Differentiating the shoe shopping experience

I recently went shopping for a pair of shoes online. A couple of things that locked me down to Zappos.com were:

  1. Peace of mind: For any pair of shoes you buy, Zappos.com covers “two way” shipping, i.e. you can return them for free if you don’t like the shoes or if they don’t fit well. People are hesitant in buying shoes and likes online because they are not sure if they will find them comfortable after wearing. Zappos.com got that covered. 
  2. The long tail: You will be wow-ed seeing the variety of apparels you will find at Zappos.com. I was able to find the shoes of the brand I wanted and in my price range somewhere in their long tail.

Both these points place Zappos.com out of the lot. Two way shipping is like an insurance and Zappos.com got it right. People are more comfortable shopping there because they know they won’t regret buying shoes online. Similarly getting to choose from (literally) thousands of options is something you cannot get in a physical store (and at least at this time not at any other online store), making it another differentiating factor.

These differentiations drew me to Zappos.com, but then I received this email from their Customer Loyalty Team (normally you get one from the shipping department when the order is shipped):

Dear Aditya Ghuwalewala,

Good news!

Although you originally ordered Standard (4 to 5 business days) shipping and handling, we have given your order special priority processing in our warehouse and are upgrading the shipping and delivery time frame for
your order.

Your order will ship out Monday, July 14th 2008 and be given a special
priority shipping status so that you can receive your order even faster than we originally promised!

 Please note that this is being done at no additional cost to you.  It is simply our way of saying thank you for being our customer.

Order #xxxxxxxx

The order above has already been packed and we will be emailing you your tracking number later today, when our computer systems are finished processing all of today’s transactions.

We are constantly striving to improve our service. If there is anything that we can do to help improve your experience, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We like to think of ourselves as a service company that happens to sell shoes, clothing, and a whole bunch of other stuff!

If you’ve enjoyed your experience with us, please tell your friends and family about Zappos.com!

Thank you!

Zappos.com Customer Loyalty Team

I am a pretty savvy web shopper, but it’s not always I get such an email. This email is a simple way of telling the customers that we go an extra mile to make you happy. When you can find the same pair of shoes at less than 5% price differential at more than hundred online stores, such an experience worth talking about can make all the difference!

2 responses to “Differentiating the shoe shopping experience

  1. Nice post! Thanks for the info… Have a nice day!

  2. Thank you for this post.