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Zappos combines mobile with personal customer service for easy shopping

This holiday season, Zappos is harnessing shoppers’ love affair with their smartphones to make it easy to shop anywhere and anytime via customer service-driven services such as Ask Zappos and curated collections.

For these services, Zappos team members help mobile shoppers find items of interest to combine the best of personal customer service with the convenience of mobile. Zappos is also leveraging the latest capabilities in iOS 8 for seamless multiscreen shopping, with customers able to start shopping on their iPhone and pick up where they left off on their iPad or Mac.

This year mobile has a big role for our customers,” said Aki Iida, head of mobile at Zappos. “We have seen more growth in mobile shopping because the apps are designed in a way that allows customers to find what they are searching for and organize their shopping.

“For example, they can save their search or use the ‘favorites’ list for future shopping, as well as use the express checkout option to move through the buying process more quickly,” he said. “People are busy so it’s all about simplicity and convenience.”

Ask Zappos
Ask Zappos is a brand-new service that launched this year with the goal of helping shoppers find any product from anywhere for free.

Shoppers who someone wearing a dress or other apparel item they like can take a photo, send it Zappos and the Ask Zappos team will search for it and send shoppers their results.

While Amazon, Macy’s and others are embracing image recognition technology to automatically provide a similar strategy, the Zappos strategy underscores how image recognition technology is still limited in its capabilities.

Once shoppers have a taken a photo of an item of interest, they can text it Zappos at 702-577-1818, email it to [email protected], post it on Instagram using the #AskZappos hashtag or upload it directly on the Ask Zappos Web site.

A product does not have to be on Zappos for the Ask Zappos to find it.

Another new feature that was introduced this month is called Handover, which takes advantage of new capabilities in iOS 8 to enable shoppers to shop on one device and pick up exactly where they left off on another device.

Additionally, the Zappos iOS app now has a native credit card reader so shoppers do not have to type in their information repeatedly. The app does not store a picture of a shopper’s credit card on their phone so there is no risk of it being stolen.

Glance curated collections were introduced earlier this year, Zappos stylists pulling all the best pieces from Zappos and curating them into collections based on the latest trends and seasonal events. The collections are shoppable on a mobile-friendly Web app.

Several collections have been created for the holidays, including the Thanksgiving Dinner collection and the Holiday Sparkle collection.

“We expect mobile shoppers will be looking for convenience this year and will rely on mobile shopping more than they did last year,” Mr. Iida said. “Mobile shopping provides efficient filtering and searching for easier product discovery.

“When combined with expedited shipping, it provides consumers with a more convenient shopping experience,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York