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In honor of Pro Bono Week, we wanted to reflect on an awesome session from last month’s Challenger Summit from Zappos! resident Fungineer, Tyler Williams. Tyler spoke to us about a critical point of business that so many overlook in pursuit of profit: giving back.

Don’t just check a box

Zappos cares deeply about the people they work with and for. They’ve always been ahead of the game in terms of customer service and employee satisfaction. Time and time again, they prove that doing good is good for business. However, as Tyler pointed out, there is a huge difference between doing charity work to check off a box and really believing in giving back.

Whether it’s partnering with Soles 4 Souls to bring high quality shoes to those in need, or using Black Friday profits to fund pet adoptions across the country, charitable giving is just the Zappos way, and it has paid off for them. Customers feel more loyal to a brand they know isn’t just a greedy corporate machine. They’re much more likely to return to buy from a place they feel good about, and as anyone in retail knows, the consistently returning customer is extremely valuable and difficult to come by in this age of endless options.

Doing good makes customers feel good

Today’s consumers, millennials in particular, are driving business to ethical, sustainable businesses. In fact, Nielson’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that a whopping 73% of millennial shoppers will spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Zappos has known this for years; if people feel good contributing to your bottom line, they are far more likely to go out of their way to buy from you. Rather than lining to pockets of executives taking advantage of the system, this generation of conscious informed consumers will take their money elsewhere.

Dedication to customer service

One year, Zappos received a call on their customer service line during the holidays from a mom shopping for her son. Her son had certain physical limitations, and she couldn’t find the right products anywhere. The customer service line at Zappos is designed to go beyond just answering calls; every employee that works it is trained to solve the problems presented. Rather than just send her on her way, the team at Zappos began looking into adaptive clothing. They found this was an incredibly underserved market.

So, they leveraged their relationships with some big brands to create and sell things like easy on/off shoes, sensory-friendly clothing, pull-on pants, reversible clothing, orthotic friendly clothing, and post-surgical treatment wear. This was a business shift done solely to help out people who needed it, but some huge names took notice. Nike saw what Zappos was doing in the adaptive retail space and gave them exclusive rights to carry one of their adaptive shoes. It turned into an incredible partnership that has undoubtedly helped millions of people.

The modern shopper is more informed than ever before. They have all the information they need available at the push of a button, and they’re aware of which brands are self-serving, and which are contributing to the greater good. At Wpromote, we work with challenger brands that are pushing the boundaries of what it means to run a good business, and Zappos has certainly set the bar high.

What are your CSR initiatives for 2019? Is your business trying to change the world for the better? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let us know how doing good has been good for your business!

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