Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Story of The Billion Dollar Online Shoe Store

Now my book ‘Juggle!’ is sitting in Zappo’s HQ in Nevada, I’ve been soaking up more information about Tony Hsieh and the story of Zappos. There’s a great interview and profile written by Max Chafkin in May’s issue of Inc. magazine.
You can read the article online here
, but here are some extracts:

Zappos & The Importance Of Books

‘At the conclusion of the tour, we are invited to peruse the company library, which is filled with multiple copies of two dozen business and self-help books. We are urged to take whatever grabs our fancy, a policy that applies to employees as well. Roberson explains that one of Zappos's core values is personal growth and that books are given out to help employees grow with the company

Zappos’ Focus On Hiring for Culture

‘Such rapid growth was exciting. But it also led Hsieh to wonder how he could preserve Zappos' radical dedication to customer service and its fun, loose work environment. "We always hired for culture fit," he says. "But we were growing so quickly that managers who hadn't been around for very long might not know what our culture was." He wrote an e-mail to the entire company asking for help, and he distilled the responses into a list of 10 core values, including "Be humble," "Create fun and a little weirdness," and "Deliver WOW through service." Then he assigned and collected short essays from every employee on the subject of the company's culture and published them, unedited, in a book that he distributed to the staff.’

Zappos & The Future

‘At a time when most business leaders are retrenching, Hsieh is thinking big. In late 2006, he launched an outsourcing program to handle selling, customer service, and shipping for other companies, and last December, he started an educational website for small businesses that charges them $39.95 a month to tap Zappos executives for advice. Hsieh has said Zappos will eventually move beyond retail to businesses such as hotels and banking -- anything where customer service is paramount. "I wouldn't rule out a Zappos airline that's just about the best customer service," he announced at the Web 2.0 conference last fall’

Zappos is not (yet) a household name outside of the USA but the story of Hsieh and his brand success is starting to spreading. Here in the UK, you can order from the Zappos website, but it lacks the ‘wow’ of the US experience; the shipping is not free here, but that may change if they choose to have a UK presence in the future.
So watch out for Zappos....

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