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The year was 1999, and our founder Nick Swinmurn was walking around a mall in San Francisco, looking for a pair of shoes. One store had the right style, but not the right color. Another store had the right color, but not the right size. Nick spent the next hour in the mall, walking from store to store, and finally went home empty-handed and frustrated.
At home, Nick tried looking for his shoes online and was again unsuccessful. Although there were a lot of "mom and pop" stores selling shoes online, what was interesting to Nick was that there was no major online retailer that specialized in shoes. So, since it was 1999 and anything seemed possible at the time, Nick decided to quit his day job and start an online shoe retailer... and Zappos.com was born!
The original idea was to create a web site that offered the absolute best selection in shoes in terms of brands, styles, colors, sizes, and widths. Over the past 9 years, the Zappos.com brand and our aspirations have evolved, and in addition to offering the best selection, we now want to be the company that provides the absolute best service online -- not just in shoes, but in any category.
So here is our vision:
- One day, 30% of all retail transactions in the US will be online.
- People will buy from the company with the best service and the best selection.
- Zappos.com will be that company.
We believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a very important role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so at Zappos.com, we have put a lot of focus on making sure the items get delivered to our customers as quickly as possible. In order to do that, we warehouse everything that we sell, and unlike most other online retailers, we don't make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in our warehouse.
Our goal is to position Zappos as the online service leader. If we can get customers to associate the Zappos.com brand with the absolute best service, then we can expand into other product categories beyond shoes. And, we're doing just that.
Internally, we have a saying: We are a service company that happens to sell ________.
- and handbags
- and clothing
- and eyewear
- and watches
- and accessories
- (and eventually anything and everything)