Zappos: We Want To Be "Known As A Customer Service Company, Not A Marketing Company"

Reader Matt forwarded this email exchange he had with Zappos.com over their recent decision to stop promoting their price guarantee and free overnight shipping.

He has intended to switch to another shoe seller, but has decided to give Zappos another shot considering the email response he received.

In it, Zappos says “Regarding our decision to stop advertising and promoting free overnight shipping on Zappos, it’s actually simply just that: a decision to stop advertising and promoting it, not a decision to actually stop doing it,” and “It’s true that we would probably get more customers if we continued to market free overnight shipping as opposed to surprising customers with it, but we decided that we wanted Zappos to be known as a customer service company, not a marketing company.”

I was pretty disappointed when I read your post about the changes to zappos.com’s free overnight shipping policy. Disappointed enough that I would probably not shop there regularly anymore (I run marathons and therefore go through my fair share of running shoes). Soon after reading your post, they sent me a promotional email. I responded with the following email. Their (unexpected) response is copied after my email. The fact that they replied to my email with such an explanation will cause me to at least give them another chance considering how great their customer service has been in the past.

Zappos,

I probably will not use zappos any more. I can live without the price guarantee-even though every retailer in the world has some kind of price matching ability. But the loss of the free next day shipping has turned you in to every other online retailer that I don’t use. On to endless.com I go.

matt.

Here’s Zappos’ response:

Hello Matt,

Thank you for contacting the Zappos.com Customer Loyalty Team!

We truly appreciate that you contacted us to let us know how you feel. Regarding our decision to stop advertising and promoting free overnight shipping on Zappos, it’s actually simply just that: a decision to stop advertising and promoting it, not a decision to actually stop doing it.

This means that the vast majority of our customers will still get their orders as quickly as they have in the past. The only difference is that we made the decision to not advertise or promise it, because we found that our customers were happier when they were surprised by the fast shipping. So, if you order from us and choose the free shipping option, chances are that your order will come just as quickly as they did before!

As a side note, just like before, occasionally our warehouse may run into unexpected challenges. For example, a storm may prevent some of our employees from coming to work. If you pay for the overnight shipping option, your order will be given priority processing in our warehouse and guaranteed 1-business day shipping and handling, even during those times when we experience slight hiccups.

It’s true that we would probably get more customers if we continued to market free overnight shipping as opposed to surprising customers with it, but we decided that we wanted Zappos to be known as a customer service company, not a marketing company.

I hope this helps in explaining this recent change we’ve made at Zappos. If you have any other questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We are constantly striving to improve our service. If there is anything more we can do for you or if we could improve your experience, please do not hesitate to let us know. We are always here for you – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We like to think of ourselves as service company that just happens to sell… shoes, bags, clothing, and accessories. 1-800-ZAPPOS-1 (1-800-927-7671) or 702-943-7677.

Stephanie W

Customer Loyalty Representative

Zappos people are so nice it’s almost scary.

PREVIOUSLY: Zappos Zaps Price Protection Policy, Free Overnight Shipping