What Any Catalog Success Reader Should Learn From Zappos.com
Whether they’re great CEOs from good companies, good CEOs from great companies or great CEOs from fantastic companies, these people often don’t want to let the rest of the world know what’s made them or their companies so great. So, it was a joy to sit in on a wonderful presentation by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh during the e-Tail conference in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 8. He openly reeled off 10 truly fascinating ways Zappos has succeeded in its first eight years as a dot-com seller of shoes and apparel.
What does your company have in common with the $800 million Zappos? For all kinds of readers of The Corner View, I’m going out on a limb to guarantee you that regardless of how large or small you are, consumer or B-to-B, catalog, online, retail, etc., there are lessons to be learned from Hsieh’s presentation, and I’ve outlined his 10 key points below in their entirety.
I always welcome your feedback on any issues I explore here, but for this one in particular, if you can’t find at least one usable idea, I want to know. Just click on the comment buttons you can find on our site beside and beneath this column. In the meantime, feast on these...
1. The e-commerce business is built on repeat customers. “When we first started,” Hsieh said, “we did what every other dot-com did: spent a lot of money on ad campaigns to acquire as many customers as possible. This is a good idea if your goal is to lose as much money as possible. Instead, we started focusing on repeat-customer behavior.”
Zappos increased the percentage of customers who buy again within the next 12 months from 20.5 percent in 2001 to 51.3 percent in 2006, Hsieh shared.
2. Word-of-mouth really works online. “Everybody tells everybody about great experience they have online,” he boldly noted. “We found that out early on about how horrible our service was. But the reverse is true, too.”