Blog Post

I Love Zappos—But the Feeling May Not be Mutual


Online shopping is one of the great inventions of the 20th century, IMO. If I really thought about it, I’m pretty sure I would disagree with myself, because...I would have to acknowledge the destructive properties of online shopping—the time, the money, the obsessive shopping behaviors—that come with it. Then there’s that whole ad retargeting thing where PPC ads follow you around and remind you to go back to a website and complete a purchase. But for the purposes of this article, let’s just go with Online Shopping is a Great Invention.

Zappos is one of my favorite online shopping destinations. It is really something to behold, if you’re a shopping enthusiast.

Here, I will list a four reasons why I love Zappos and illustrate why no other retailer quite lives up to the Zappos experience.

1. Shipping is Free

You pay nothing to have merchandise delivered to your door. You pay nothing to send it back. Other retailers, such as Nordstrom, offer free shipping and returns. But here’s the catch: free shipping from most other stores takes several days. Days! Which brings me to point number two.

2. Merchandise Arrives the Next Day

Apparently, there is some sort of Zappos VIP status that is required to get the next day free shipping and somehow, I got it. It’s very likely that everyone gets VIP status but when I asked a customer service rep about it, I was told sales reps sometimes do that for customers...just because. (I think everyone gets VIP status.) Remarkable. Free and it’s there the next day.

3. Zappos is So Nice

Zappos call center is staffed with the nicest people who answer the phone 24/7. The customer service is impeccable. Zappos sends me really sweet emails like this:

And they’re so apologetic when I return something, as if it’s their fault that I’ve wasted their time and cost them money. For example:

Zappos understands that nice goes a long way in terms of customer retention.

4. Returns are Absolutely Painless

You just throw the items back in the box, print up the UPS label, slap in on the box and UPS takes it back to Zappos. No charge. And, you have a year to send things back! Except, if you purchase on February 29th in a Leap Year:

I, and no doubt many other Zappos customers, buy and return frequently. I imagine that some people buy loads of merchandise and send some of it back (or all of it). It’s a beautiful thing for the customer but seems like this is a business model that should be bleeding money. And if it’s not, if it does work for Zappos, why can’t other large companies be so amazing? All I know is, I’ll be a happy Zappos VIP as long as they’ll have me.