December 22, 2011, 12:19 PM

Zappos re-imagines the magazine via the iPad

Consumers can buy products showcased in editorial content.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

User scroll through the sections on the right side of the magazine app to select a subject to read.

There’s a surprise in store for consumers using the latest iPad app from Zappos.com. Rather than recreate the shoe and apparel e-retailer’s inventory, the app presents merchandise within an electronic magazine format, complete with editorial content and the ability to buy within the app.

Dubbed Zappos Now, the free monthly magazine includes articles about fashion trends, stylist’s tips, designers, gift ideas and more, says Carrie Whitehead, Zappos ZN product and design lead. “We wanted to give people a fun and exciting way to explore exclusive editorial style content about the styles and trends we love at Zappos,” Whitehead says. Importantly, consumers can buy showcased products within the app. As an incentive, these purchases ship with free next-business-day shipping.

“By focusing on current trends, top styles, tips on how to wear, how to accessorize, beauty tips, and more, we are hoping to educate our customers and help them make the right buying decisions for their personal style,” Whitehead says. “Providing a curated set of products based on these inspirational topics should help customers discover and purchase products that they may not have otherwise sought.”

The app automatically downloads each issue of the magazine and stores it in the Issue Library. A tap on a particular issue’s cover opens that issue. The December 2011 issue features an image of a stylish woman on the left and a vertically scrolling set of images and text on the right side of the screen that connect to sections within the magazine. For example, tapping on the Faux Fur image takes the user to that section where she can see outfits and read clothing suggestions.

Navigation within the app is simple. A tap of a button in the top right corner generates a horizontally scrolling bar for each section. Consumers also can access the shopping cart and the app’s home page via this navigation bar.

Users also can save items for later review without adding them to the shopping cart via a scissor icon that Zappos calls Clippings. Users also can share any of the editorial content or products via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail.

“We wanted the app to be highly interactive and fun, but also quick and easy to use,” Whitehead says. “We consciously developed this to support these needs while building a framework that would support releasing issues monthly.”

The editorial content is generated by the Las Vegas Zappos office that houses the company’s blogs and trends team. “They choose and write most of the content,” Whitehead says. “The design, interaction and development of the applications happen out of our San Francisco office.”

Zappos.com is owned by Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300.

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