News Bytes: The Latest Digital Initiatives from Zappos, Net-a-Porter, GOAT.com & More

Sneak Promos

Zappos is upping its sneaker game. In the coming year, the e-tail veteran plans to “embrace and support” its The_Ones and Zappos Running hyperverticals with more marketing efforts. The_Ones, which launched in 2017, features hot kicks and content about sneaker culture. Meanwhile, the Zappos Running vertical is dedicated to athletes, providing technical product and advice.

Greatest & Latest

Since merging with Flight Club last February, sneaker resale site GOAT.com has quickly integrated with the brick-and-mortar chain to create an enhanced shopping experience. For instance, it now cross-lists the in-store products online and ships authenticated styles direct from its warehouse to speed up delivery. In addition, its Black Friday AR Experience that launched in November gave fans the chance to explore the Flight Club shops in N.Y. and L.A. Next up, the company is rolling out a service called GOAT Storage, which allows customers to purchase sneakers online and hold them in the company’s facility in case they wish to resell on the platform at a later time, thus saving money on shipping costs.

More Clicks, More Bricks

An increasing number of digital-native footwear labels are finding value in brick-and-mortar. M.Gemi is set to open a permanent store at Hudson Yards in New York on March 15. The Italian cafe-inspired space will span about 1,450 square feet and feature a charging station, lounge seating and a coffee bar where customers can enjoy an espresso while they shop. The store will also offer VIP shopping appointments powered by Resy as well as an ongoing series of community events. M.Gemi ran a pop-up boutique in Soho from September 2016 to last August. The brand also has a shop at Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street, which opened as part of the department store’s redesigned shoe floor in April.

The Personal Touch

Digital players are getting more personal. Net-a-porter and Mr Porter are enhancing the services for their top-spending customers with at-home shopping consultations. As part of a service known as Style Trial, customers are offered a seven-day trial period to order products online and try at home. They order up to 30 pieces, which they or their personal shoppers have chosen across all of Net’s categories. Payment is automatically taken for the items they wish to keep at the end of the trial, while the rest is returned. Lupe Puerta, global director of VIP client relations, said: “We can’t stress enough the importance of experience and of a highly personalized service. It is our job to bring the experience to the customer, in person.”

Efficiency Factor

TGS Inc. — the parent company of sneaker hotspots including Extra Butter, Renarts and Rooted — is making e-commerce a priority in 2019. CEO Ankur Amin told FN, “[My brother] Nick and I come from the world of brick-and-mortar, and we have a good bit of expertise there, but e-com is where we can take our business to new heights in the coming years.” He noted that the company is consolidating fulfillment and warehousing for its New York banners into a single distribution hub to house all online inventory and handle web functions for the stores. And hiring is on the agenda, as well. “We have a good team now but are looking to add experienced and passionate people in our e-com marketing and management rosters,” said Amin.

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