What was the highlight in Las Vegas ? MGM Grand? Céline Dion’s concerts? ? Strip-clubs ? The Bellagio fountain ?

No! It was Zappos of course!

This company has become a model of corporate culture thanks to the genius ideas of one of its founders, Tony Hsieh.

Zappos is much more than an online shoe store. The company, which was sold in 2008 for $1.4 billion to Amazon, turned customer service into “customer experience.” This means that the level of trust, internally and externally, is so high, that customers have a strong tie to the company. How? Zappos allows for merchandise to be returned within a year from the day of purchase. That’s right. You can wear a pair of Zappos for a year, return it, and be reimbursed. Unheard of? Indeed. However, very few customers ever return their shoes.

Zappos’ main value is openness. Four times a day, they organize free tours of their corporate office. I was lucky to take part in one of them. I booked the time of the visit on the Internet. I received an email from Zappos that offered to pick me up by car anywhere in Las Vegas and to drive me back wherever I wanted. Zappos takes care of you from beginning to end—the company provides transportation, a guide, coffee and popcorn, and lets you ask every question you’d like. During the tour, employees greet you with bells and whistles, as you can see in this video.

At the end of the visit, the guide takes us to the company library, where we each receive a guidebook of Zappos’ corporate values, Tony Hsieh’s book , and you are welcome to take any book you’d like.

Martin Kuenzi, head of marketing and communication from the Salvation Army in Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary.


The customer is king, and Zappos placed the throne very high up. Would you like to see the view from up there? Do you know of other examples of “customer experience” that you could share with us?