News Feature | December 1, 2014

Zappos Launches First Physical Retail Location

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

In October 2014, Amazon announced it would be opening its first physical retail location in New York City. Now Zappos, an Amazon-owned company, plans to open its own physical location. The company shared the news in an announcement on the Zappos blog, and announced they were launching the shop, The Pop Up Shop Showroom Store in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of a collaboration with ShopWithMe, a technology company that integrates online and in-store experiences with smart POS systems for retailers.

Zappos informed its shoppers that the new pop-up location will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week beginning November 21st until December 31st, in downtown Las Vegas, ShopWithMe's corporate home. The location is The Western Hotel at 899 Fremont Street. The company is emphasizing the ability of consumers to interact with the company and have a pleasant shopping experience.  “This will be a first-of-its-kind experience that brings the world of to life and gives holiday shoppers the chance to interact with all 4 of the Zappos Cs; Clothing, Customer Service, Culture, & Community,” says Zappos VP of Merchandising, Steve Hill.

As a technology company, ShopWithMe integrates POS systems into retail showrooms. Customers can enjoy physical aspects of the business, such as trying on clothing and shoes or engaging with store associates. From there, ShopWithMe lets shoppers browse for related products an order them directly to their home. Zappos points out that customers will be able to “choose exactly what it is they want in the color and size they want it.” The company will continue to offer the free shipping for orders placed in the pop-up shop. With the partnership with ShopWithMe, Zappos has the ability to attract new customers who may be unfamiliar with the Zappos brand, as well as see how their non-shoe retail products are received.

More than 2,500 items will be on hand in the pop-up shop for consumers to look at, touch and try on to their satisfaction in the 20,000 square foot location. Shoppers can also use their smartphone to scan in an item, choose the color and size options they want, and have it delivered at their door. The Zappos partnership with ShopWithMe marks the first large-scale implementation of ShopWithMe's system.

Pop up shops are growing in popularity, with many springing up during the months of November and December. Previously, small and creative businesses such as stationary stores, chocolate shops, and other “mom and pop stores” opted for pop up shops. The model is a good business risk for new businesses, who may lack capital for pricy real estate space, but want to attract customers and take advantage of good foot traffic. A 2013 article by CNBC's Karma Allen noted how the pop up was evolving as the amount of vacant retail space in malls was dwindling, noting that some pop up shops were gathering together to form “pop up malls.” Now larger retailers are embracing the model as well, with Amazon Kindle and Kate Spade being some of the biggest names to have pop up shops in the past.

Zappos trying a pop-up shop in time for the holiday shopping season will be a good test of the ShopWithMe systems. Zappos is known for its customer service, and many retail experts are anxious to see how it translates to an in-store experience. The 24 hour availability of the store lets Zappos compete with other retailers who have launched similar store hours this holiday season.