How Zappos.com Grew So Big So Fast – 10 Strategies Behind Their Success

Posted on August 7, 2007. Filed under: Marketing |

MarketingSherpa has a great interview with the CEO of Zappos.com the online shoe retail store. It’s a great success story and worth reading by travel marketers.

I find this one very relevant for the price driven online travel market:

-> Lesson #4. Service and selection over price

Shortly after joining the company in 2000, Hsieh had his marketing team test discounts and ecoupons for six months. What they discovered was that these tactics attracted too many price-minded, one-time customers rather than brand loyalists.

“In terms of the three major areas — service, selection and price — you can really only offer two of them at the same time,” he says. “Our brand [niche] was in service and selection.”

Unfortunately the online travel industry has painted itself into the lowest price corner ever since the beginning and it might take some time to get out of it. In the end the key success factor for any business is adding value and exceeding customer expectations. Only then price becomes less of a factor. It works for them in a very competitive market.

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2 Responses to “How Zappos.com Grew So Big So Fast – 10 Strategies Behind Their Success”

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What do you think the key is for the travel
industry to get out of that “lowest price
corner?” Where does a DMO start?

The answer to your question is found in the Lesson #4 I quoted in my post.
Service and added value are the ways out of the lowest price trap. How to apply that in a DMO environment is a question of finding those elements that make your destination special and distinct from others and for which a visitor wouldn’t mind paying a fair price, even if it’s possibly higher than elsewhere. How much higher depends on the brand value. Case in point is New York, where an average hotel room costs nearly double than the same room in a lesser known city.


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