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Personalization - in More Ways than One - Makes All the Difference

Suzi Shopper: Thoughts on business from a consumer’s perspective

I’m a big fan of shoes…love to buy them. But my foot is hard to fit, so I never considered buying shoes online until about a year ago. I kept hearing about Zappos.com – how great the company is, how they live their core values, and offer a great customer experience. I figured I’d check out their website, and when I found out they had a no-hassle return policy – now we’re talking! – I decided to try them out.

First of all, the shopping experience is great; it provides reviews on every item, including customer feedback on fit and arch support, pictures of the shoe from every angle, and even videos of someone walking in the shoe. All this left little to question about the items I was interested in, so I decided to go for it.

The order confirmation email was too cute – honestly, I got a little warm fuzzy because it was so sweet and personal (and I’ll bet they have a separate email for male customers, too). When I read it, I thought, “Yeah, me too! I love my new shoes!”

Confirmation letter from Zappos to Suzi Shopper

Of course, I ended up having to return a pair (I told you I’m hard to fit), but with the return label included with every shipment and the ease of clicking a check box online to let them know what I was returning and whether I prefer an exchange or credit, it was as advertised – hassle free.

I might have struck out this time, but based on my experience, I will certainly return to Zappos.

So, what can we learn from my Zappos customer experience?

  1. Personalize every communication. You have your customer’s name…use it.
  2. But remember that there are more ways to personalize your communication. Be conversational – it makes the experience more personal.
  3. Make lemonade. Turn what could potentially be a negative experience into a positive one by making the path to correcting an issue as painless as possible.
  4. Be consistent. With everything you do well, that is.
  5. Walk the walk. Set the expectation and deliver what is expected.

What do you do in your business to personalize your customers’ experience? What do you think you can do better or differently, based on my reaction as a consumer to the Zappos approach? We know Zappos didn’t just get lucky and stumble upon the right formula—they did their homework. How would you find out what your customers want when it comes to the buying experience?

Author: Suzanne Scanlan, Marketing Manager at ArcherPoint