Retail, online, and they love it

Here’s how to REALLY do online retail properly. KIRSTY DUNPHEY

Kirsty Dunphey

By Kirsty Dunphey

My favourite read of the day comes from Bob Nelson’s newsletter where he shares that Zappo’s, the up-and-coming women’s shoe online retailer that offers free shipping for both orders and returns, offers all employees $1500 to quit their job after they have finished the company’s initial two to four week training orientation. It’s the final test if they have hired the right employees…

Talk about money where your mouth is! I love Zappo’s dedication to getting it right.

What else is Zappo’s doing right?

Communication: Twitter shows you Zappo’s staff and even their CEO is using Twitter to communicate with and engage their customers.

Contagious culture: Each year Zappos 31 year old CEO asks each employee to write a description of the culture of the organisation. Something’s working with employees writing statements like: “Everyone at Zappos is so warm and inviting, like a nice bowl of oatmeal.”

Fan-makers: Their customer service creates fans. From the standard “customers can order shoes as late as 11 p.m. and still get next-day delivery” to the extraordinary as shown in this online testimonial:

“My wife had ordered a pair of sandals from Zappos. When they arrived, she found that they didn’t fit. She tried to order the right size, but Zappos was sold out of her size. So here’s what the company offered: she could return the sandals (for free), Zappos would refund the purchase price and they’d send her a $25 coupon toward her next purchase.

But wait — there’s more! Zappos also offered to try to locate a pair of the sandals in her size from another vendor. (Hah! Sure, they will!) Fifteen minutes later, the company called my wife and told her they’d found her sandals, in her size, at another online merchant — “and,” the Zappos clerk told her, “they’re even cheaper at this other site!”

So… in short, their staff love them, the public love them and their customers love them and wait… they sell SHOES! Seem’s like a great start to me!


Kirsty Dunphey is one of Australia’s most publicised young entrepreneurs and is the founder of – a tool to help real estate agents create advertisements. The youngest ever winner of the Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award, Kirsty started her first business at 15, her own real estate agency at 21, was a self-made millionaire at 23 and a self-made multi-millionaire at 25. For more information on Kirsty or either of her books – Advance to Go, Collect $1 Million and Retired at 27, If I can do it anyone can, or to sign up to her weekly newsletter head to:

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