This Brand Evangelism piece is an example of how to write a consistent review that is integrity and personal experience driven, and highlighted brand perks consumers may be unaware of. This is an example of Brand Story weaving, and illustrates how company culture itself can be a powerful convincer to a skeptical market. Include my fave gum in my package just because? Oh heck yes. And that’s how the market reacts to stories like this. 

 

Word Count: 1284  Reading Time: 7 minutes


Talk Sexy To Me: Why Zappos Wins For Doing One Thing Really, Really Well

Want to hear a good one that involves great message, good product, nice people and sex? Because you know marketing is about sex, right? Sex and hot men doing the dishes, apparently. To the American woman, at least. 

But really, it’s all about customer service. Excellent, no holds barred customer service.

I may be late to the party, but have just had my own personal Zappos epiphany. On the verge of a business event, I realized I needed nice new conference shoes. Lacking time to shop, off to Zappos I went.

The shopping experience is way beyond nice. To put a fine point on it, they revved my engines, gave me a hot oil rubdown, tons of freebies and left me begging for more. I’ll deconstruct that for you below, so you can use the same successful tactics with your tribe.

But my real buy-in is… 

I’m the original Comfy Shoeist.

I will not wear shoes that are uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever. I have a strong, sexy yoga body, but with broken bones in my back and a broken ankle, you couldn’t pay me to wear heels. So, I’ve been on a never-ending quest for not only comfy but nice looking shoes.

To compound the problem…

I was allowed to run barefoot as a child and have wide feet, like many of us. It’s hard to find shoes in my size. Zappos has them in abundance. Even the Sweet Grape flavored Keen Whisper (ooh baby, great for hiking!). And what’s more, Zappos videos every single shoe, having an employee model it, and tell you little known things like the shoe runs large or small, is sized for the Asian market or the European market, so adjust your size thus ‘n so, etc. . 

Bonus points for going the extra mile. Zappos is all about the extra mile. 

Be like Zappos. Go the extra mile for your clients and customers.

I read a story where a guy frivolously asked for a pack of his favorite cinnamon gum, so a Zappos employee was deputized to go get a pack, and include it in his package.

Now that’s service. Real service, that should never have gone out of style.

I had to experience this for myself, so I called to find out something about a pair of shoes I was ordering, and asked if the package would get to me before I left for a conference.

Jake, my Zappo’s employee said “You’ll have it by Tuesday with overnight shipping” and promptly scurried off to find an answer to the question I had about the shoe.

Then he said the thing that’s making women nationwide catch their breath: 

“I can actually make Overnight Shipping and returns free to you for life, by putting you in our VIP club. I’ll do that, okay?” 

Oooo….talk sexy to me baby.  

I was breathing a little heavy and feeling light-headed, beginning to understand the Zappos lure.  

We love the sound of the words “free shipping and free returns”. You couldn’t offer any better porn to an on-budget modern woman unless it’s one of those beefcake calendars where the man is doing the dishes while giving you a foot massage.

But I digress. 

I asked if there was any charge for the VIP Program and was told no, but it offered benefits to me as a customer, was by invitation only, and he was inviting me just because I picked up the phone to call.

“We like to talk to people voice to voice, and we like to do good folks favors.” he said.

I began perspiring and had to fan my face. 

Oh, he was good

Now, this guy was undoubtedly handing out VIP memberships to all and sundry to everyone who called. But it was the way he deliberately and with great care made me feel special, and reinforced that I’d done the right thing by calling. Jake (we were on a first name basis by now) said several times how happy he was that I’d called in.

He really sold it too, not one particle of cheesiness or ingenuity came through.

Without sounding scripted, Jake made me feel like I’d saved him from an interminably boring evening. To sweeten the pot, I was given a special VIP login with perks inside the portal which took it up another level.

Who loves ya, baby? Zappos does.  

I’m probably the last one on the bandwagon. But I love, love, LOVED how I was treated – so much that I’ll be back, many times over. They’ve won a customer for life.

What I notice as a marketer though, is how little it took to gain such loyalty. Five minutes total of a very well-trained employee’s time. The VIP program in place. 

The will to be a nice guy business in a cutthroat world. 

Let’s break it down further.

First of all, Zappos gives free shipping both ways to everyone. They gave me the perk of overnight shipping free, which is a $25 savings I appreciated, needing to get my items within 48 hours. 

Then they say that I can return items for up to a year. A YEAR. And on their dime no less. That’s insane. But it works, and from studying company loss strategies, I’ll just bet they have very few returns in the later months. 

Last and most important of all, they tell me I can call 24 hours a day or choose to chat online if I prefer. Options for the Chatty Cathy and for the Socially Avoidant = Check.  Covering all bases = Exceptionally Cool. 

Dealing with Zappos was for a shoe store, close to a spa experience.

Hassle of returning items is one of the primary reasons more customers don’t buy shoes online. Zappo’s shortcut me past that worry in a twinkling, addressing a major pain point with ease and memorable generosity.

There’s a lesson to be learned here for marketers and business owners: 

Whatever objections your customers raise, work out strategies to make them non-issues instantly. If there’s a problem, take on all the responsibility and bend over backward to accommodate them. That’s what keeps ’em coming back. 

It got me looking at my own company. 

I’m a cottage industry & vend non-physical products, but I was seeing plenty of things I could easily change and emulate from the Zappos playbook, to remove hassle from the customer equation. 

I felt pampered. Like a fine-looking gentleman had just given me the “hey sexy mama” eye then shook his head, regretting we were at such a distance. No matter how old you are, partnered or not, that still feels good. 

I wonder now what I can do to make customers and clients of my products feel uniquely well cared for and highly regarded as Zappos does? 

What about your business? What have you to share with your tribe that they aren’t getting elsewhere – not in terms of information or your ninja skills, but in terms of tender loving care as a customer? 

Think about it. And shop Zappos to have a taste of this demonstrated for you. Model your experience with them, particularly if you had any trouble with your order. How did they handle it? What did they offer and in what manner? 

What is Zappos providing you, that you could, in turn, be providing your ideal community members and customers? 

 

* image of a Keen Whisper shoe in Grape courtesy of Zappos


About The Author: Maryam Webster is a veteran psychologist, marketer, published author and writer for social justice, healing and consciousness revolutionaries. She writes magnetic, high converting copy for articles, mythic bios and sales pages, key converter web pages and signature programs. Need targeted copy like this written for your business? Get in touch:

 

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