Is Zappos Legit? (Full Zappos Review)

If you are looking for shoes, Zappos is a great source. However, there have been some questions online asking whether it is legit. Is Zappos legit?

Zappos is a legit online shoe and clothing retailer. Nick Swinmurn co-founded this company in 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ten years later, it ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For. In the same year, after proving its potential, Amazon.com Inc. acquired Zappos.

Zappos is well-known for its outstanding customer service. They describe their purpose as follows: “to live and deliver WOW”. They refer to themselves as a “service company, which just happens to sell shoes, clothing, and more”.

Read on to learn more about Zappos.com, including its history, its growth, and success.

Is Zappos Legit?

is zappos legit

Zappos is indeed a legit online shoe and clothing retail store. It is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was founded in 1999. In 2009, it ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.

In the same year, Amazon.com Inc. acquired Zappos after seeing its potential for ultimate growth.

If all this information is not enough, I encourage you to read the book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.” It is a bestselling book written by the late Tony Hsieh.

Zappos’ History

Businessman Nick Swinmurn co-founded Zappos in 1999. In 1998, he wanted to run a student portal before eventually deciding to develop Zappos.com.

To raise funds for his online shoe business, he worked for Silicon Graphics as a contractor. He originally called the business Shoesite.com until he changed it to Zappos.com in July 1999.

Swinmurn could not have made this possible without his co-founders Alfred Lin and Tony Hsieh. Through the financial aid provided by the investment firm Venture Frogs, they were able to launch Zappos.com.

In 2000, Venture Frogs placed an investment in Zappos, which led to the latter’s relocation to its office space. Then, in 2001, Swinmurn appointed Hsieh as his co-CEO.

Swinmurn left the company in 2006.

Headquarters

The Zappos headquarters is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It moved to the Las Vegas City Hall building in 2013 after the building underwent a major renovation worth US$48 million. Previously, Zappos was headquartered in Henderson.

Zappos customers can visit the headquarters if they want to. Customers have to book a guided tour for US$10. Guests will then be toured for 90 minutes.

Growth of Zappos

Since its inception in 1999, Zappos kept on growing until it doubled its annual revenues in 2006. It hit a gross sales of approximately US$840 million.

In 2007, Zappos decided to expand the business by not only selling footwear. This time, they began selling the following:

  • Clothing
  • Eyewear
  • Watches
  • Handbags
  • Children’s Merchandise

This led to the company’s annual sales of US$1 billion in 2008.

In 2009, it was recognized by Fortune Magazine as No. 23 in Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.

Still, in Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For, Zappos ranked No. 15 in 2010. Then, it ranked No. 6 in 2011 and No. 11 in 2012.

Zappos started without managing any inventory. But in the early 2000s, Hsieh insisted that they had to start controlling the entire experience to experience success. So, Hsieh redefined the company’s business model. They began managing the inventory and took the risk.

The growth of Zappos included the acquisition by Amazon.com Inc. of Zappos in 2009. In September 2013, Hsieh decided to relocate from Henderson to Las Vegas.

He explained that he wanted the Zappos team to be in an environment where there is a thin distinction between work and play. He prioritized everyone’s enjoyment while working, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman praised such a decision.

In August 2020, Hsieh retired from his post and was replaced by COO Kedar Deshpande. Unfortunately, in November 2020, the news shocked everyone upon learning that Hsieh died reportedly from smoke inhalation resulting from a house fire.

Acquisition by Amazon

is zappos a legit site

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once tried competing with Zappos. He established Endless.com in 2007, which exclusively sold footwear and accessories. Later on, he also opened online shopping sites in Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

All those sites mirrored the business of Endless.com but operated under the business name Javari.

The executives of Amazon saw the competitive threat brought about by the success of Zappos. This led to their decision to approach Hsieh and open the idea of merger and acquisition.

It was initially announced in July 2009 that Amazon would acquire Zappos for about US$940 million in mix cash and stock deal. However, in November 2009, the deal closed was worth US$1.2 billion.

In 2012, as Zappos was operating lucratively, Amazon decided to close Endless.com officially.

So, there’s really no need to ask the question, “Is Zappos a legit website?” at this point because it has been acquired by Amazon – the largest and most legit online retailer.

Products Available on Zappos

Since Zappos was initially launched as an online shoe retailer, 80% of its business is still attributed to footwear sales’ success. At the same time, 20% of the business’s success is attributed to the sales generated from clothing and clothing accessories.

Zappos has a wide selection of footwear. In fact, they even sell vegan shoes. Also, in 2004, they introduced Zappos Couture, which is their second footwear line.

Zappos’ Shipping Services

Typically, shipping duration takes approximately four to five days, and this service is offered for free to all customers. 

Zappos also offers a free 1-business day shipping for Android, iOS, and Kindle users who have downloaded and used the Zappos app.

In case you are wondering where shipments come from, it does not come from Kentucky anymore — where Zappos’ warehouse used to be located.

Shipments now come from the warehouses of Amazon, which are located not only in different parts of the United States but in different parts of the world.

How to Go About Returning Items?

In case you received a damaged or a wrong item, you can conveniently return it to Zappos. To do this, you have to log in to your Zappos account and go to Account Overview.

Just check the box next to the item/s you’re returning, then follow the instructions given to you.

You can get a refund usually within 365 days from the date of purchase.
Should you need further assistance, feel free to contact its Customer Service Department.

Zappos is known to have excellent customer service representatives. In fact, they are praised for that.

Is Zappos legit? Zappos is a legit online clothing and shoe retailer. It has been an excellent company, which is why it has been recognized as one of Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For. After seeing its potential, Amazon finally acquired Zappos.

Zappos’ Sponsorships and Other Programs

Zappos established a video subscription service called Zappos Insights in 2008. It was intended to help Fortune 1 Million Companies upgrade their business operations and customer service delivery quality.

Through this service, participants can ask questions that are answered by Zappos employees themselves.

The service also provides a boot camp for three days. Here, the participants have the opportunity to meet Zappos executives and to visit the headquarters.

Zappos also sponsors sports events such as the Zappos Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon. This event draws approximately 30,000 runners on an annual basis.

The West Coast Conference (WCC) Basketball Championships are sponsored by Zappos too. In this tournament, a special portion called “Kidz Day” occurs where local children are given T-shirts and shoes.

Zappos Rewards

This online retail store has a free rewards program called Zappos Rewards. This program provides rewards to consumers who shop and write product reviews.

Some of the benefits provided are rewards points and being included in the “advance party” in sales promos.

The Success of Zappos’ Customer Service Strategies

is zappos a legit website

The Zappos website is so simple, and there aren’t many write-ups about this online retailer. Instead, its popularity highly relies on word of mouth.

If you ask Zappos’ regular customers about what makes it stand out from other online retailers, the first thing they’ll say is its excellent customer service delivery.

CEO Tony Hsieh’s unconventional approach was responsible for the company’s customer service strategies. But most importantly, the entire Zappos team always has one common end-goal — which is to deliver customer happiness.

So, if you’re wondering about the answer to the question, “Is Zappos a legit website?” then the answer to that is an absolute yes.

Here are some of the strategies Zappos have been applying since Day 1 to deliver excellent customer service:

  1. Establishment of a culture wherein everyone believes in the values of the company;
  2. Empowerment of customer service representatives to offer exceptional resolutions to consumers;
  3. Prioritization of results instead of metrics; and
  4. Active Presence on Social Media

1. Establishment of a Culture Wherein Everyone Believes in the Values of the Company

Zappos’ Human Resources Department conducts an extensive hiring and screening process to ensure that they only employ the right people.

In fact, Zappos conduct a commitment test in which newly hired employees have to choose between staying with the company or accepting Zappos’ US$2000 offer to quit the job. Those who choose the former are then introduced to a culture of friendship.

The executives of Zappos believe that the only way to make customers happy is first to make their employees happy. The company promotes employees’ growth, whether professional and personal, by giving them seminars and workshops.

Zappos also offer flexible work schedules and volunteer opportunities.

2. Empowerment of Customer Service Representatives to Offer Exceptional Resolutions to Consumers

Officers find it quite a challenge to practice employee empowerment. Nonetheless, they exert all their efforts to succeed. Officers also undergo training and coaching to become experts in empowering their employees.

Zappos believes in the importance of continuing education for both the employees and executives.

3. Prioritization of Results Instead of Metrics

Employees at Zappos are allowed to be creative in making their customers happy — and they take pride in doing so.

They share their exceptional customer stories on Zappos’ website, which has a specific web page for employees. On this webpage, employees describe how their customer service sparks customer happiness.

4. Active Presence on Social Media

This online retailer has an active presence on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They have an active presence, too, on various corporate blogs. In fact, Zappos manages several blogs that talk about various topics related to their business.

Hsieh reminded his employees to practice Zappos’ sixth core value is “Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication.”

He urged his employees to make use of social media networks. That way, they put a human face on Zappos and not just a virtual retailer.

Conclusion – Is Zappos a Legit Site?

Zappos is indeed a legit online shoe and clothing retailer. Nick Swinmurn co-founded Zappos in 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ten years after, Zappos amazingly ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.

In the same year, Amazon.com Inc. acquired Zappos after seeing its potential for ultimate growth.

This online retailer may offer products that are similar to other online retail stores. However, what its competitors can never replicate is the excellent customer service it provides to consumers.

The late Tony Hsieh and all the other Zappos executives succeeded in the implementation of customer service strategies. More than anything else, they succeeded in creating a culture of friendship and, at the same time, employee empowerment.

As a result, they succeeded in prioritizing their end-goal of making their customers happy.

Up until now, they have been continuously nurturing their exceptional corporate culture. Evidently, this is the reason behind Zappos’ continuous success.

Therefore, Zappos.com is not only a legit business. It is also one of the best online retailers, if not the best, globally.