Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Zappos Backlash

I received an e-mail this morning with the subject titled “OUTRAGE!” I could sense the panic and urgency in my friend’s e-mail and I knew it must be serious.

She attached a linked that revealed the following statement from

“We will no longer be promoting "Free Overnight Shipping" and we no longer will be promoting our price protection policy. Instead, we will be focusing more on our "free shipping" and our expanding selection of merchandise.”

I went on's live chat option and asked the representative about the change:

"We decided to remove our price protection policy from Zappos because we didn't feel it was consistent with our goal of focusing mainly on customer service rather than on having very deeply discounted prices," she told me. "We found that most of the customers who were using our former price protection policy would actually save even more money if we started out with deeply discounted products in the first place, which is what you will now be able to find on"

"Regarding our decision to stop advertising and promoting free overnight shipping on Zappos it was a decision to stop advertising and promoting it, not a decision to actually stop doing it. Free shipping will always exist. There's always a great chance that a lot of orders are shipped just as fast as when we did provide free overnight shipping."

But judging by the tone of the e-mail, my friend didn't like those odds. And it's evident that Zappos just turned one of their most devoted shoppers into a very angry one. The online shoe retailer had successfully recruited an enormous amount of loyal shoppers with its free overnight shipping incentive and a 110% price-match guarantee. But if the e-mail is an indication of any backlash to come, Zappos better be ready for some major damage control by making it up to customers in other ways soon.

—Samantha Murphy

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