If the Shoe Fits…

| December 16, 2010

ZapposA 1-million-square-foot warehouse in Shepherdsville is humming with activity this time of year as workers feverishly fill orders for online shoe retailer, Zappos.com

“It is safe to say that during (the) holiday season we will sell over a few million pairs of shoes just between Cyber Monday and our cutoff of Dec. 23,” said Anthony Vicars, director of fulfillment operations.

From the time a customer clicks “submit order” until the package is delivered, Zappos’,  “coordinator extraordinaires” (as Zappos.com refers to its workforce) are burning the candle at both ends.

To keep up with holiday demand, Zappos hires hundreds of temporary employees.

“We had a job fair recently – our goal was to hire 1,000 new employees that week, and we ended up hiring 500 on the first day,” Vicars said.

Zappos attributes efficient, quality service as a key to its rapid growth and success.

Putaway 4“Zappos is all about service. Our brand is really our culture,” Vicars said.

Zappos believes that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays an important role in whether that customer will be a return shopper. The company strives to complete orders within an hour and have purchases delivered within two days.

In order to do that, the fulfillment center’s team works 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week processing, packaging and shipping your stilettos, flats or sneakers.

“As,  soon as we get merchandise we put it on the shelves to be sold. As soon as you make a purchase, there is someone not two steps behind us pulling it for that specific order,” says Vicars.

Zappos warehouses everything it sells, and unlike most other online retailers, it doesn’t make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in the fulfillment center (no back orders here).

But it’s not all work, no play.

“We like to party!” Vicars said.

“We will definitely treat our Kentucky staff to a holiday party. Even this week we’ve had some treats for them. Anything from local artists caroling during lunch, to balloon characters, even a team from Monster Energy came in the warehouse to spread holiday cheer.”

Zappos was founded in 1991 by frustrated mall-rat turned entrepreneur, Nick Swinmurn, who was in search for a go-to shoe source with better selection and quality service. He was hard pressed for a solution – and that solution came in the form of Zappos.

The company had $1.6 million in gross sales in its second year and soon became the largest online footwear retailer in the world. Zappos was purchased by Amazon.com in November 2009 (a deal valued at $1.2 billion).

Refurb 2So why Zappos in Kentucky?

“Well in simple terms – UPS,” said Vicars.

“At one time, Kentucky was the center of it all, not geographically speaking, but for our shipping purposes. It was the only place we could find that could reach over 75 percent of the population in a matter of two days, due to UPS’ World Hub being here. Central location allows us to reach more people in less time, which is our most important goal.”

Best of all – this success story offers free shipping both ways and a one-year return policy. Maybe this really is the closest thing to the North Pole.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Cover Stories

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lauren DePaso
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.

Comments are closed.