If you’re not familiar with online shoe retailer Zappos.com, you soon will be. With 4 million customers (40% male incidentally), the company has doubled sales every year since its 1999 start and is on track to hit $600M this year.
How did Zappos become No.1?
They offer a great selection and focus on delivering the absolute best service. Their call center never closes and the company tagline is “we are a service company that just happens to sell shoes (and handbags and accessories).”
“Our site is driven by word of mouth and repeat customers. Every time we do something to improve our service, we see repeat numbers go up,” says Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.
It turns out brick and mortar stores loose about 1 in 3 sales because the customer’s size is not in stock. But Zappos carries over 500 name brands, 90,000 styles, and close to 2 million pairs of shoes, in stock and ready for immediate shipment.
Who would buy shoes without trying them on first?
If the shoe doesn’t fit, just return it at no cost to you. Zappos offers free shipping both ways, a 365-day return policy, 24-hour customer service and 110% price protection.
And they make it simple to return shoes – customers are given a link to print out a prepaid return shipping label. If you don’t like one shoe, with Zappos’ huge inventory and great service, they hope you’ll find something else you like.
Hsieh says customer loyalty is so important to the company culture that the call center and headquarters have to be in the same place. Every new hire spends 4 weeks as a customer-service rep and 1 week in the warehouse before starting their job.
Jane Judd, senior manager of customer loyalty at Zappos presented at the North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM), Check out Judd’s 10 rules for creating a customer centric culture – it seems to work for Zappos.