Enjoying Retail with Over-the-Top Service


This past week I found another retail internet site that blew me away. I needed a pair of shoes so I shopped at zappos.com for the first time. My wife discovered this site first and recommended it to me (for any retailer there’s nothing like a referral from a trusted source) and so I tried it. I have to tell you, it was great.


Well, I have feet that are not easy to fit. They are narrow to begin with and one foot is about a half size larger than the other one. So when you have to buy shoes in pairs, this last point can be a real problem.

What makes Zappos unique is how easy they make it. I bought a pair, they came next day (I actually ordered them at 8:00 PM and I had them the next evening) and they didn’t fit. NO problem. Zappos has a quick and easy way for returns, in fact the language on their website begs for returns from unhappy customers. So, since I actually liked the shoes I ordered another pair (which came the next day) and returned the ones that did not fit. To my surprise and delight I had a credit to my account – you guessed it — the next day. Wow.

So if you are a more traditional retailer reading this, don’t lose heart – learn from it. Retailers who attract attention don’t have to be on line, they just have to give fantastic service and get rid of stupid policies that irritate customers. Welcome people, like Zappos to enjoy what you have and, if it’s not right, don’t make them feel like idiots when they return it. Don’t post silly signs that turn people off (line one store I visited that had three signs on the POS terminals that said “No Cash Refunds”). Treat customers like you’d treat people coming to your home for a joyous occasion. Serve them, laugh with them, greet them and make them feel comfortable and welcomed back.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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