This week it was announced that Zappos was being acquired by Amazon for about $800 million+ in Amazon stock. For a shoe gal like myself, this is HUGE. It also happens to generate a bit of consternation within me. Although I love Amazon and couldn’t live without it, Zappos has always stood alone in a class by itself. How do I love thee, Zappos? Let me count the ways… Zappos has HANDS DOWN the best customer service out there. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve called customer service to ask for a price match (back in the days when it was being offered) and the super friendly voices that didn’t judge me for calling. As a VIP Zappos member, I love the free overnight delivery service – it’s the closest to instant gratification I can think of. Of course, the painfree, whopping 365 day return policy is wonderful for a procrastinator and indecisive person like me. Finally, some of the revenue we generate to keep this site running is through Zappos.
The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, who I love for his honesty, integrity, and openness, greatly placates my anxiety by stating:
For Zappos, our vision remains the same: delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors. We just want to get there faster…
A big part of the reason why Amazon is interested in us is because they recognize the value of our culture, our people, and our brand. Their desire is for us to continue to grow and develop our culture (and perhaps even a little bit of our culture may rub off on them).
They are not looking to have their folks come in and run Zappos unless we ask them to. That being said, they have a lot of experience and expertise in a lot of areas, so we’re very excited about the opportunities to tap into their knowledge, expertise, and resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Zappos brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today.
But I’m still left wondering what the deal has in store for shoe buyers like myself. Even if customer service remains top notch, I wonder, since Amazon owns Endless, Shopbop, and now Zappos, what will happen with regards to shoe pricing. Will Amazon have more leverage with shoe brands and bring us better pricing or is there now a semi-monopoly where they can actually set the pricing standards? Will they blow the boutique shoe stores away ala Walmart did with the mom and pop stores? And what about shoe selection? Will the number of shoe brands be more limited or will each online store have the ability to make their own purchases? Only time will reveal the answers to these questions and maybe more. In the meantime, I will remain cautiously optimistic with Tony at the helm.
So now that I’ve given you a run down of my thoughts, I’d love to hear your opinions on this acquisition. Tell me, what do you think of Amazon’s latest purchase?