If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, Zappos.com will gladly take it back at no cost to you. Zappos.com has become the #1 seller of shoes online (ahead of J.C. Penney) by stressing customer service. It stocks 3 million pairs of shoes, handbags, and apparel and accessories, specializing in more than 1,000 brands that are difficult to find in mainstream shopping malls. Through its website (and 7,000 affiliate partners), Zappos.com distributes stylish and moderately priced footwear to frustrated and shop-worn customers nationwide. The company was founded by its former chairman, Nick Swinmurn, following a botched mall-based shoe quest in 1999. A decade later, Zappos.com was acquired by online giant Amazon.com.
Change in Company Type
Zappos.com was purchased by Amazon.com in 2009 in an all-stock deal valued at about $890 million. The online footwear and apparel retailer's employees received $40 million in cash and restricted stock. As part of the deal, Amazon retained Zappos.com's existing management, its brand name, and its Las Vegas headquarters. By buying Zappos.com, Amazon became an expert in online shoe sales overnight. For the shoe e-tailer, being part of the giant Amazon organization fuels its future growth prospects.
In addition to its namesake website, the e-tailer operates specialty sites: Couture.zappos.com, Outdoor.zappos.com, Rideshop.zappos.com, and Running.zappos.com.
The firm has moved way beyond shoes to boost sales with the aim of becoming an e-tailer that sells "anything and everything," adding apparel, bags, jewelry, watches, ties, eyewear, and even electronics to its online store. To this end, it rolled out an Emerging Designer Program (developed by Zappos.com employees) to nurture up-and-coming fashion designers who are looking to market their wares to a broader audience.
Zappos.com continues to leverage its unique culture and crazed devotion to customer service to succeed and grow. While the company has maintained a quasi-independent status, it has joined forces with its giant parent where it makes sense to do so. In 2011 it integrated its operations with Amazon's warehouse management system and in 2012 opted to allow Amazon to take over its Kentucky fulfillment center operations rather than build a new warehouse there.
Zappos.com moved its headquarters in 2013 to the former city hall building in downtown Las Vegas.
The company served Canadian customers until 2011, when it exited the region due to high brokerage fees and confusing shipping policies for cross-border orders. As part of the move, Zappos.com also shut down the canada.zappos.com website.
Zappos.com is owned by online e-commerce giant Amazon.com.