How Zappos services and sells to the mobile consumer – with Ian Klassen and Alex Kirmse

When you are a company like Zappos the thinking is that you have all the answers. It is a business with a charismatic leader in Tony Hsieh that was bought by Amazon for upwards of $1 billion so one would assume the company would have all the right answers to questions we aren’t even asking yet.

Well, then there are the realities of the mobile industry and there are no answers, just experimentation – even if you are a company as revered as Zappos. That’s what this episode is about.

Ian Klassen and Alex Kirmse head up the Zappos mobile team and they open up about the experience and pressures of building a mobile experience that reflects the brand the company has become. We dive into the process they used to build their applications (did you know they failed twice before launching an app they were happy with?), their marketing efforts, how mobile was embraced inside the company, the culture it takes to move mobile forward in their organization and we even get into some forward thinking talk about where Zappos plans to go in 2012.

This is great insight into how a bigger company with a ton of cachet has moved their business mobile.


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About Alex Kirmse

Alex Kirmse

Born in Biarritz, France and raised in Berlin, Germany to an American mother and German father, Alex Kirmse moved to the U.S. in 1995. Alex joined Zappos in 2005, previously working as a freelance web developer. Bringing his passion for web standards, effective user experiences and new technologies, he helped build and grow the Zappos Front-End Development team, which is responsible for all forward facing code for the Zappos sites. In 2010, he moved to head up the User Experience team at Zappos still working closely with the Front-End Development team. In 2011, he moved to head up the Mobile team at Zappos.

About Ian Klassen

Ian Klassen Zappos

I have been a Zappos employee since 2010 and loving every minute of it! Please contact me if you want to know what life at Zappos is like.

I am on the Zappos Mobile Team; so far, we made the popular Zappos iOs app (highest rated shopping app in iTunes!), Zappos Android app, and the Zappos Mobile website.

I run the Mobile Team operations, projects, business development, marketing/communications, QA, and BA activities. As a team, we determine priority and direction.

Prior to Zappos, I was a Senior Program Manager and Senior Project Manager for several international telecommunication and consulting companies, including Telus Communications, Inc. and Accenture.

I received my M.B.A. in Management Information Systems and Marketing from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.

I also have a start-up company that’s incubating some ideas around Electric Vehicles – but I’ll divulge more when something exciting happens.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like any information.

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About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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