Business Profile: Zappos.com
About a year ago I read the book Tony Hsieh wrote called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. This book chronicles his journey of learning to sell online all the way to building Zappos into a billion dollar a year mega company. As with any start up, there was quite a learning curve before Tony figured out what was going to work. From the beginning, Zappos was focused on making their customer “King”. They realized that a happy customer is a customer that will be likely to buy from them again.
One of the first obstacles they had to face was how to get people to buy shoes online. Again, focusing on making repeat customers, they offered free shipping and free return shipping. This alleviated any fears of buying shoes online only to realize that when they came in the mail they were the wrong size! Did some People take advantage of their generous shipping and return policy? Of course so! But, the goodwill they gained from all the other customers outweighed the extra cost for those who were just “kicking tires”!
What can we learn from the Zappos business model? I think the main thing I learned was how valuable a happy customer is. Zappos happy customers are spreading the word and word of mouth is a great form of advertising. Without customers there really isn’t a reason to be in business! Hopefully, Zappos can maintain its commitment to its customers over the long haul!