Video Essentials

The Zappos Strategy: Winning with Online Demo Videos

Creating demo videos for every product on your site might seem like a huge task, but the odds are it will pay off. Customers want to get a feel for the merchandise before spending their money.

Zappos made a bet on online video years ago. At the recent Enterprise Video Summit in Los Angeles, Austin Blair, photo and video manager for, told the audience how Zappos built a video process to scale.

zappos_logoZappos’s video efforts go back four years, and started much smaller.

“We started to shoot product description videos like the ones that most of you guys have seen in 2009,” Blair said. “Originally, it was a group of seven people. It was just an idea. Zappos is all about customer service, so we thought, ‘We have images. Why not have sound and someone actually taking you through that product, and showing you the product?’ We found that it makes a huge difference when you can actually see that product in someone’s hands, them telling you about it. You can see how heavy something is, how flexible a shoe is, lots of different things that you don’t necessarily get from a written description or an image.”

The company didn’t start out trying create videos for every item on the site. It originally has more modest goals, and the video team learned by trial and error.

“The original goal when they set out was to do 5,000 videos with these seven people. This was very lofty at the time. They didn’t know exactly how to do it,” Blair said. Getting items from the warehouse, shooting them, and then editing them required 48 to 72 hours at the start.

To hear how Zappos perfected its video-creation system, watch the full presentation below.


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