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Outside the Walls: My Zappos Visit

by Gina 06/04/2009

 Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest Interactive and I happened to listen to the podcast.  In his keynote he reiterated that Zappos offers free tours of their company and that a shuttle will even pick you up from the airport. With my economy ticket in hand, I flew off to Las Vegas to see what I could learn.


The shuttle picked me up right on time from the airport. I couldn’t miss it. It was completely wrapped in Zappos branding. As I entered the building, I was again welcomed by a friendly staff. As I looked at the rotating LCD screen, I noticed my name appear as part of a “Welcome Today’s Tour Guests” message. The LCD rotates information such as birthdays, WOW employee of the day and even what the daily sales are so far. It would have been even cooler if the LCD was a Sony….


I couldn’t help but notice the “Reply to All” board in the lobby. It’s a sort of public humiliation for employees who hit “Reply All” to company announcements. Thankfully there were only a few people posted. As the tour continues, each department greets you in a unique way. The fashion merchandisers called themselves the “paparazzi” as they played runway music and took digital photos of you as you walked by. The children’s department waved pom-poms in the air as they played the theme song to the Peanuts.


As you proceed down the hall (tours display a “tour flag”), T-shirts of sales records are framed on the walls as are the merchandising team’s gold records for hitting goals. Cubes are decorated in circa start-up style and you have to look close to locate Tony’s desk as it’s certainly not in an office.


You might be thinking why I’d go to Zappos let alone blog about it. I went to not only see the unique workspace I’ve read about but I was also interested in learning more about how they assist customers in an effort to continuously improve our own customer experience.   One of thier key themes is to bring the “Wow” factor which got me thinking. When have I said “wow”?

Watching odd internet videos

Spotting amazing homes

Witnessing a random act of kindness of someone truly going above and beyond 

So for you, I have two questions. When have you said “Wow”? And as a Sony Style customer, what does “Wow” mean to you?  


I posted photos of the tour on our Flickr page

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