Five years ago I never would have thought to look online for sunglasses. With products like that, it’s important to give them a test run in the store before making a purchase. My recent Zappos experience was enough to convince me otherwise.
Zappos has retailers beat on selection, customer service, and convenience. Zappos offers over 50 sunglass brands in thousands of styles. Consumers are able to sort through their vast inventory on the basis of brand, style, color, price, size, and material. In addition to in-depth item information, each style includes a video of a male and female model to give the consumer a better idea of how the product will look on his/her face. On top of all this, Zappos offers free 2 day shipping and a no questions asked return policy.
The first pair of sunglasses I ordered from Zappos was way too big for my face. They were too big for anybody’s face. All I had to do was print out the return label, slap it on the original box, and put it in the mailbox. Two days later I was credited in full. The second pair was more acceptable. I tried them out for about a week, took them to Foxfield, snapped a few embarrassing pics in them, and decided I could do better. I sent them back Monday and was credited for them today. I’m currently writing this blog post while shopping for my third pair and I’m really feeling it this time. I think I’m going to find a winner.
My point is, Zappos provides amazing customer value through its selection, customer service, and speedy deliver, but should they trust their customers this much? If I wanted to, I could have a new pair of sunglasses every week without paying a dime. While Zappos taking a big risk by trusting their consumers this much, their strategy creates powerful customer loyalty and brand resonance. It have certainly made me an advocate.