Zappos is unpacking the psychology behind the fear of packing.
Recognizing that filling luggage for a vacation or business trip causes angst, indecisiveness and aggravation, the e-commerce site has launched a new platform, Zappos Packs, featuring mini Baedekers for 17 destinations, and counting, along with packing lists and products to take along.
Beverly St. John, Zappos Packs’ cofounder, is the e-commerce company’s resident travel adviser, doling out insider tips for the many destinations around the world that she’s visited, along with common sense. “I love to travel,” she said. “I would see people stress out. This is something we can help with. We have the products, it’s about how can we curate them through a travel lens. We want to help travelers feel comfortable wherever their adventures take them.
“The mission behind the new travel-focused platform is to enhance customers’ travel experiences by ensuring they bring suitable apparel and gear on their vacation and eliminate indecisiveness around what to pack,” St. John said. “We’ll be continually adding destinations. We’ll have some evergreens, and others based on the seasons.”
Zappos Packs platform’s spotlights include domestic getaways, National Parks of the Southwest and Hawaii; classics, Paris and Rome, and exotic journeys, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Masai Mara Safari, Kenya.
The platform can help if a consumer’s travel destination doesn’t appear on the site. “We can create value on an individual basis,” St. John said. “You can call Zappos and the customer loyalty team will provide answers. People can reach out for curated lists. We’ve also been able to field requests through social media. It’s almost like a concierge service for whatever your packing needs are.”
Zappos Packs is looking at opportunities “to partner with hotels, resorts and other places on the ground,” St. John said. “We’ll be [launching] into men’s clothing and kids’ clothing. We want to make sure we learn from this experience before we branch out. I hope this can be a one-stop shop for fellow travelers.”
From luggage to shoes, and apparel to gear, Zappos Packs offers consumers product recommendations for specific locales to streamline the customer’s shopping experience. Items are gathered for national and international travel, with a focus on locale and activities. There’s also packing recommendations, travel tips and stories from experienced travelers.
The Kenya edit notes that going on safari usually entails traveling between multiple base camps, with the small planes that connect them limiting luggage to 32 pounds. Lightweight products include Hurley’s quick dry surf shirt, $22.80; ExOfficio Sol Cool Nomad Dig’r capri pants, $54.99; Fjällräven Keb jacket, $299.95; Outdoor Research solar roller hat, $38, and Filson duffel backpack, $245.
“Making sure you have the right footwear is key,” St. John said. “It can make or break your trip. If you don’t have proper footwear and you’re getting blisters, you can’t really enjoy your trip.
“The products featured on Zappos Packs are the essentials. The New Zealand collection is geared to the Routeburn Track, which is nearly 19 miles long,” St. John said. “It’s a hiker’s dream with fjords, soaring peaks, waterfalls, rocky coasts and towering cliffs. It’s an experience that requires smart planning and choosing gear that’s suited to changeable, mountain-environment conditions. You have to be prepared for any type of weather, including snow in the summer.
“Zappos Packs is also about how we leverage the customer reviews that we have in relation to these destinations,” St. John said. “U.S. customers can leverage fast, free shipping. If you’ve forgotten items, you can contact Zappos and we’ll send it out.”
St. John claimed that Zappos Packs is more about imparting information and knowledge, and is not a vehicle to boost sales. “One of the things that’s most important to us is explaining why [a traveler would] actually need a certain product,” she said. “It’s not to push products on people, it’s to inform and provide context and educate.”