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Zappos Builds Loyalty and Retention with Social Shopping

If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, will gladly take it back at no cost to you. 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 some 1,000 brands that are difficult to find in mainstream shopping malls. This shoe retailer is on an expansion course to becoming a universal retailer with over 7000 affiliate partners, and the company increasingly leveraging the social web with 436 of their 1,300 employees twittering for themselves and Zappos. Recently Zappos went online with My.Zappos, a social shopping site.

My.Zappos is a site in which the consumer shops in a social networking environment with their friends. After registering, you can get introduced to groups with similar interests, such as Zappos Golf, Zappos Beauty, etc. In addition, you can connect with the friends on Twitter and Facebook. (This is perfect, because it immediately creates a feeling of belonging and community.) It also makes a direct link between e-commerce and the social part of shopping. Consumers can create shopping lists of items they want, have or like. Friends can tell them what they think and/or suggest new “stuff” for them. My.Zappos takes online shopping to a new level. In the past when you shopped online, it was a lonely experience. With My.Zappos, consumers can shop together and have their “best friends” give them feedback. It takes rating/review and suggestive selling to a new level.
According to Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, this approach has proven very successful. On any given day, about 75% of purchases at Zappos are from returning customers. These repeat customers have a higher average order size $132.22 versus $111.98 for a first time customer. In addition, repeat customers purchase more than 2.5 times in a twelve-month period.

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