’s Video Strategy at the 2012 Video Commerce Summit

Laurie Williams,

I recently spoke with Laurie Williams, Senior Manager of Photo & Video for Zappos, about her company’s comprehensive video program. As everyone probably knows, Zappos is the world’s largest online shoe retailer with the biggest video program of any e-commerce merchant.

In this interview, Laurie talks about Zappos’s approach to video and shares some details about her opening keynote at the 2012 Video Commerce Summit in August, the largest event dedicated to advancing video commerce.


Amanda Dhalla: When did you start doing video at Zappos? What was the impetus?

Laurie Williams: We started shooting video about 3 years ago. Initially we simply wanted to test the addition of video to some of our top products, and as a result of the positive internal and external response we received, we decided to build out our video program.

Amanda Dhalla: How important is video to Zappos’ user experience and customer service?

Laurie Williams: Very :).  Our goal is to educate and help our customers make the best purchase decisions possible. And although we have seen an increase in conversion, what’s more important is the decrease in returns we’ve noticed. Regardless of conversion and free returns, if a customer receives a product they are unhappy with – they can become disenchanted.

Amanda Dhalla: What types of video content has Zappos created so far? Any plans for new types of content?

Laurie Williams: So far we have product videos, how-to’s, style videos, internal behind-the-scenes clips and a few TV spots. We plan on evolving our content as the industry grows.

  • Product video
    Product video with embed code and options to share on Facebook or Twitter.

    Zappos product video - Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

  • How-to
    A look at the most popular wedge types and what clothes work best with each.


  • Zappos’ behind-the-scenes clip
    A re-enactment of a typical day at Zappos HQ involving the Instant Dance Party.


  • Style video
    Stylish employees from Zappos HQ put “ON THE SPOT” about the outfit they’re wearing and some of their favorite trends.


Amanda Dhalla: You’ve been known for setting audacious video production goals. How many videos has Zappos produced so far? Any new goals for 2012?

Laurie Williams: We surpassed 100,000 videos in 2011, and our goal for 2012 is 150,000 new videos. So far we have produced over 200,000 product videos so we’re on track.

Amanda Dhalla: Wow! Where do you distribute all that video?

Laurie Williams: Currently we only distribute to our own website and to YouTube.

Amanda Dhalla: I noticed that you have not just one, but multiple channels on YouTube. Tell our readers about the reason behind the multiple channels.

Laurie Williams: Sure. Each channel represents a different “flavor”. We have one that shows internal day to day events at Zappos headquarters (, one that shows the latest styles and trends (Zappos Trends), and one that has all our most recent product videos (Zappos Style). The goal of this is to help separate and curate relevant content per channel.

Amanda Dhalla: In addition to the increase in conversion and decrease in returns, has video had any other positive impacts on your business?

Laurie Williams: Overall, video has allowed us to have more of a social media presence and has been attributed to an increase in organic traffic.

Amanda Dhalla: What is your session at the 2012 Video Commerce Summit going to be about?

Laurie Williams: My session is called Video Commerce: Fast Forward and I’m going to talk about how Zappos uses video to connect with customers, deliver exceptional service and improve our online shopping experience. I’ll share how embracing video drives sales, lowers returns, and ultimately differentiates Zappos through a better shopping and brand interaction experience. I’ll also share some lessons I’ve learned along the way about choosing the right video format, navigating video SEO and integrating video processes.

Amanda Dhalla: Thanks, Laurie. Looking forward to it!

To catch Laurie’s presentation at the 2012 Video Commerce Summit August 9-10 in San Francisco, along with many more expert retail presentations, you can register here: readers can enjoy a $100 discount on summit tickets with the discount code: VCCSave100.