Zappos.com and 6pm.com

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!

Comments

42989562's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC134 said:

The price protection and free overnight shipping COMBINED with the great customer service were what set Zappos ahead of their competition.

Sad to say but I truely think that eliminating these services will backfire. Without them, you simply are more expensive.

42769926's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC158 said:

ZC134, I don't think you read the article thoroughly. Zappos.com is not eliminating free overnight shipping, they're just not advertising it. Needless to say, I was surprised when an order I placed yesterday got upgraded to overnight shipping.

Also, I don't think the loss of price protection is going to hurt Zappos much. How many people actually take advantage of price protection policies anyway?

42989562's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC134 said:

Actually, I did read the blog posting correctly. They are no longer guaranteeing free overnight shipping. It may happen and it may not.

I know numerous people that use price matching services, be it through Zappos or other retailers. I?ve gone it myself numerous times.

43533007's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC196 said:

I like Zappos because of the wide variety of products you carry, and the overnight shipping is a wonderful perk.

Unfortunately, Zappos is also one of the most expensive sites on the Web. I buy from you if I cannot find the product elsewhere; odds are if I can find it elsewhere, it will be cheaper elsewhere.

The truth is: Without free overnight shipping (and, let's get real, this "we do it but don't advertise it" stance is ridiculous from a marketing perspective), Zappos is simply overpriced and underwhelming.

38411622's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC284 said:

I've purchased all my family's shoes from Zappos since 2001. I've been (and continue to be) completely in awe of - and delighted by - their service. I've received personal phone calls from staff apologizing for problems (that were not Zappos' fault), coupons for discounts because of the problems, overnight shipping on a regular basis BEFORE Zappos offered it regularly (it used to be two-day shipping was the guarantee, then they upped the ante to overnight).

They make returns hassle-free, so I don't hesitate to order more than one size if I'm in doubt, and they are fast to credit my account after a return so I never have to worry about getting my money back.

I can't imagine better customer service anywhere (I've certainly never experienced their equal), and their selection is incredible to boot, the site is well done, the customer reviews feature is handy, the multiple views of products is indispensable.

Not having an advertised *guarantee* of overnight delivery will not dissuade me in the least from dealing with this wonderful company, and it's really a shame that so many shoppers (judging by what I've seen on several blogs) are incapable of understanding the nature of the change, and that they then compound this misunderstanding first by blowing it out of proportion and second by rashly declaring the end of their patronage.

41117151's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC351 said:

I think you've really shot yourselves in the foot with these changes. Going from an overnight guarantee to a two day guarantee would have been one thing, but going to 4-5 is a big shift.

I came here today to buy some weatherproof shoes I needed for the weekend and noticed that the standard was 4-5 days, thinking you always used to at least guarantee 2-3 day I did a quick Google search which led me to your new policies, but the comments people had left also led me to endless.com who I'd never heard of before. Given the choice between a cheaper price at endless.com, and a guarantee on the overnighting, all backed by Amazon.. Well it wasn't a difficult decision to make.

Sorry guys, hope you have a change of heart on this.

44326199's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC353 said:

I love zappos and everyone that is having a fit about the changes must be spoiled rotten! I don't understand what all the whining is about. What other company ships overnight for free? Just be grateful they ship overnight for free and look on the bright-side people!

40764682's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC412 said:

www.endless.com run by Amazon.com ships for free - that's who. They ship for free both ways and have 365 day return policy. I've used both Zappos and Endless. Given these changes with Zappos I'll now be doing all my footware shopping at Endless.com

42769926's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC158 said:

Heels.com is also another company (debuted very recently) that ships overnight for free. However, as their name implies, they only sell heels (and other dress shoes), which only serves one very specific target--fashionable women.

The problem with Endless is that they have a rather limited number of brands. Their "couture" collection is, at best, laughable. Zappos by far has the BEST selection of brands I've ever seen, including brands normally reserved for stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc (although I dream of the day Zappos starts selling actual designer shoes like Manolos and Choos). For this reason and their top-notch customer service, I will continue to shop at Zappos.

I don't think some of you are seeing the point here. Zappos is merely not advertising their free overnight shipping. That's all. Almost all orders will be sent overnight anyway. The whole point of it is so that when it's not possible to rush orders to an overnight plane (like during peak periods), customers who don't get their shoes the next day aren't going to be let down.

41117151's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC351 said:

It's not that we are missing the point. Zappos has generated a great deal of good will via their policies and their competitors have had to respond in kind. Changing them for the worse means they will lose a certain percentage of customers to their competitors.

I'm also not buying the peak period line either. Standard shipping is now shown as 4-5 days, surely 2-3 days would be more in keeping if all they were trying to do was build a little give into the system. This is a cost cutting measure, without a shadow of a doubt.

Time and earnings reports will tell whether these cost cutting measures will offset the lost business.

42769926's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC158 said:

I don't think this is a matter of cost-cutting at all. The problem with overnight shipping is that it's not only dependent on the person selling the item, it's dependent on the shipper (UPS/FedEX/DHL). A seller may very well be able to get your package ready for shipping in a timely fashion, but shipping companies do run into problems. If there is hiccup on the shipping company's behalf, often times the customer starts complaining to the seller for not holding up their end of the deal, when in fact there are factors (incompetent shippers) beyond their control. I would not be surprised if Endless too follows suit and drops their free overnight shipping.

Second of all, it's not really a cost-cutting measure if Zappos is going to ship almost all packages with free overnight anyway. Their savings on the small percentage of packages that don't get shipped in this manner would be negligible.

Also I think the 4-5 day free standard shipping is based on what Zappos originally offered. The free overnight was only offered starting in 2007, as long-time promotion. I remember buying shoes before then (in 2006) when there was no such thing as free overnight shipping.

38411622's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC284 said:

After I read this blog (and posted), I purchased some boots from Zappos on Sunday, Feb 24. The site said "4-5 days shipping" but I had read the CEO post and was curious to see what speed of service I would actually get. Sunday night I got an email saying my shipping would be overnight rather than 4-5 days. Monday morning I got my tracking number emailed to me, Tuesday morning my boots were on my doorstep. And I live in NY.

Same old Zappos - which is to say, way better than anybody else. As for all you who are completely overreacting to a change in nothing more than WORDING, have fun on Endless with their pitiful selection.

44007591's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC599 said:

I have been a big fan of zappos.com and I am interested to see how these big policy changes play out. For me the price protection was a big draw (a few others still offer) as was the free shipping. I don't see overnight as essential, but another bonus. I agree that customer service is key (and zappos.com is UNBEATABLE in my experience), but for online orders, customer service only becomes an issue when there are problems. It will be interesting to see how loyal customers respond.

I did ponder this morning what will happen when I order a pair of shoes the same day my neighbor or friend (who I may have even referred to zappos.com) orders some and I get them the next day without paying for shipping and they get them possibly later than I having paid a shipping fee?

40653961's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC609 said:

I couldn't agree more. The low prices through price protection were one of the main reasons that I have bought 90% of my shoes from Zappos in the past few years. I have since changed to other websites because I simply do not want to pay the $15-$20 markup per pair of shoes that Zappos requires. It just isn't worth it to pay more for a pair of shoes just to get overnight shipping. I have to wait a few days longer when ordering shoes from Amazon, but I save lots of money in the long run.

465340537's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm Augusta S. said:

Hi Tony and Alfred:

I just wanted to say thank you so much. Thank you for having the All Hands meeting. I think it was great to see the excitement with everyone being able to be at a meeting together and share the family and team spirit we have here at Zappos.

Also, thank you so much in sharing the profits with us. You gave up your own bonuses so that we would have more...you both are truly dedicated to this company and the employees here.

I will tell you what I am going to do with part of my money. Something I've wanted for a long time and now I am going to make the investment. I am buying a computer. I know it's hard to believe that in this day and age I don't have my own personal computer at home. I have access to a computer at home, but it is not mine.

So I am very excited. Once again, Zappos has helped someone to improve their life. (At least I look at it as an improvement, as it will make life a little easier in several ways). More importantly, this has given the morale and confidence within the Call Center a huge boost. I almost can't put it into words. I know people are so excited about it. I spoke from my heart when I thanked you that day at the meeting. I hope you both know that. And whatever you need me to do....just ask.

I am here for our customers (internal as well as external), for our Culture and for you.

I will continue to be a Culture Cultivator and Core Value Promoter! :-) .

Thank you both very much.

Sincerely,

Augusta

44351648's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC641 said:

Zappos is WAY more expensive. The Born Eastwood shoes (Zappos - $98.95. OnlineShoes - $84.95)...just to name one product. I personally don't need a 365-day return policy. I can figure out if a $138.95 Oakley Icon Pack is crap in a day. I do seriously like the free overnight shipping. If that disappears, so will my business. You no longer have the 110% price guarentee. That's a shame, but I figure it's because most others have lower prices, but just about zero service.

My other favorite site, Amazon, has no live chat, and no 1-800 number. And they make $5.7 billion or so. Pretty decent for a company that will only commnicate with me via e-mail....but has low prices.

I notice some of the prices are going up as well (shoes that were $78.95 are now $79...Nikes and Asics). I wanted lower prices, discounts on discontinued items (ie: Timbuk2 Datadump, $103.95, but is only $74.99 on Summit Hut, and still available in black).

Returns are simple, and free, which I love. The service is great, but I have been seriously disappointed in the quality of the products.

I find it weird that when I choose free shipping (4-5 days), Zappos sends me an e-mail saying that I have been upgraded. It then arrives overnight. It's as if you're using an under promising and over delivering tactic. Or maybe I'm just a loyal customer. Maybe neither.

I read an article that said Zappos spent something like $100,000 on return shipping one year (Business 2.0 article).

For the raised prices and removal of some key features, maybe you could hire a decent photographer and a telecommute customer service rep to answer e-mails (hint, hint).

40764682's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC412 said:

re: "My other favorite site, Amazon, has no live chat, and no 1-800 number."

Correct.... they do even better. Click on the "Call me now" and your phone will instantly ring. You don't *have* to call Amazon. They call *you*. Now that's what I call customer service.

40806249's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC673 said:

I too have been a loyal Zappos customer for many years. I am not a price sensitive consumer so I never used the 100 percent match guarantee.

I remember when standard shipping was in the 2-3 day range and then when Zappos went to overnight shipping it made my life amazingly different. I wear a size 11 women's shoe which most stores do not carry as a standard size. Thus Zappos allowed me to buy shoes with little lead time. I ordered some shoes this morning and was happily awaiting their arrival tomorrow. Then I got an email saying that my shipping had been expedited. Thus I as a loyal custoemr had no idea of the new policies. It really would have been nice to see it plastered somewhere across the page because if I really needed the shoes right away I would have gotten screwed.

I do not agree with the customers are happy for the upgrade line from the CEO. I would like to know exactly when I am getting my shoes. A 4-5 day time frame is too long too me and will certainly influence my decision to purchase with Zappos in the future. The main draw with Zappos for me remains its ability to credit refunds quickly. I shop with Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Saks etc and they fail in this area as they can often take 3 weeks to process a return (which leaves a customer without merchandise and without money).

As it relates to Zappos' cost on shipping, Zappos as a volume shipper receives a tremendous discount from UPS, its primary shipper. Also hiccups in shippers supply chain are not a major cost to Zappos, they are a major cost to the shipper (which in turn may affect how much discount the shipper is willing to give Zappos). Just like a customer expects to be credited when their shoes do not arrive on time, Zappos expects to be credited from the shipper for the same thing.

All in all I felt a little duped today with the new policy. Because I am a return customer I just clicked to purchase my shopping bag's items as normal and thus was unaware of the new change in policy.

What remains to be seen is where Zappos decides to draw its core business from. It may have reached a point of trying to do too many things for too many people (i.e. Zappos, Zappos couture, 6 p.m.)...

41225346's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1194 said:

I have never been in that great a hurry to receive a pair ofshoes therefore the overnight shipping was a nice feature but not a dealbreaker.However,the price matching very often was.Being a student and on a tight budget I need to be concerned with expenses.Zappos tends to be one of ,if not the highest priced shoe store online so being able to submit a legitimate deal and receive a credit encouraged me to purchase from Zappos.I will think twice before I make purchases from them from now on.

41814020's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1436 said:

Like the poster above, I am never in a hurry to receive a pair of shoes (Is that a sign that I have too many shoes to begin with?). For me, the price matching was critical for shopping at Zappos. I find Zappos to charge full retail or even more than full retail for the shoes I've looked at, probably to cover for the "free" shipping. I was happy to give Zappos my business when they could give me a good price, but since the elimination of price matching, I won't be shopping at Zappos anymore.

6pm.com offers shoes that are a number of years old at a rather insignificant discount. Last April, I bought a pair of shoes on clearance at Marshalls for $20 that today (one year later) are listed for sale on 6pm.com at the blowout price of $92. I work hard for my money and I'm shopping where the best deal is to be had--online or brick & mortar. Sorry, Zappos/6pm, you've lost a customer.

39925265's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1696 said:

In my experience Zappos you never had the best prices, but you had free overnight shipping. So today, when I broke my toe and desperately need shoes NOW I can wear comfortably in this spring mud, I went to Zappos. I was shocked and upset to see the 4-5 day shipping policy. Well in 2 days I can manage to get my broken toe to a local store with better prices. Like $10 less for the same shoes.

If I have to wait then I go where the shoes are the least expensive. And that is not Zappos.

And really - the surprise thing does not do it for me. I already went elsewhere before I saw here you might still ship overnight. Lost one purchase there and I am sure many more. Sometimes I might be able to wait for a shoe but I cannot hope my shoes arrive quickly when I need them now. My toe hurts too much.

41271983's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1704 said:

The only reason I shopped at Zappos was because of the price match guarantee and the overnight shipping. Zappos prices have always been higher than the competition (at least a half dozen online stores can be found with much cheaper pricing on shoes in just a few moments of searching). But when I coupled the free overnight shipping along with the price match guarantee, I began spending at least $350 a year with Zappos and used them exclusively.

No more.

I frankly shop exclusively on price for a commodity like shoes. They are exactly the same no matter where you order them, and since I've always found it foolish to order a pair of shoes sight or fit unseen/unknown, I only order shoes online that I've previewed and tried out in a local store anyway.

So return policies and customer service are irrelevent to me. All I care about is getting my shoes as quickly and cheaply as possible. I assumed my $350 a year in purchases would testify to that, but apparently not.

Splitting into two stores is also bizarre and sounds like some marketing person has gone off the deep end. This is the Internet, where price rules first, free and fast shipping comes second, and everything else matters only when it doesn't compromise the first and second principles. This is not a brick and mortar store where the atmosphere and layout can have an impact. 6pm should be renamed 3am, because it sounds like the person who conjured this up was up just a little too late. The very name of the site tells me nothing, and I see nothing there that interests me either.

When you put away the marketing nonsense (why do marketing people always assume customers are stupid enough to believe that a negative somehow equals a positive), what this boils down to is Zappos wants to get away with charging higher prices than their competitors and no longer assures customers that in return for those higher prices, they'll get their shoes overnight (even if it is hinted they might).

So you just shot yourselves in the proverbial foot by eliminating the only two reasons a lot of us shop at Zappos.

With those gone, I'll be shopping elsewhere where prices have ALWAYS been lower than Zappos (I've never bought a shoe from you where you've been a price leader).

Why spend money at Zappos when for the same amount I can walk into a local store and walk out with my purchase, without even having to worry about shipping.

This is a very bad mistake.

39742997's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1840 said:

I'm now using onlineshoes.com which offers the free shipping both ways as well as a 110% price match guarantee, and seems to also have better prices.

Zappos simply has no clue about how to do business. Taking away that policy was a serious mistake.

466559577's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1876 said:

Love the site and the culture and the image of the company! I'm a price shopper so don't shop at Zappos much, bought one pair of shoes there I think. With price match, Zappos will attract more customers like me who may follow up on the price match and decrease margins.

Let's say a customer places an order for $250 for 5 pairs of shoes. They return 3 and the net revenue to Zappos at Zappos prices is $100, price match takes it down to say $80. Say product cost is $40 on $100 worth of shoes. Overnight shipping on 5 pairs is what, $15.00, return is $7.00.

$80 - $40 - $15 - $7 leaves an $18.00 contribution margin. Average marketing cost might be 10% of sales that stick so that's another $8.00 which brings the margin down to $10. W/o the price match it would be $30 contribution margin.

So Zappos is making a business decision to target customers who are willing to pay more and ensure that there are no customer service issues and any that do pop up will be taken care of.

As for the switch from free overnight to standard 4-5 day, I think that can be a bigger deal to customers than maybe Zappos thinks it is.

If Zappos or anyone else offers and advertises free overnight shipping and free returns, then the potential is there for Zappos to become like Bag Borrow or Steal except Zappos make no money on the transaction. I know Zappos will blow me away with their customer service and ship shoes overnight guaranteed but other places might not have the same service. I can use Zappos to quickly try on shoes for free, return them and then place the order that sticks elsewhere cause I know what fits and nothing will be returned.

A business needs to reduce "friction" (i.e. cost, time hassle) in the sales process as much as possible but if customer friction drops to zero and the customer doesn't have to invest anything for a business to give them free overnight shipping and free returns on anything they want, returns are likely to be much higher since the customer has invested nothing in the process.

It makes sense not to promise free overnight but the difference between 2-3 day and 4-5 day is HUGE.

As a customer, I know Zappos prices tend to be a little higher. I find out on Wed, I'm going to need shoes to match an outfit on Sat. I know if I order from Zappos the service will be great but I don't know if my shoes will get here in time for the event. I know if I want that guarantee that they will get there I'll have to pay extra $$$ on top of a price that is likely to be higher than other sites. Assuming other sites have what I want, I shop there.

In any case, it is awesome to see a company focused on service that provides a place people seem to love to work and I hope you guys continue to grow like wildfire!

45603054's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC2037 said:

I came on here to buy a pair of shoes and got to the shopping cart where I realized that there is no longer overnight shipping. At first I was confused, then searched the web and found that they dropped the policy. I enjoyed the overnight shipping since it saved me the convenience of having to drop by the store.

Needless to say, I abandoned my order online and will be heading to Macys at my lunch hour. I'm sad that they changed their policies because I was a frequent user and a strong promoter of the site. The change in policies will end that.

465265208's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC2074 said:

Wow - changing the free shipping policy was a surprise - and not a good one. I am always finding myself searching for shoes at the last minute and Zappos was the way to go. I agree with the other posters that the surprise upgrade just doesn't cut it. I need to know when I place an order when I will be receiving it - not if I will be lucky and get the upgrade so I have my shoes on time. And 4-5 days is an eternity these days. "Instant gratification" is what I am looking for and a quick search/purchase on another site will fulfill that.

42769926's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC158 said:

I honestly don't understand why so many people are, to put it bluntly, getting their panties in a bunch over Zappos's decision to stop ADVERTISING free overnight shipping.

ZC2074's comment is the embodiment of what is wrong with today's society--when people want something, they want it NOW. Screw waiting.

Quoted from wikipedia:

"Deferred gratification or delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. This ability is usually considered to be a personality trait which is important for life success . . . People who lack this trait are said to need instant gratification and may suffer from poor impulse control."

Yes, while free overnight shipping is a nice perk, it's not a necessity. The world will not end of you don't get your shoes within 24 hours. And if you need your shoes that soon, then perhaps you should have thought and planned ahead.

Many commenters here have said that they will bring their business to someplace that offers free overnight shipping when in fact, only TWO online retailers (that I know of, shoe or non-shoe) offer this perk as a standard: Endless.com and Heels.com.

What I am wondering is, if you are able to wait a several days to get your orders from different websites (Amazon, Gap, Overstock, etc), why can't you wait the same for a pair of shoes?

The most successful online retailers do not get successful by offering free overnight shipping (especially since NONE of them offer it). They are successful because they have excellent customer service and sell products/services that other retailers don't have, which are more effective at retaining customers' loyalty. For this reason, I will continue spending my money at Zappos.

41117151's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC351 said:

ZC158 - Why would anyone choose to pay more and wait longer at Zappos vs paying and waiting less for the exact same shoes from Endless?

The only reason people are even posting here instead of just silently changing where they do business is because of the goodwill generated by Zappos' previously generous policies. These aren't bunched panty posts, they are 'hey, we liked the old Zappos and we're giving you the heads up that these changes are hurting your business'.

If Zappos thinks they can do better without us then so be it, no hard feelings.

41225346's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1194 said:

I don't think it is just the free overnight shipping.It is a combination of shipping and high prices.Because of that it was the price match that was always a draw.Personally I can wait,I very rarely have a shoe emergency, but if I am going to wait I will choose to pay much less elsewhere. A difference of $30 to $40 for a pair of shoes is significant.I think Zappos is one of the best as far as customer service is concerned and I would continue to buy from them if I had the option to utilize a price match,otherwise I will need to shop elsewhere.

465265208's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC2074 said:

To ZC158's incredibly condescending comments:

No, my world will not end if I do not get my shoes within 24 hours and no, I am hardly an impulsive person. I am a busy mom of young children that does not go shopping on a whim. I have found myself repeatedly invited to events at the last minute (usually for my husband's business) that I need outfits and shoes for. Since I am not out there shopping just for fun to fill my closets for possible future use, when I need something, I need it in a short timeframe.

The fact that Zappos offered free overnight shipping gave me the appreciated freedom to not have to drag my young boys to the mall to try and find something that might work. It also gave me the chance to order a replacement pair in case the first ones didn't work out. Try doing THAT multiple times with a 4-5 day delivery company when you just found out you have another business event to go to this coming weekend.

I wish I had the ability to "plan ahead" as you so "thoughtfully" put it, but my life isn't that way right now. Why don't you look up "arrogant", "contemptuous", "insolent", "egotistic", and "disdainful" as you psychoanalyze us from Wikipedia while waiting for your shoes.

And by the way, I ordered 2 pairs of shoes from Zappos last night (before my post) and thank goodness I received and email saying I was getting overnight shipping. Now I will have them for my trip on Monday instead of dragging him to the mall on his birthday to shop for my shoes.

41271983's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1704 said:

I think we all recognize this is a discussion about shoes stores and shoe purchases made online. Zappos does not exist in a vacuum, however. It has a number of competitors, and we as customers get to make a choice about where we take our business.

Nobody said that it was an absolute necessity that Zappos offer free overnight shipping or the lowest price. But as customers, we feel it important to let Zappos know that we feel no absolute necessity to do business with a company that eliminates their two major selling points.

A shoe is a shoe is a shoe. If I order a New Balance shoe from Zappos or Endless, the exact same shoe is going to arrive at my door. Only (as a recent order just demonstrated) that shoe will cost me $40 less at Endless.com than what Zappos charges, and I was able to wear it within 14 hours of ordering it. Hmmm... lower cost (by a substantial amount), faster free shipping, and a 110% price match guarantee.

No online retailer will ever enjoy success if they ignore the competition. We've seen a large number of online stores go out of business precisely because they could not compete on price and couldn't survive because of it.

If you choose to spend more and wait longer, that's your affair of course.

466559577's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC1876 said:

The thing is with 4-5 day shipping is that is "standard". It is about the same as Amazon FREE Supersaver shipping, though that can be even slower than 4-5 days.

If Zappos was just starting out and only promised 4-5 day shipping and then upgraded most orders to overnight, that would help spread goodwill and create WOW! It still will among new Zappos customers that don't know anything about the switch in shipping policies.

From the customers perspective though, its premium price, premium service, premium selection, premium brands, standard shipping that might be upgraded to premium shipping. There is no premium delivery promise or even anything above standard. If the promise was upgraded shipping as it used to be (2-3 days) that would seem to fit in better with all the other premiums.

IMHO, it should at least go back to what it used to be and then stay there for premium consistency.

I was looking for a pair of ski pants the other day, Zappos came up 1st in the search results with a price of $100 more than Sierra Trading Post. Sierra was offering free shipping, you do have to pay for returns/restocking and the pants might not fit and I might have to return them but it will cost a lot less than $100 to do that.

It?s interesting to read the different perspectives. At the end of the day, if Zappos can carve out the upscale shopper who likes to be able to work with a real person when buying stuff then they will rock. If they can be the Nordstrom of the Internet, they?ll rock. If anyone wants to have a job in the future, better hope there are some people working at companies like Zappos otherwise Amazon will automate everyone in retail out of a job.

42401234's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC2740 said:

It's very sad that Zappos is eliminating the price match policy. I really love shopping at Zappos because it's a company I trust, but the fact is almost all items on Zappos are more expensive than the market price!

40236319's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC465 said:

What amazes me most is that throughout this thread no one has made mention of the fact that when ordering from Zappos you're guaranteed that the product is actually in stock.

In the world of internet retailing it's easy to find an image of the shoes/apparel/watch that we desire but finding a place that has a descent price (I can't say the lowest), next day shipping, a free return policy (in case we've gained a few pounds or the size runs a little small) AND the product in stock is a rarity.

In the end it does come down to what you're willing to pay for, and with Zappos it's all about convenience. I agree with the person who said that they are carving out a nitch market but I believe that it is a market that we haven't seen represented on the internet.

44937469's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC3473 said:

For me, the best thing about ordering from you guys was that the order would arrive the next day. Being able to have access to the item I want immediately is a huge plus, one that I think is severely underrated by most people. Having the convenience of ordering online plus being able to actually try on the shoes the next day is what really set Zappos apart from other companies, and sadly I don't know if I'll continue to be a customer, considering I'll be paying more for what other sites can provide for less.

41893006's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC4605 said:

I just got off the phone with a customer service rep, Kimberly, and I had to write that I got the best customer service I have gotten anywhere. I was looking for a pair of shoes that I bought 18 months ago and couldn't find on the wesite. She looked at several competitors sites and when she couldn't find it there, she gave me the sku number and the phone number for the manufacturer.

I bought two other pairs of shoes today from Zappos. Thank-you for your great customer service policies, great staff, easy returns and free shipping.

Kim

44854278's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC7540 said:

I just read that Zappo's offers employees $1000 to leave after one week as a sort of loyalty test

http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/taylor/2008/05/wy_zappos_pays_new_emplo...

My guess is that the people who might have opposed the poor decisions to remove price protection and publicizing of free overnight shipping have "left the building" - $1000 richer ;-)

I just tried to get a price match and was told the policy changed in february. I didn't get any notice about this. The customer service rep told me that the agreement says they can change the terms any time "without notice". Very un-zappos like. Very uncool. I will be shopping elsewhere.

And to think I just rated you all very highly in the consumer reports survey...

43722613's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm Jeff said:

ZC7540: I work in the Customer Loyalty Team here at Zappos. Let me first say that we are so sorry to hear about your poor experience with us when calling in. We certainly do not wish for you to feel as though we have not lived up to our pledge of top-notch customer service. If you would be willing to give us one last chance, please call us once more and ask to speak with a supervisor so that we may both hear what happened in detail, as well as take steps to prevent anything like this from happening in the future. Thank you for your understanding and consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you.

45341558's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC8826 said:

I too, tried to price match something yesterday. I had no idea that the policy was cancelled. I'm sorry, but I agree that I will be taking my business elsewhere. This aspect of Zappos was key, in my opinion.

44854278's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC7540 said:

I just returned the shoes and got them locally for much cheaper.

467756690's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC18936 said:

Tony,i see why oyur making the money you make.Your company is on point.All about MAKING MONEY,BUT MOST IMPORTANT YOUR ABOUT THE PEOPLE.That my soon to be friend is what makes you so great.I have a few ideas on how to reach your goal and than some.....It would be an honor to pitch them to you.Get with me you wont be disapointed...............Marcus

467970849's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC20249 said:

Hi Tony, Finally...someone who understands the importance of customer service! I have been in customer service (front line, processing international orders) trying to promote the importance to a company who supplies coordinate measuring machines....a hard sell indeed.

After seeing you on Oprah, I felt compelled to contact you to see if you would be a mentor and confidant in helping me pursue my ultimate dream....which does not include working for anyone else. (involves fashion, inspiration and girlfriends) I have been slowly developing my idea through the past 4 years (have taken out 3 domains with my ultimate destination to be FriendshipBoutique.com and am trying to take it to the next level.

I recently quit my $66,000 a year job in Chicago (I live in Wisconsin) after finding out my daughter and her husband are expecting our first grandchild. (nine years of trying for them!)Realized money isn't everything and didn't want to be so far away from my family any longer. My travel time was 3 1/4 hours one way.

Having said that....my business would involve maintaining inventory, having some things manufactured (I do have some contacts worldwide from my past customer service days where I built lasting friendships in China, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom)and carrying personalized items.

I am running out of time as I am now in my 50's and would like input on how to build my dream to insure my future retirement and income and a business to hand down to my daughter and son. This is what I am passionate about and have gotten as far as I have with support from my family and friends. I am just asking for input, some wise business advice and a bit of motivation from someone who has really arrived:)

Kindest regards, Julie@LoveThatGown.com

38337160's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC20967 said:

I just looked on kids shoes (good ones - European) not cheap Chinese shoes for kids and the prices on the kids shoes are astronomical! $175 for a kids snow boots, $220 on English shoes Buckle my Shoe and the list goes on! What a nonsense! I just wonder what type of person would spent that kind of money on kid's shoes in today's economy. I have been buying my kids shoes at other website that have been selling only quality Euro kids shoes for years now. www.kingashoes.com. The selection is great, Euro brands I never heard of, fair prices, quick shipping service (usually free) and they really know the fit and those shoes inside out. There is not even a single style that is not Eruopean or quality shoe for that matter. I bought few shoes at zappos before but from now on I will continue buy from your competitor. Sorry, you won't break my bank for sure. Maria B

38337160's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC20967 said:

Interesting comment. I had bought shoes from www.kingashoes.com and you are correct! Quality, great shoes for kids - "No Chinese junk as you posted" Ha Ha Ha! I have called them a couple of times and yes, they do know those shoes well. The lady explained that they try them on kids in the stores so they exactly know the sizes and fit. I totally agree that the prices are better then zappos. Well, I am willing to pay $80-$90 for quality shoes vs $120-$180 or more. Boy what a rip-off!

44202412's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC30266 said:

Something very strange happened to me while recently shopping for shoes at zappos.

I immediately noticed that my shoe selections, (which were significantly reduced in price on Wednesday) were drastically altered in price by Thursday (the very next day).

Example: 42% reduction Wed, lowered to only 9% reduction Thurs

How could this be? I was under the assumption, that once an item is offered at a sale price, as time continues, the sale percentage will increase, NOT REDUCE.

I do not categorize Zappos with the common department store. To where as an item is placed on sale for a limited timeframe, then reinstated to it's original price.

If my assumption directly above is erroneous, then I apologize and stand to be corrected. In addition Zappos, if this is indeed a standardized procedure, please ensure that this information is documented within your website.

I have been both a loyal customer and a fan of Zappos for over 3 years to date. However, please be advised that if this is a common practice, I will no longer frequent your site.

Candace B

38337160's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm ZC20967 said:

agree about kingashoes.com. She knows her shoes inside out, zappos has no clue, they don't even mark the widtth properly for kids shoes and definitely don't know the fit. Also, most of the brands that Zappos sells for kids are med in CHINA or are poor quality european shoes. I returned almost every single shoe for my kids I got from Zappos within last year. Zappos used to be much better and have much better deals-now it is shoes.com and kingashoes.com is where I am shopping.

admin's picture
Dec 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm admin said:

First of all, 6pm.com is a genius web url in my view. Secondly, the mentioning of not advertising free shipping just to create more sales is nice. http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnnymorgan

45545400's picture
Jan 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm ThomasE1611 said:

For me the lack of price matching is now a non-starter. I have purchased a GPS and a couple of pairs of shoes from Zappos in the past...as a result of price matching. Without that...you simply don't compete...even against Amazon, your parent company. I was going to purchase shoes for our bowling team but with your prices $20+ greater than the competition (Amazon, bowling.com, etc) it just doesn't make sense to support you. Time to rethink your policies methinks.

39933277's picture
Apr 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm kellys7541 said:

Zappos, I don't think your new policies will hurt you with your regular customer base. I am not a once or twice a year shopper with Zappos. I purchase 2 to 5 pair of shoes about 8 times a year. I shop for my entire family and the free shipping/free returns are a big bonus as I have a special needs child and trips to the mall trying on shoes are brutal.

The reason I am a repeat shopper is simple: CUSTOMER SERVICE. I love getting an exchange item the day after I call and request it and well before Zappos has received the original item back. I loved getting bumped up to next day and I loved becoming a VIP member.

If Zappos is slightly higher, I am happy to pay for it when I can shop on Wednesday for shoes to wear to a Friday night event, order 3 pair of shoes in 2 sizes each that arrive on Thursday, find the pair I love that fits the best, send the others back on Monday and have my refund by Friday. For me, it beats the hassle of driving to the few high end stores that offer a slection of narrow shoes, then coming home disappointed or spending the day driving around.

Zappos, I have been a customer for 5 years and I will stay that way. Keep up the great customer service!

466867071's picture
Feb 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm ZapposZeb said:

You can't put a price on good customer service. If businesses around the country were run like Zappos, we'd be in much better shape...

-zeb