I recently purchased the Teva sandals pictured here, via Zappos (which, as a side note are fantastic…I’m a bare foot guy but some times you need shoes and these are the perfect solution). The browsing and purchasing experience was pleasant and easy, but it was the post purchase that really shined. I ordered around 4pm EST. They told me the shoes would arrive in 4 to 5 business days, but at midnight I received an email saying I had been upgraded to priority shipping and they would ship much sooner; no specific time was given. The next day my shoes were on the front door., and all without any shipping fees at all. Incredible. But it gets better.

After trying them on I realized they did not fit. They felt fine most everywhere but the poor little pinky toe was taking some serious, blister inducing punishment. So I visited the Zappos site to find out what my options were. I clicked on my order and it gave a phone number to call to setup a return. It was about 11pm EST and when I called someone picked up immediately. I only had to press one number; no long series of phone menus. The woman on the other end spoke perfect English and was patient and friendly. She set me up with a new pair of shoes, the next size up, to ship the next day, with no restocking fee, no shipping fees, and no return shipping fees. And, they shipped them to me without waiting for me to ship the old ones. She walked me through printing out the return shipping label (which I didn’t need, but welcomed simply because she was so patient and helpful) and told me to ship back the other ones in the original box with the new label. My new shoes arrived 36 hrs later and fit perfectly this time. I had 14 days to return the originals.

In every aspect of customer service and product quality Zappos got it right. It’s a lesson to all of us. They just sell shoes. No great online features. No creative products or services. No amazing innovation. They have a huge line of quality shoes, at normal prices (no discounts that I could see), but with free immediate shipping and triple A customer service, they stand out of the crowd. I know where I’ll be buying my next pair of shoes from.