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“Zappos: Facing Competitive Challenges” Essay

CASE:
“Zappos: Facing Competitive Challenges”
“What challenges is Zappos facing that may derail its attempt to be best online retailer? How can training and development help Zappos meet these challenges? Do you think that employees at Zappos have high levels of engagement? Why? Which of Zappos’s 10 core values do you believe training and development can influence the most? The least? Why?” The vision of Zappos is that, in future online sales will account for 30 percent of all retail sales in the United States and will be the company with best service and selection such as offer more shoes, handbags, eyewear, watches and accessories for online purchase. Zappos also believes they can become the online service leader, drawing customers and expanding into selling other product other than been offered.

They also believes that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a critical role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so it is focusing on making sure the items get delivered to customer as soon as possible. The new technology and impact of internet have large impact on all sectors of the economy. Their main objectives are to help customers easy shopping, and every pair of shoes in inventory of total 58,000 pairs is pictured at 8 different angles. They also will do best service to their customer, and to make it happened and to ensure fast delivery, Zappos located its warehouses next to UPS’ airports and make them work 24 hours daily, 7 days per weeks. Zappos also come out with other business strategis such as free return which is no successful examples before in E-shoe retailing because it’s too easy to buy the wrong shoes and they need to relief customers’ discomposure as well as minimize the cost.

The founder of Zappos, Xie designed E-mail system for Zappos to automatically reply customers’ e-mail of return requests. Zaopps also paid $100 millions as a shipping cost for all returns and redeliveries. Training can play a key role in helping companies especially internet base business company gain a competitive advantage and successfully deal with competitive challenges. The WOW service training and development core value can influence the most from others. It is because they are encouraging their workers to be different from others, practices help to perpetuate their company culture. The Zappos have high levels of engagement and also least engagement because they have their own core values. Zappos have their own core values that shaped them with their company’s culture, brand and business strategy.

These are the ten core values:  Deliver WOW Through Service

WOW is such a short, simple word, but it really encompasses a lot of things. To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. They are not an average company, their service is not average, and they don’t want their people to be average. Whether internally with co-workers or externally with their customers and partners, delivering WOW results in word of mouth. The philosophy at Zappos is to WOW with service and experience, not with anything that relates directly to monetary compensation (for example, they don’t offer blanket discounts or promotions to customers).  Embrace and Drive Change

For some people, especially those who come from bigger companies, the constant change can be somewhat unsettling at first. It’s mean that, if you are not prepared to deal with constant change, then you probably are not a good fit for the company. All must learn not only to not fear change, but to also embrace it enthusiastically and perhaps even more importantly, to encourage and drive it. They must always plan for and be prepared for constant change. Although change can and will come from all directions, it’s important that most of the changes in the company are driven from the bottom up — from the people who are on the front lines and closest to the customers and/or issues. Zappos never accept or be too comfortable with the status quo because, historically, the companies that get into trouble are the ones that aren’t able to respond quickly enough and adapt to change. At the same time, they are not evolving, never be at far behind from their competitors.  Create Fun and A Little Weirdness

One of the things that make Zappos different from a lot of other companies is that they value being fun and being a little weird. Zappos don’t want to become one of those big companies that feel corporate and boring. They want to be able to laugh at themselves and look for both fun and humor in daily work.This means that many things they do might be a little unconventional — or else it wouldn’t be a little weird. They want the company to have a unique and memorable personality. One of the side effects of encouraging weirdness is that it encourages people to think outside the box and be more innovative. When they combine a little weirdness with making sure everyone is also having fun at work, it ends up being a win-win for everyone: Employees are more engaged in the work that they do, and the company as a whole becomes more innovative.  Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded

Zappos do not want people to be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. They believe if people aren’t making mistakes, then that means they’re not taking enough risks. Over time, Zappos want everyone to develop his/her gut about business decisions (decision-making skills). They also never want to become complacent and accept the status quo just because that’s the way things have always been done. They should always be seeking adventure and having fun exploring new possibilities. By having the freedom to be creative in our solutions, we end up making our own luck. They approach situations and challenges with an open mind and freely to think outside the box.  Pursue Growth and Learning

It’s important to constantly challenge and stretch yourself and not be stuck in a job where you don’t feel like you are growing or learning. Zappos believed that inside every employee is more potential than even the employee himself/herself realizes. Their goal is to help employees unlock that potential. But it has to be a joint effort: you have to want to challenge and stretch yourself in order for it to happen.  Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication

Their value strong relationships in all areas: with managers, direct reports, customers (internal and external), vendors, business partners, team members, and co-workers. Strong, positive relationships that are open and honest are a big part of what differentiates Zappos from most other companies. Strong relationships allow them to accomplish much more than they would be able to otherwise. A key ingredient in strong relationships is to develop emotional connections. It’s important to always act with integrity in your relationships, to be compassionate, friendly, loyal, and to make sure that you do the right thing and treat your relationships well.

The hardest thing to do is to build trust, but if the trust exists, you can accomplish so much more. In any relationship, it’s important to be a good listener as well as a good communicator. In order for someone to feel good about a relationship, he/she must know that the other person truly cares about them, both personally and professionally. At Zappos, they embrace diversity in thoughts, opinions, and backgrounds. For example, the more widespread and diverse your relationships are, the bigger the positive impact you can make on the company, and the more valuable you will be to the company. It is critical for relationship-building to have effective, open, and honest communication.  Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit

Zappos want to create an environment that is friendly, warm, and exciting. Encouraging diversity in ideas, opinions, and points of view. The best leaders are those who lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. They believed that, in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those who are on the front lines and closest to the issues and/or the customers. The role of a manager is to remove obstacles and enable his/her direct reports to succeed. This means the best leaders are servant-leaders.

They serve those they lead. The best team members take initiative when they notice issues so that the team and the company can succeed. The best team members take ownership of issues and collaborate with other team members whenever challenges arise. They are more than just a team though – they are a family. They work together, but they also play together. Their bonds go far beyond the typical “co-worker” relationships found at most other companies.  Do More With Less

Working hard and putting in the extra effort to get things done. They need to continuously innovate as well as make incremental improvements to operations, always striving to make themselves more efficient, always trying to figure out how to do something better. Always use mistakes as learning opportunities.  Be Passionate and Determined

They value passion, determination, perseverance, and the sense of urgency. They are inspired because we believe in what they are doing and where they are going. Zappos don’t take “no” or “that’ll never work” for an answer because if they had, then Zappos would have never started in the first place.  Be Humble

Zappos believe that no matter what happens they should always be respectful of everyone. For example, while they celebrate their individual and team successes, they are not arrogant nor do they treat others differently from how they would want to be treated Zappos manage professional skills of call in service, and try to create free and easy shopping atmosphere to customers. Thus, customer representatives are required to perform cleverly and humorously in couple of hours. Zappos has its own special method to look for those qualified employees.

Professional 4-week training program, make employees aware of company’s strategy, culture, and customer devotion .After the first week of training program, “deal no deal” time – offer $1000 to ask trainees to quit. About 10% new employees choose to deal. The idea here is that Zappos take initial cost to instead of long term investment, and try to identify the matchingness between company value and employees’ individual value. References:

R.A. Noe, “Employee Training and Development”, McGraw-Hill International Edition, Singapore, 2010. www.zappos.com


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