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Zappos: Integrating Systems and Business Processes Mon 14 Apr 08

Shoe_souk_shopping_jim_snapperWhen you run across a company the truly integrates their systems with their business processes it can be an amazing experience.  Dealing with these companies borders on fun because they take the effort to make it easy and have anticipated your needs.  Zappos, an online retailer of shoes and other accessories, is one such company.  Or more appropriately as they describe themselves: "We are a service company that happens to sell ________.

  • shoes
  • and handbags
  • and clothing
  • and eyewear
  • and watches
  • and accessories
  • (and eventually anything and everything)"

Since I'm a customer of Zappos I'm surprised that I hadn't written about this before.  Fortunately, Seth Godin's recent post, "Zappos wants you to return those shoes" reminded me so now is a good time to talk about them.

Zappos' service is all encompassing in how it is set up.  It includes: policy, processes, customer perspective, vision, attitude and systems.  Customer service for them isn't just putting a "Contact us" or "Customer Service" link on their web site.  Pete Blackshaw explain this in more detail in "Word-of-Mouth Marketing 101, à la Zappos.com"

Don't believe me?  Then check out these examples:

  1. If you haven't already done it take a look at Seth Godin's post that started this  "Zappos wants you to return those shoes"
  2. B L Ochman's post of her experiences "Why I Heart Zappos More and More All the Time"
  3. "I Heart Zappos" for one of the most dramatic customer experience stories I ever come across.  Would anyone write one like this about your company?

Zappos integrates technology into their service by a very comprehensive and well designed web site that allows you to search and select your purchase, track your shopping history, returns etc.  But they don't just stop there.  They utilize blogs to communicate with their customers.  There is a CEO blog that isn't just another form of advertising.  It's about customer service and his thoughts on how to do it right.  There is even a "Inside Zappos" blog (check out The Legend of EL IT!).

They quickly adopt new technology like TwitterI always knew it would be shoes… My favorite Twitter success story over at Web 2.What? explains how.  How many companies do you know of that use Twitter and do it successfully?  This is the only one I know of.

A pretty impressive story and use of IT don't you think?  How do you compare?

"shoe souk shopping" photo by jim snapper

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