Most e-commerce companies see packaging as an expensive nuisance, but online footwear retailer Zappos IP Inc. has big plans for the humble shoebox.
To encourage its customers to reuse the cardboard containers they receive in the mail, Zappos has printed a collection of templates on the inside of the boxes. After removing their new shoes, people can cut and fold the box to give it a second career as a smartphone holder, a children's shoe sizer, a geometric planter, or even a 3-D llama.
The Las Vegas-based subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. began shipping a limited number of the new boxes on June 1, encouraging shoe buyers to "think outside the box" and reuse the container in additional ways.
Known for its creative marketing and corporate culture—Zappos calls its top four C-level executives "monkeys"—the company also created a two-minute short film to get customers' creative juices flowing. Titled "Box Home," the video follows a young boy who builds a makeshift house out of household materials and donates it to a homeless man in his community.
To learn about additional uses for the boxes, check out www.imnotabox.com, the company's interactive website dedicated to creativity.
Watch the "Box Home" video below.