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Internet Technology, Marketing and Security

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Internet Technology, Marketing and Security

Instructor: Professor John Kitoko

Business 508: Contemporary Business

Zappos.com was birthed in 1999, by founder Nick Swinmurn. One day he was walking around a mall in San Francisco looking for a pair of shoes. He either found the right style, but wrong color; or the right color and not the right size. After a couple of hours he went home empty handed and frustrated. He then began looking for shoes online and again was unsuccessful. He soon found it interesting that there was no major online retailer that specialized in shoes, so he decided to quit his daily job and start an online shoe retailer....and Zappos.com was born ("In the Beginning", n.d).

The original idea was to create a web site that offered the best selection of shoes in terms of brands, styles, colors, sizes and widths. The aspirations have evolved and in addition to offering the best selection, the goal is to be the company that provides the absolute best service online- not just in shoes, but in any category.

So the vision is:

* One day, 30% of all retail transactions in the US will be online

* People will buy form the company with the best service and best selection

* Zappos.com will be that online store ("In the Beginning", n.d).

In July 2009, Zappos.com, Inc. announced its plan to join the Amazon.com, Inc. family. By 2010, Zappos had grown so much that there was no need to restructure the company so that they could continue to offer customers the very best service possible. O n May 1, 2010, Zappos was restructured into separate companies under the Zappos Family Umbrella.

Zappos' goal is to position itself as the online service leader. The goal is to associate Zappos brand with the absolute best service, they can then expand into other areas.

1. Describe and evaluate a major corporations website in these four areas: (1) product information, (2) corporation's contact information, (3) customization of products for customers, and (4) customer information at purchase.

Zappos.com is very thorough in its website execution. Products range from clothing and accessories to kitchen and bath products, as well as beauty products. Since Zappos only offers online shopping it has taken great care to ensure that their customer's shopping experience is easy and convenient. All products are categorized and sub-categorized. A shopper can search based on specific categories or based on gender specific items. For example, shoes can be used as a category and then divided based on gender and then style; or you can use women's as a category and then choose clothing, shoes or accessories as a sub-category, with even these being sub-divided. Every item has a color picture, a product description and the price. The description even gives the material content of the clothes, important measurements and product care instructions for washing and cleaning. They even give the measurements of the models wearing the item in the picture, to be used as a comparison of how it may fit on the consumer.

Zappos. Corporate contact information such as the company address is only available if you log on Zappos Development, Inc. The address is not available on the sales website. However you can link to the sales website from the Zappos Development Inc. site. S n The only contact information available on the Zappos.com website is the customer service phone number which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and customers also have the opportunity to email customer service or do live help chat online.

Products through Zappos.com are not customized for each individual customer. The company offers an assortment of products from which customers can make their purchasing choice. The products shown online are only those that are available in stock. Zappos does not advertise an item that is not in stock, this helps to ensure products are ready for shipment and a timely delivery.

In order to make a purchase on Zappos.com it is necessary to register with the company. Linking to the registration area brings customers to what appears to be a secure and encrypted site ("Register for a Zappos.com", n.d). The information asked is name, email address and a password to login during the checkout process on the site. Customers are also able to store their shipping address and primary payment information, such as a credit card number. While this may be convenient to have the information readily available so customers do not have to enter it for every transaction; we have to consider if the benefit outweighs the possible risk.

2. Describe and evaluate three (3) of the corporation's Internet marketing strategies and the competitive advantages its Website provides.

Zappos.com core strategy is focusing on customer service. Their motto is that "customers are kings" (Kam, 2009). Zappos strategy is to go out of their way to help solve the customer's needs and befriend them to retain their loyalty. Zappos customer service is a big part of their success and helps to differentiate them from other businesses. They also offer a 365 day return policy, free shipping both ways and a call center that is always open; which helps dominate their niche with customer service.

These help to distinguish Zappos.com from its competitors. Focusing on customer service and issues that are important to the consumer is what helps to differentiate Zappos from the rest of the market. Having a whole year to make a return seem impractical from a business perspective, but it builds loyalty

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