Zappos- Best practices of user experience on Zappos

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Background


One of the main barriers for buying shoes on-line is not being able to try them on. Zappos is a business established in 1999 designed to solve this barrier by offering free shipping both ways, 365 days return policy and 24/7 “best in the industry” customer service. It is now the largest on-line shoe store (9,520,000 visits per month by far higher than any competitor) and was acquired in 2009 by Amazon for $1.2 Billion.

Company Culture


Zappos has managed to establish a strong company culture which is their main competitive advantage. They have created a fun place to work culture building a family and friend working environment that engages workers to later engage customers providing best in class customer satisfaction which is their main goal.
The ten core values that Zappos are: 1) Deliver WOW Through Service, 2) Embrace and Drive Change, 3) Create Fun and A Little Weirdness, 4) Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded, 5) Pursue Growth and Learning, 6) Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication, 7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit, 8) Do More With Less, 9) Be Passionate and Determined and 10) Be Humble (Zappos Family Core Values).

Purchase Process


The purchase process in Zappos involves 5 steps which start from the search on google of the shoes you are looking for which will drive you through SEO and SEM techniques to Zappos landing page, followed by a more narrow search in Zappos website enhanced by categorization and visualization, followed by the purchase through a secure payment option such as paypal, the receipt of goods and a potential return and customer feedback.
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User experience


User experience in Zappos is based on: 1) Branding, 2) Usability, 3) Content and 4) Functionality.
  • Branding for Zappos can be described as strong given it's strong brand visibility on the website, delivery on a clear brand promise and the visual impact of the site.
  • Usability is enhanced by live help, categorization and thematic shopping. An opportunity is to add personalization to the website through Facebook Integration, like Amazon has done, to facilitate decision making and relevance.
  • Content is given by text, multimedia, images as well as by the website architecture, offering a high link density that makes the search somehow complex. When analyzing a product Zappos does a good job showing users detailed customer reviews, price, predictive suggestions, availability and product attributes in different angles ( Product Review Multimedia Example).
  • Functionality given by the ease of use, navigation, accessibility and search with predictive text.

Best Practices


1) Great Customer Service
Company culture built on providing best in class customer satisfaction.
  • 24/7 active call-center
  • Great kindness (5 hours,57 secs the
  • longest call)
  • Support to customers in website navigation
  • Suggestion of competitors when a product is out of stock
  • Close relationship between customer and company (gifts, meet the employees behind the website, among others)

2) Reliability and Trust
  • Great brand awareness
  • Great refferrals!
  • Clear policy
  • Fast delivery: 365 overnight free shipping
  • Free returns

3) Effective Digital Marketing
Zappos leverages on Digital Marketing Practices to boost traffic, awareness, conversion and loyalty. Advertising builds on their main selling points.
Some of the tools used are:
  • SEO and SEM to boost visibility and drive traffic to their website.
  • Applications for I-Phone and I-Pad to drive user engagement and facilitate shopping.
  • Great presence on Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs:
    • Twitter presence is managed by the CEO
    • Facebook application that allows to select cloth and items and understand how they look on you
  • You Tube Advertising based on users testimonials Zappo’s channel in YouTube

Opportunities for Improvement


In the seek to provide the best customer experience, Zappos could improve by providing Augmented reality, 3D videos, VRM and ZN application.

See also


eCommerce opportunities in social media
•Synergies between search, social media and mobile marketing
Best practices of user experience on Amazon

References


  1. http://www.zappos.com/
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zappos.com
  3. How I Did It: Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com
  4. http://www.jmorganmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ZDNet-Zappos-SR.pdf
  5. Amazon Closes Zappos Deal