“Vegas is like a small town in a big city,” said Loren Becker, Zappos experience and community team manager. The longtime executive is just one of the 1,500 employees who do their part in supporting Las Vegas. “You can make an impact here — not just at Zappos but as a community member.”
While the company has made giving back a priority since its inception, becoming more integrated within the town came with the high-profile move of its headquarters from Henderson, Nev., to downtown Las Vegas in 2013, led by CEO Tony Hsieh.
As part of the Zappos leader’s ambitious Downtown Project, the area has continued to be revitalized ever since.
Through dozens of sponsorship events and its Zappos for Good banner, the online retailer has championed charitable initiatives that have impacted the city and helped build morale within the company.
“If anything, it helps connect employees with like-minded individuals within [the city],” Becker said. “For us, it’s [about integration], especially with the loyal downtown community. Now there’s so much growth. It’s making people proud.”
One example is through the continued support of those affected by last October’s mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The company recently held a shoe drive at four local hospitals. (The company has raised approximately $2.7 million for Las Vegas victims and helped pay for some of the funeral costs last year.)
Though the city is still recovering from the horrific event, tourism has begun to bounce back. And as the downtown area continues to blossom, Las Vegas as a whole is seeing resurgence with help from the influx of professional sports.
Now home to the NHL Golden Knights, the WNBA Aces and the United Soccer League’s Las Vegas Lights FC, the city is brewing with opportunity, and Zappos is taking advantage.
The company has partnered with the Lights — whose soccer stadium is a five-minute walk from the company’s campus — as its primary jersey sponsor. The retailer also holds activations and events at tailgates — and it goes on the road with the team for away games to hold more sponsorship events.With the addition of the new team, it’s been a win-win for all parties involved.
For example, as thousands migrate downtown for the Lights weekly games, more money is brought to local businesses. Local charities are also seeing advantages.
“With our partnership, we are able to give back to the community and youth soccer. We are able to raffle off tickets and donate to [nonprofit organizations],” Becker said.
He added: “The upside is that we’ve been able to sell Lights gear on our website. Since we’ve been distributing their jersey, it’s [brought] new customers that may not have shopped with us before. We’ve been able to push soccer cleats. [It’s] bringing awareness to our core business, as well,” Becker said.
Sponsorship has proved to be a successful outlet for Zappos to engage consumers while demonstrating its core values.
In June, for instance, the company teamed with Hopped Taco for a food and beer festival, hosted on Zappos’ campus, and guests were able to interact with a fun installation.
“Something that speaks to Zappos is our quirkiness and thinking outside the box. Our core is great service, so we designed a fancy pretzel jewelry store for guests at the festival,” Becker said.
The retailer partnered with nonprofit Opportunity Village — which serves adults with mental and related disabilities — to help build necklaces that were sold to guests. All the profits went to the organization.
“It’s about goodwill, and it’s doing the right thing,” Becker said regarding the brand’s overall ethos.
On a larger scale, the company debuted the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in February.
The company announced that it has entered into a multiyear partnership with Caesars Entertainment to open the theater, starting with a total rebranding of The Axis, a 7,000-seat state-of-the-art live venue on the Strip. The space, which boasts an innovative dance floor, a VIP table seating concept and nightlife-oriented services, has housed Gwen Stefani’s first run of her “Just a Girl” residency along with Jennifer Lopez and Backstreet Boys shows.
“Ideally, Zappos consumers will realize that delivering ‘wow’ through service doesn’t have to be limited to shopping on the website. Fun can be created in so many different ways, and the theater is a prime example of that,” said Kristin Richmer, senior brand marketing manager. “We’re looking at Zappos Theater as an entry into an exciting new industry. It’s less about the product and more about the experience being delivered in and around each show with fans.”
Zappos provides customer service at the merchandise booth before, during and after shows. And experiencewise, the company is looking to create perks such as allowing concertgoers to order drinks from the comfort of their seats.
“[We are] coming to life in a much different form, and we are excited for people to experience that. We’re looking to craft a custom concert experience through a fan-forward approach, consistent with our Zappos core values. If that stirs specific interest in the brand from a new audience, that’s a cherry on top,” Richmer said.