target in customer service. And they make it the core of their marketing strategy.



The company continues to focus on its original product bundle that includes shoes, and continues to add new products slowly, ensuring it can maintain its quality service. They keep their focus and attention to the details of great execution and service.


 Social Media

One of the earliest adopters of the use of social media for marketing and social commerce, Zappos has certainly taken a leadership position. Their social media strategy is built around their company web site and 5 additional core social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+, and Youtube. We will review Zappos’ social media strategy in detail below.


 Adaptation and Innovation

Zappos’ business innovation via its website, has been a hugh success. Why you may ask? Because they have combined the concepts of change, experimentation, social media, customer engagement, and market research and made the results key components of both their brand as well as their marketing strategy. Have you given Zappos a try? What did you think?

Customer relationships

Instead of solely focusing efforts on accumulating new customers, it cultivates its current relationships. This ensures more fans/followers (by word of mouth marketing) in the long run, as well as the continued existence of brand advocates. This holds particularly true in its emphasizing the importance of customer service.

Customer engagement

They believe in letting customer engagement and conversation occur as naturally as possible.  What is most important is that they listen carefully, observe, and apply new ideas from what they learn.


Encourages sharing

Happy customers are eager to share good experiences and offers. For example, the Zappos promotions like “buy 1 get 1″ garner an extraordinary amount of engagement on social media through comments, “likes,” and shares.


Experience customization

Want to know one of the most effective examples that Zappos uses to build its marketing and create reciprocity with its customers?


By surprising them!


People like getting things for free and like them even more when they are viewed as ‘favors’.  But even more, they love receiving these favors as surprises.


For instance, did you know that Zappos automatically upgrades all purchases to priority shipping … without so much as even a mention on the sales or checkout page?


Why give away this sort of benefit without mentioning it?


Simple … 

a company like Zappos (known for their legendary customer service) recognizes the benefits of surprising people with a next day delivery. That’s not even mentioning the fact that this shipping creates immense goodwill between Zappos and their first time buyers. (I still remember my first order.)


Lots of ideas here that can be easily replicated … which ones do you feel could benefit your business?

How could you improve the Zappos customer service campaign concept for your business?


Zappos is one of many businesses we can learn from. Please post your comments below, offering questions or your own great examples of social marketing strategies.


It’s up to you to keep improving attention to your brand.

All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.


When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Are you devoting enough energy in each of these steps to improving attention to your marketing strategy?


Do you have a lesson about making your marketing better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading about branding and marketing from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

What Everyone Ought to Know About Rebranding a Business

How Creative Branding Helps Your Business Marketing

A Crash Course in Creative Branding by Using a Distinctive Voice






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3 Responses to Zappos Marketing Strategy … What Is Their Difference Maker?

  1. Arshad says:

    Another timely post with some really great insights, I liked the idea of surprising your customers, though I always thought of sharing such things like “priority shipping” with your customers would make them feel better, but thanks for showing the much better aspect by not sharing and surprising them. That’s what I call being different, thinking outside the box and that’s what keeps me coming back here, a surprise every time, I learn something awesome! :)

  2. Cheyserr says:

    What I like most is that they started first with their mission and that is to deliver a WOW experience to every customer through service. We cannot give what we don’t have. And definitely, we cannot provide a good customer service if we don;t believe that we can. I think, that should be the first step, believe and act out of that belief.

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