The Zappos Way of Making Buying Easier

It would be an oldschool recommendation, if I told you that Zappos knew more than most people about retail and/or customer service. We’ve known that for years. But I have another reason to love them: they make the best product videos. They are fast, concise, and full of information. Here’s one for a trail running shoe I’m considering buying.

If you can’t see a video above this line, click here.

See that? You could watch that video really quickly, because it’s under 1 minute, because it is full of information, because it’s cleanly shot, and because it feels informative but not forced. That’s the takeaway. Shoot brief, shoot informative. Shoot casual. That’s what we should strive for in videos that we hope to use to convince or convert people.

What do you think? Who’s making videos this effective? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Sunil Govind

    Great info thanks

  • Rick Manelius

    Hey Chris. I can’t see the video at all, even if I click the link. But I do kinda see a facebook/twitter link.

    • Chris Brogan

      Weird. Everyone else seems able to click it. Are you on an ipad or something? 

      • Rick Manelius

        Works perfectly now. Perhaps a fluke?

  • Nancy Davis

    This is right on time for me. I have two jobs now, and one of them at a local internet marketing company has figured out that I should do video talking about social media. I am a bit nervous about this. I think that is what I want to go for, that kind of casual talking.

    I also really like Derek Halpern’s videos. He is funny and he knows what he is talking about. I think I am going to keep the first few videos to simple things. Wish me luck!

    • Rufus Dogg

      Good luck!

      • Larry Thomas

        Good luck, great writing, better editing and relax! It’ll be great.

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  • Raul Colon


    I have to agree they make everything so simple and now with the support of Amazon (One Click Buying) I guess they are more committed to getting you from an interest into a product to the cash register in less steps. 

    I am a big fan of Zappos and even fan of good videos! Thanks for sharing! 

  • Mark

    The timing is right for me on this as well. I just finished editing a video I created yesterday and was very happy to keep it to 2 minutes and 4 seconds. 

    I think under three minutes is the YouTube golden standard.

    Looking at the Zappos video I think I could have tightened it up a bit. I will strive for casual 1 minute videos in the future.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Larry Thomas

    Hi Chris. Good post all around. Your commentary, like Zappos’ videos are informative and brief (not that I don’t enjoy your occasional rant). As a video marketing guy I’ve appreciated Zappos’ approach to video for some time. They get it from a production and a VSEO perspective. Recent study shows that 8% of ‘shoe buying’ search terms return a Zappos video on major search engines. I mention this in my recent VSEO white paper. Thanks, again. I’ll share this with clients and colleagues.

    Larry Thomas
    Latergy Video Marketing & PR

    • Larry Thomas

      ps If anyone wants a copy of the vseo paper please grab it from my home page, email me at or contact me @Latergy. Thanks.

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  • Ryan Biddulph

    Short and punchy works Chris. Intend to share a maximum amount of value in minimum time. No need for filler. Good note about the vid not being forced. It’s 1 thing to cram value in, another to let it flow smoothly yet directed and focused. Thanks for sharing.

  • Gildo Bittemcourt

    Gosto dos videos do Gary Vaynerchuk onde tem muitas expressões faciais,com originalidade e boa comunicação.

  • tojosan

    Clear. Concise. Informative.
    Wow. Sounds like blog posting.
    Good share.

  • Roundpeg

    Good information, but I think the spokesperson is speaking uncomfortably fast to get all the information in just 60 seconds.  If he had slowed down just a little, and the video ran 1 minute .15 seconds, it would have been easier to listen to .   

    I agree that the look and presentation is simple, smart and clean

  • Anonymous

    Hey Chris – I like Zappos videos but they don’t linger long enough when the model actually wears the shoe. I want to see how the shoe looks on the model. Even if she doesn’t fit my proportions it gives me a good idea of what would or wouldn’t look good on me.

    But their videos are more than what other brands are doing online. Super exciting to see this from Zappos and I’m glad they remain talk-about-able!

  • Anonymous

    Well the guy is obviously speaking to english native speakers because i almost didn’t undertand a word what he said (and i speak english fluently :)

  • Ginny

    Spokesperson needs to enunciate. If 60 seconds is the time limit, they need to tighten up their content or find someone who can speak that fast, but do it clearly. Great concept, poor execution.

    • Nina Froriep

      agreed, Ginny.  Framing awful, annunciation awful and too long.   

  • Kelly Tirman

    More videos to support ecommerce and social commerce is something I personally think all companies should be looking into. It increases conversion and if you know how to operational and scale the creation of this content while staying in a budget not only will your ROI be positive you have a huge advantage over your competition.

    There are three key types of videos that brands and ecommerce companies should focus on making and/or obtaining. Each one has a different purpose and should be presented to customers differently.

    1) Storytelling Videos
    2) Product Videos
    3) Customers Videos

    I think of these as the new commercials. This is were brands should use their official brand advocates/social media rock stars. These videos should NOT be on the product page of the ecommerce site but should be used other “owned” properties such as community/content pages, the ecommerce homepage, the companies YouTube account, etc. These videos should also be found on “earned” properties such as blogs.

    Product videos should be short and provide 3d view of the product that you can’t get via product photos. Zappos is one of the few companies that I have seen do this right. They should be located on the product page. Because of the nature of these videos that can directly help conversion and get customers to take immediate action and add the item to their shopping carts.

    These are essentially product review videos by customers but they can also be videos created by review bloggers. They should be located earn properties around the internet and they can also be located in the rating and review section of the product page. They should not be located in the product description section of the product page (I feel Amazon is making a mistake with this however they are doing this because they have not operationalized creating product videos internally.)

    I have also seen companies like OpenSky fail rolling out videos because they didn’t operationalize the effort – they were using bloggers to create storytelling videos and thinking these videos would directly impact conversion.

    Joyus is also using storytelling videos as their method of selling products on their ecommerce site. The reason I feel this is not effective is by nature storytelling matches better to the pre-commerce mind set. Storytelling works better farther up stream.

    • Anonymous

      We recently starting doing product videos on Walmart. I would love to get any feedback or comments if you are willing.

  • Seb hempstead

    Hi Chris, 

    If you’re buying the shoe for fashion reasons or replacing the same shoe the video delivers but this is an area where bricks and mortar have the value edge for me. The right shoe should match your foot shape, gait etc and the wrong shoe can be damaging to hips and knees. 

    So, well shot but the real information you need might not be here.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but how much does it cost?

  • Hank Wasiak

    Zappos. The Best. Great points Chris. The power of video is expanding and morphing in so many new and exciting directions. More people watch video on line than they do any other internet activity. It is the most effective way to engage. Short, cleanly produced, add value, entertain, connect, be human, let your brand personality shine through. Sounds simple…..but it takes a creative mix of art, expertise and a human touch. 

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Santu Mahapatra

    Great post!! Thanks Chris for bringing this video to us.

    I was contemplating adding video to my blog. Your post just showed how powerful effective videos can be. Videos can really kill it.

  • Online Photography Courses

    Agreed with Video Marketing Tips given by Chris. Short video clips less then 5 minutes explaining & covering the most important parts of a product will be valuable but here in this video it’s just been covered in 1 minute that’s the most interesting fact I like about this video.

  • Mike Pedersen

    Man…to get it in, in under 1 minute seems tough. I have products that I’d want to express the benefits, as well as how it works. Maybe I’ll have to talk even faster.

    Would love to see other product video samples to better improve mine.

  • Helen Tonetti

    As always Zappos is such a spot -on company 

  • webpromo

    Interesting! information! thanks a for sharing!

  • Chris Rainey

    I like the quick video – under a minute – the simple look but it sounds like the audio was sped up or the guy just talks really fast. Always love Zappos though.

  • Chrisw1460

    Not feeling it the way you did.  I like the idea a lot, but there was TOO much info.  Because he was working to get everything in, he was talking too fast for me to hear – much less consider –  any of it.  I only took away what I SAW…and the idea that running in the shoe was very similar to running barefoot.  

  • webpromo

     Interesting! information! thanks a for sharing!

  • Jennifer Fong

    As a runner I enjoyed this clip. It gave me info that I would find interesting when choosing a shoe. The guy speaking, however, needs to work on his diction. Sometimes he was hard to understand. It was short and to the point however. 

  • Edward Elliott

    Totally agree Chris.  So many people and companies go on and on with their videos.  With the attention span of people online getting lower and lower, the need for short to the point videos is very important to get peoples attention and your message across.

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  • Mark Wojtasiak

    Agree Chris…super good video. For me, I’m more likely to watch video like this for reasons other than the length (which is perfect). I like the simplicity of the white background. The personalization of the (I assume) Zappos employee, and the focus on the product with simple explanations of the design and how it benefits me.  I just might order a pair, and I’m not even a runner (yet).  Thanks for sharing Chris. 

  • Michael McCoy

    I like the fact that the video was concise and it presented the information needed to get my attention. If I was a runner interested in buying a minimalist running shoe he got my attention.
    I like the takeaway you mentioned, to keep it brief, yet informative and casual. 


    If I told you that Zappos more than most people knew about retail and/or customer service. We all these years. But I have another reason to love them: they make the best product videos. They are quick, concise, and full of information. Here is a for a trail running shoe that I am considering the purchase.

  • Corve DaCosta

    Very powerful video

  • Louise Edington

    I coach my clients to use video marketing and this fits exactly what I tell my clients. Short, to the point and real. No fancy editing. Love it, love Zappos!

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