Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Zappos’.

We Are Social’s Tuesday Tweakup #3

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Zappos lives up to its reputation for customer service
Over the past few years, online retailer Zappos has been highlighted alongside the likes of Ford, Dell or Comcast fairly regularly as a ‘go to’ case study for their use of social media for customer support. And it’s easy to see why with this example.

A pricing bug on a Zappos sister site called gave customers the ability to purchase any product online for no more than $49.99. The mistake was eventually caught 6 hours after it went live, but not before customers had taken advantage of the pricing bug to the tune of approximately $1.6m.

Balancing the backlash that might ensue online against the cost of eating the loss, Director of Brand Marketing Aaron Magness explained on the Zappos Blog that they would honour all purchases.

As Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles put it: “Zappos… clearly understands that its reputation is worth far more than $1.6m and that sometimes eating a loss is the smart thing to do. Interestingly, one might even suggest that Zappos will only boost its reputation and customer loyalty with this move.”

Independent blocks anonymous comments
The Independent dealt a blow to trolls everywhere by only allowing people to post comments if they sign in using their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Open ID or Disqus accounts. Editor Martin King explained the move with the following:

Websites have been encouraging cowardice. They allow users to hide behind virtual anonymity to make hasty, ill-researched and often intemperate comments regardless of any consideration for personal hurt or corporate damage.

Well said. While this might not be able to stop individuals posting under a pseudonym using, say, a Disqus account, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction to try and deter those who seek only to defame or abuse in comments sections across the web.

BBC iPlayer adds Twitter and Facebook to socialise TV
The BBC’s video on demand service, iPlayer, is launching iPlayer Beta at the end of June, allowing users to link their Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger accounts to their ‘BBC ID.’

Users will more easily be able to share what they’re watching over social networks, while viewers using Windows Messenger can sync viewing with friends and chat about the show in realtime.

Buy lettuce, get virtual currency
Social gaming company Zynga and Green Giant have teamed up to offer purchasers of Green Giant vegetable products free virtual currency that can be used in Farmville.

At first glance, the promotion seems like a very good fit. Zynga will be able to easily track redemptions to determine if the promotion is a success, while Green Giant can (hopefully) get more people eating their ‘5 a day.’ More importantly though, “the promotion highlights just how prominent virtual currency and games like Farmville have become in the mainstream.”

BP beaten in social media stakes by fake tweets
BP has had something of a mess on its hands lately in social media in the form of a tongue-and-cheek account:  @BPGlobalPR. The account has swelled to over 97,000 followers, eclipsing BP’s official @BP_America account by some 88,000, and claimed to be the oil giant’s official voice throughout the ecological crisis in the Gulf, while delivering a healthy dose of satire.

The anonymous Tweeter has since penned an editorial in the Guardian, been unmasked by Wired magazine and even given a book deal. There is also a T-Shirt range with proceeds going to benefit the Gulf Restoration Network. Long may it continue.

Dr Pepper rolls out Facebook status takeover for teens
Coca-Cola has launched a Facebook app for Dr. Pepper which gives consumers the chance to win £1,000 if they allow Dr Pepper to take control of their status update.

The app ties into their ‘What’s the Worst that Could Happen?’ creative, and chooses updates at random with varying degrees of embarrassment such as ‘what’s wrong with peeing in the shower?’ or ‘never heard of it described as “cute” before.’

Domino’s UK Rewards Foursquare Mayors, Yahoo acquires ‘Asian Foursquare’
Domino’s UK is starting a nationwide Foursquare promotion that rewards mayors with free pizza once a week, a deal similar to the one Starbucks announced not too long ago. Additionally, every Foursquare user will receive a free side dish when spending over £10.

In other location-based news, Yahoo has acquired Koprol which has been described affectionately by TechCrunch as the ‘Asian Foursquare.’

Google Moderator on YouTube enables real-time feedback from your audience
YouTube has integrated the use of Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Google Moderator is a social platform that allows users to solicit ideas, ask questions, and have their community vote for the best comments in real-time. Crucially, it also allows users channel owners the ability to remove any content that their audience has flagged as inappropriate.

Twitter passes 15 billion tweet mark
After reaching 10 billion tweets at the beginning of March, Twitter has now announced that it has delivered its 15 billionth tweet:

It took Twitter almost a year to hit five billion, but only four months to hit 10 billion. By adding another five billion tweets in three months it is now growing at more than one billion tweets a month, which means it should hit 20 billion before the summer is out.

Assuming we even get a summer in London this year…

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Best Buy: A social media case study

by Robin Grant in News Google+
Best Buy

Amongst the famous examples of Dell, Ford, Zappos, Skype and the like, Best Buy may not be the first company that comes to mind when thinking about which companies using are using social media well.

They’re also not the sort of company you would immediately assume would be ahead of the curve in terms of social media – they’re the world’s largest multi-channel home electronics retailer (similar to Currys or Comet in the UK) who have recently made moves into Europe with the acquisition of 50% of Carphone Warehouse’s European stores (and with rumours they may go further than that).

However, in reality they’re as advanced as any of the examples I give above – let’s start with a short introduction from Best Buy’s Chief Marketing Officer, Barry Judge:

And then move onto this presentation from Gina Debogovich, Best Buy’s Community Manager:

It’s also worth finding out more about Best Buy Connect, Blue Shirt Nation (a community for Best Buy Employees), how they use customer reviews, their recently launched API and looking at how they use their own forums and Get Satisfaction to support their customers.

Let’s finish with a 4 minute video looking at Best Buy’s internal use of social media followed by a 20 minute interview with Best Buy’s CEO Brad Anderson talking about the issues in detail:

Update: The New York Times covers some of Best Buy’s more recent social media initiatives.

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Brands and Twitter

by Robin Grant in News Google+


So after being on the front page on Marketing the week before last, this week we’ve hit the pages of Campaign, with our inclusion in a feature article about, you guessed it, Twitter:

Three years into its existence, the recent media frenzy around celebrity Twitterers, including Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, and Barack Obama’s successful use of the medium in the run-up to the US election, has seen the popularity of the “microblogging” site increase 27-fold in 12 months.

Advertisers could learn a lot from celebrity Twitterers using the site to shape their personal branding, creating a close, one-on-one relationship with their fans without constantly filtering their thoughts through a PR sieve.

Robin Grant, the managing director of the social media agency We Are Social, which advises Fry on his use of Twitter, explains: “The advice we gave to Stephen centred on being himself and having genuine conversations with people. It’s the same for brands. It’s about being human, showing your real personality and allowing people to connect with you on an emotional level.”

The article then gets quite bizarre, with Flo Heiss, the creative partner at Dare giving this advice about who should sit behind a brand’s account:

It could be a real person, such as a receptionist, or character made up by yourself

How about an imaginary friend who’s a receptionist, Flo? On to David Bain, an ‘internet marketing consultant’:

it’s cleverer when you don’t anthropomorphise it. What if an inanimate object was to Tweet, for example?

Why is it cleverer David? And what would it say? Amelia Torode, managing partner at VCCP:

It has to be a friendly, chatty brand. A brand such as Coca-Cola would be too large in its entirety. You need to work less at a higher-brand level and go down to the actual campaigns or smaller brands under the umbrella in order to start up the conversation.

Not quite as unhinged as Flo and David admittedly, but I’d point to the examples of brands like Burger King, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Starbucks, JetBlue and even VCCP’s client O2, who are having meaningful and useful conversations at the higher-brand level. As usual, our friend Faris Yakob talks sense:

Previously we had a model of buying attention from media companies. Now we’ve got direct relationships so we have to earn that attention – we have to earn it by being entertaining, useful and also nice.

To be honest, there is no ‘right approach’, but there are some general principles that apply (as expressed by myself and Faris above) and then there is the hard won experience at the coalface, learning what works and what doesn’t, that brands doing it themselves (and the agencies like ourselves helping them) have acquired. Most importantly your approach should be built around, yes, you guessed it again, the business objectives you’re trying to achieve.

This diagram from Fallon’s Aki Spicer of six different potential participation strategies brands could use is a useful thought starter (each of which of course might be used in combination or not at all), but even the approaches I deliberately ridiculed above could be valid in the right circumstances. Fictional characters can work really well as part of a campaign as VCCP’s own Compare the Meerkat work shows, and I’m sure at least one of Zappos’ receptionists is on Twitter. Even inanimate objects might have their place – in fact I’ve been trying to persuade Kew Gardens to get their plant life on Twitter for a while now.

But deciding on a strategy is only the first and easiest step. The hard work is the day after day of micro-interactions with real people, and striking the right balance between the opportunities and risks presented by having a real person as the voice of the brand, which I touched upon in the hotly debated post on learning to speak human. David Armano brilliantly investigates this dynamic in The Age of Brandividualism and his recent follow-up, Battle of the Brands (both of which are required reading here at We Are Social towers):

For each brand on Twitter, there’s an individual (or individuals) behind that effort. It’s both business and personal. The two have become one. The tactic comes from a fundamental truth when it comes to the social spaces on the Web. People want to talk to other people. They want transparency. They want to know who they are talking to.

The potential reward of course, is the ability to spread surprise and delight, turn negative word of mouth into positive and to really engage people with your brand at an emotional level. There is no greater prize…

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