Zappos at Work program changes the way workers buy safety gear – Footwear News
For more than two decades, Zappos has been a go-to online destination for shoppers looking to find fashionable sandals, boots and sneakers. But in recent years, he has quietly cultivated a different following through his Zappos at Work (ZAW) program.
Launched in 2018, ZAW is a business-to-business platform that partners with large corporations to help their employees shop for workwear from brands that meet their unique needs. It now has more than 50 corporate customers, such as Delta Airlines and Amazon, and participating safety footwear brands include Carhartt, Merrell, Timberland Pro, Reebok Work, Rocky, Keen Utility, Skechers and dozens more.
According to Zappos, the program has seen compound annual growth of 135% since its launch four years ago and has added more than one million new customers to the site.
“What we’ve done is take our world-class customer service and value proposition — and all of our great brands at Zappos — and bring that B2C experience to the B2B world,” said Crysti Howser, director of business development. from Zappos, which oversees the ZAW platform.
Michael Greenberg, chairman of Skechers, told FN that ZAW is a growing channel for his business. “[It] connects us directly with consumers who are already comfortable shopping on Zappos and know their store and their policies,” he said. “These consumers know that Skechers Work footwear provides the comfort, safety, innovation and durability they need in their workplace, so the platform makes it easy and effortless for them to purchase the gear they need. need.”
Howser explained that ZAW’s corporate customers can choose from the online retailer’s entire assortment of merchandise and curate a selection that meets uniform or security requirements for different roles in their organizations.
“We have hundreds of items for their employees to choose from, which is really different from what employees are usually used to, where you partner directly with one brand or one supplier,” Howser said. “We give employees a lot more autonomy than previous workplace safety footwear programs.”
In addition to a wider selection, there are also other advantages. Customers who purchase through ZAW can accumulate points to be used on the site for future personal purchases. Howser ZAW also offers an average 10% partnership discount for large enterprise customers, which when combined with a level allowance can increase an employee’s purchasing power.
Additionally, Zappos leverages its long-standing brand relationships to advance the selection of work and safety footwear in the marketplace.
Howser said that over the past year, ZAW has tripled the size of its women’s assortment and now offers hundreds of styles specifically designed for women. “Women-focused interest groups and sales have caused a change in the look and feel of these items for women,” she said. “And that’s great because a lot of women have entered the trades. Amazon’s workforce, for example, is much more female than your traditional jobs that would normally buy work boots in recent years.
And coinciding with the growth of its Zappos Adaptive program, the retailer introduced an adaptive composite toe Velcro sneaker with Reebok Work in Q2, specifically designed for ZAW customers.
Jim Maritz, president and CEO of Warson Brands, which produces safety footwear for Reebok and several other brands, told FN: “As we do with many of our customers, we are working to provide Zappos and customers a full line of safety footwear that everyone’s safety needs and personal styles can be met and exceeded, leading to increased and happier performance in their workplaces and job sites.”
Other brands have similar adaptive products in the works, with three more Velcro safety shoes set to launch on ZAW in Q1 2023. “We want to be more inclusive for all different types of workers, especially as the population is aging,” Howser said. .
But one of the biggest trends she’s noticed in the safety footwear category is being worn by younger customers. As industries like warehousing, distribution, and transportation continue to grow exponentially, they’re opening up opportunities in the trades to millennial and Gen Z workers — and those consumers are turning to the athletic silhouettes of popular sneaker brands.
According to Howser, the top-selling composite toe safety shoes for men and women on ZAW in the second quarter were all sneakers from Reebok, New Balance, Timberland Pro, Skechers and Nautilus.
That, in and of itself, isn’t too surprising – the labor market has been trending towards sneakers for several years. What’s unexpected is the style: customers are opting for bright and bold color combinations and patterns, a big departure from the classic black and brown tones that have traditionally dominated the workplace. “The very young millennial wants all that color, and you see the funniest, most colorful items selling well,” Howser said. “I don’t see that going away in the short term.”