We recently made some changes to some of our policies, and we’ve gotten a number of questions and comments from our customers about the changes. Some blogs have also discussed the changes, so rather than try to respond to every single blog, I thought it would be easier to explain the changes on the new CEO blog here on Zappos.
The 2 changes that seem to have gotten the most attention are: (1) Removal of our price protection policy. Zappos will no longer price protect competitor web sites. (2) Removal of our advertising and promotion of free overnight shipping. (We are still advertising free shipping, just not free overnight shipping.)
First, I’d like to thank everyone for all the feedback we’ve received. It’s actually through feedback from customers that we have decided to create 2 separate web sites, Zappos.com and 6pm.com. Here is an explanation of the difference between the 2 sites:
Zappos.com is for customers that want the very best customer service and the very best selection, with free shipping both ways, a 365-day return policy, and 24/7 customer service that’s above and beyond what you would normally find at any retailer anywhere.
6pm.com is for customers that are looking for a large selection of products at deep discounts. It’s not free shipping both ways, and the return policy is only 30 days. By reducing our costs, this means 6pm is able to offer really deep discounts, as much as 75% off. As we continue to add more selection to 6pm, look for even deeper discounts in the future.
We decided to remove our price protection policy from Zappos because we didn’t feel it was consistent with our goal of making Zappos customer service-focused as opposed to price-focused. We found that most of the customers that were using our former price protection policy would actually save even more money if we simply started out with more deeply discounted products in the first place. Instead of on Zappos, you’ll be able to find those deeply discounted products on 6pm.com.
Regarding our decision to stop advertising and promoting free overnight shipping on Zappos, it’s actually simply just that: a decision to stop advertising and promoting it, not a decision to actually stop doing it.
This means that the vast majority of our customers will still get their orders as quickly as they used to (usually overnight). The only difference is that we made the decision to not advertise or promise it, because we found that our customers were happier when they were surprised by the fast shipping. (Of course, if you’re reading this, it kind of ruins the surprise. So pretend you never read this.) So, if you order from us and choose the free shipping option, chances are that your order will come just as quickly as they did before!
(As a side note, just like before, occasionally our warehouse may run into hiccups. For example, a storm may prevent some of our employees from coming to work. If you pay for the overnight shipping option, your order will be given priority processing in our warehouse and guaranteed overnight delivery, even during those times when we run into hiccups.)
We’ve also been asked why we are referring some of our customers to our competitors. This is nothing new. It’s actually something that we’ve been doing for a long time (at least for the past 4 years), if we feel that it is in the best interest of the customer. For example, if we are out of stock of a particular style and a customer only wants that style, all of our reps are instructed to search on competitor web sites to try to find it for the customer. We believe that it’s better customer service if we do that, and that doing so is consistent with our customer service philosophy. We’re willing to lose a potential sale in order to be true to the Zappos brand.
We’ve had some customers point out that we would increase our sales if we advertised and marketed free overnight shipping as opposed to surprising customers with it. I think that’s probably true, but we decided that we wanted Zappos to be known as a customer service company, not a marketing company.
I hope this helps in explaining the recent changes we’ve made at Zappos. Thanks everyone who took the time to give us feedback!