Scott Schaefer, who took over as acting CEO at Zappos.com in December, was officially named permanent CEO of the company in April.
Since taking the reins, Schaefer has doubled down on his leadership vision, anchored in “experience, efficiencies, energy and each other” — a reference to Zappos’s famous company culture, built around its 10 core values.
At the FN CEO Summit on Wednesday, Schaefer dove in depth into this strategy and what it means for the future of Zappos.
Experiences were mentioned as a “heavy focus” for the company. “We want to offer our customers, brand partners and others unique experiences that only Zappos can and will deliver,” Schaefer said.
Among the experiences that Zappos has launched this year include the return of its company-sponsored Running Bay to Breakers 12k race in San Francisco. And in June, Zappos launched its largest activation yet with the Special Olympics at its 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Fla. As platinum sponsor, Zappos created an experiential retail space within the USA Games’ Fan Zone to highlight and display its adaptive product range, which the retailer has continued to develop since 2014.
As for efficiencies, Schaefer noted that the company is focused on having a foundational focus on automation, process improvement and other operational efficiencies. “Moving forward, we’re doubling down on our customer, or focusing on brands that our customers love and want to see more from us,” he said. “We are also starting to build on our logistics by working more with Amazon to get closer to customers. And when we get closer to customers, we’re also increasing the speed in which we’re getting product to them. Everyone knows that speed matters.”
On the topic of creating energy in the business, Schaefer highlighted two recent executive moves that are giving Zappos “fresh eyes and new perspective.” In April, Zappos hired Ginny McCormick as the company’s first chief marketing officer in its more than 20-year history. And in June, the company tapped Joe Cano as chief merchandising officer. Cano most recently served as the GM of menswear and accessories at Walmart.com.
“We’re bringing in folks with new ideas of how we can make Zappos even better,” Schaefer added. “It’s important to energize across the entire organization. Why? Because it drives new approaches to business and customer benefits.”
And finally, for “each other,” the Zappos CEO noted that the company is working hard to preserve its culture of creating a positive and creative spirit, which was tested to its limits during the height of the pandemic when everyone was forced to stay home.
“We’ve been able to keep our culture thriving through what was a completely remote model to now a hybrid model aimed at creating organic moments together,” Schaefer said. As an illustration to this point, the CEO said he is delegating team building to other leaders in the organization to ensure employees feel empowered and don’t need permission to do what’s best for them to succeed.
And to illustrate Zappos’ continued commitment to “wow,” he pointed to a recent company picnic that involved both in-office and remote workers. Employees not able to make it in person were sent a backpack filled with picnic gear and a Subway gift card. “We’ve embraced the remote workforce across the U.S. and this has really allowed for us to have additional growth and better connect with customers,” he said.
Click through the gallery to see more from the 2022 FN CEO Summit.