Monday, April 27, 2009

The New Social Engagement: A Visit to Zappos

The New Social Engagement: A Visit to Zappos

Most Mashable readers have probably heard of the online retail company, Zappos. You may have learned of them via Twitter (Twitter reviews) and count yourself among the 400,000+ people that follow the CEO, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay but who people refer to as Tony), or from a friend after she had one of the best customer experiences in her life.

No matter how you heard of them, we wager to guess that you did so through word-of-mouth. And word about Zappos has been spreading. . . . They did $3 million dollars in gross sales the day before our recent visit, and surpassed $1 billion last year. They are one of the companies forging a new era of business that emphasizes, in their words, “making personal and emotional connections.”

We visited Zappos recently, initially planning to have an hour with Tony and ended up spending the entire afternoon there interviewing not only Tony, but the in-house coach, the help desk coordinator, and many others. Once in the Zappos universe, we wanted to know, “What are they doing that is working? Why do they have a brand that is so well respected?” And, “Why does it feel so damn good to hang out with these people?”

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