I can’t remember the last pair of shoes I didn’t buy from Zappos. If you don’t count the bicycles cleats I bought at a local bike shop a couple years ago, I guess it was a pair of sneakers I bought from some local store I don’t remember about eight years ago. I would have Zappos’ babies if I could, and I’m a dude. They don’t want to screw up your order, and they’ve never screwed up one of mine but I swear to god, they love it when you have a problem. They just want to show you how goddamned awesome they are.
“Oh, they’re a bit snug? Let me overnight you a half size larger and see how that fits. And here’s a return label. Would you like us to pay for UPS to pick that shit up for you?” I ordered a pair of shoes once at like 11:30 on a Saturday night and they were at my front door on Monday morning. I was kind of concerned when Amazon bought them a few years back, even though Bezos said he wasn’t going to change the company.
I read somewhere that the Amazon model does everything it can not to interact with the customer and the Zappos model cherishes every opportunity to do the same. I think that’s pretty succinct and accurate, although I’ll also say that Amazon has pretty damned good service when you need them. They may not want to talk to you, but they provide great service when they do.
I give Bezos a lot of credit for allowing Zappos to maintain its own culture. You’re not going to score awesome deals there, but you will get fair prices and exceptional service. For the record, I don’t work for or own Amazon stock.