I believe that many of us might have done online shopping before, whether it is to purchase clothes, accessories, travel packages, music and so on. Sites like Amazon, Asos, Threadless, are just a few of the many websites that I think many of us will frequent for shopping. In this technological age, many such sites are coming up online and this makes competition stiff among such websites, hence companies must ensure that they stand out in their competition.
One such company that does a good job in standing out among the competition is that of Zappos. Zappos is an online retailer that sells primarily shoes, but now it sells other apparel, and accessories. The company was started in 2009, by Tony Hsieh who remains one of the most influential entrepreneurs today.
Zappos has indeed a unique organization as it is focused on building a strong company culture which will then translate into building good customer service as well. Zappos really takes pride in its employees and they achieve this by giving their employees a happiness survey to gauge their happiness in the company. For instance, they also publish a culture book, which is published annually, and inside this book, it details all the testimonials of the employees.
One of the reasons why Zappos is so successful today lies in the company’s culture, which is based on 10 core values, which was derived from a meeting of like-minded individuals by the CEO, Tony Hsieh when the company first started. A unique aspect of their work culture is that Zappos do not give their sales representatives any sales target which I believe is good because it removes the stress of having to meet the quota. This is one reason why Zappos is such a good place to work. Another interesting thing is that of their customer service. They have a return policy of 365-days a year, meaning you can return your goods any time and they also offer free shipping. Through such policies, the company achieves repeat customers as well.
Zappos also uses social media to engage both their employees and their customers. They have a strong customer base and on their twitter website, customers discuss about the Zappos coupons and Zappos employees can share and reply to customers requests about shipping inquires. A strong focus of Zappos is that of customer service, which it deeply believes in. One of the lessons that it learned is that “Customer Service is an investment, not an expense.” It does this by surprising customers with overnight shipping when it is least expected so as to retain them. Another lesson for Zappos is that they believe that “E-commerce is built on repeat customers.” This can be seen via their traffic made by repeat customers which increased in numbers between March 2001 (20.4%) and March 2006 (51.3%).
Here’s another video of How Zappos started, the culture and how it reached S1billion in sales:
Indeed, I believe that because of such initatives and a strong company culture, Zappos has managed to carve out a name for themselves in the e-commerce industry. For instance, they were listed as one of “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For’ You can find out more about Zappos here.
Here’s a video of Zappos and what the Culture of Zappos means to them:
Zappos Culture: http://blogs.zappos.com/tags/zappos-culture
Strategy and Business: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/10311?pg=0
Zappos Top Ten E-commerce Lessons: http://www.shopify.com/build-a-business/3029612-zappos-top-ten-ecommerce-lessons
Zappos Top Ten E-commerce Lessons at SXSW: http://www.slideshare.net/zappos/zappos-sxsw-presentation-top-10-lessons-learned-in-ecommerce-03-08-08