Zappos is taking its online retail brand offline and on the road for the first time with a “Friends with Benefits Road Show,” a cross-country road trip targeting cities with a bright and high-tech retail experience. The tour kicked off Jan. 27-29 in Austin at 1327 South Congress. The plan is to hit one city every month between now and the end of the year, and to activate in high-traffic locations. You can follow the road trip progress here.
At each stop, Zappos’ retrofitted 40-foot shipping container offers fashions and accessories for sale, as well as a backyard chill space. Within the shipping container, Zappos is leveraging consumer data to curate the offerings based on what products, brands and styles sell best in each market. Bluetooth beacons placed throughout the space allow shoppers to scan products and have them automatically populate in a shopping cart on touchscreens.
Aside from shopping, fashion bloggers and local style mavens will be on-site at each stop to help coordinate outfits for the season. Local food truck vendors will be on-site, too. Every evening on the tour stops, Zappos will host a happy hour on the deck with drinks, “hugs,” and performances in partnership with radio stations of local musicians and djs. In addition, Zappos is partnering with a local animal welfare organization, hosting pet adoption days in the backyard of the footprint—pet fashion shows, included.
“As an e-commerce website, we don’t typically get to have the personal communication with customers from a face-to-face perspective on a daily basis, so one of the main reasons we wanted to take our brand on the road was to truly give back and meet our customers in a meaningful way,” says Kristin Richmer, senior brand marketing manager at Zappos. “We’ve never done anything at this level and taken our brand on the road like this, so it’s a new adventure and we’re excited.” Build: Grand Design.