Amazon's Acquisition of Zappos
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It seems like every time I leave the country, either one of two things happens:
1) A big high-tech acquisition occurs.
2) A natural disaster or man-made incident occurs somewhere in my vicinity.My colleagues have taken to joking about not wanting to travel to other countries with me. I'm starting to think they're on to something.
Last year in Beijing, I was in the May 12th earthquake (for those of you who have been reading my blog that long, you may remember those post-earthquake posts from my hotel bar or the Beijing airport), and it was around the very same time that HP acquired EDS.
Several years ago, I was in an earthquake in Tokyo, one that happened as soon as I arrived and awakened me from a very deep asleep on the 29th floor of the ANA hotel, and one which my Japanese colleagues yawned about when I mentioned it the next day.
Then, just this week, there was the bomb threat at the airport in Warsaw on Tuesday, and on the same day unrest at the imminent closure of the Warsaw KDT shopping mall, which resulted in the closure of Maszlalowska Street and the arrival of a gang of violent protesters not happy about their forced relocation.
But rarely do both an acquisition and man-made incident both happen on the same journey.
So Amazon's acquisition of Zappos overnight was a bit of a shocker and seemingly out of nowhere.
I'm not sure what to think about it.
Though I'm not a big Zappos shopper myself, I am a big fan of the brand and the company's approach to customer service.
I've heard CEO Tony Hsieh speak at SXSW, and was simply blown away by his company's relentless focus on pleasing its customers and early adoption and training for its employees to use Twitter to help better serve customers.
Clearly, that customer service focus has paid off and Amazon will now be the primary beneficiary of the great service culture Zappos has built. (Just read some of their customer testimonials.)
I just hope that customer service culture scales -- although Amazon has never been a slouch in this area, either, and I have never had a bad Amazon customer experience in over 13 years of being their customer.
As always, ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick chimes in with a fresh and different view on a major breaking story such as this, suggesting that the new Amazon/Zappos merger is as much a supply chain story as anything.
Kirkpatrick points out that Amazon doesn't have "any warehouses as close to the UPS Worldport hub" in Louisville, Kentucky, as does Zappos, and what a wonderful place to store and push out fast-needed Amazon inventory.
At minimum, I think it's a recognition that Zappos has worked diligently to understand the user experience end-to-end, from Web domain to doorstep, and everything in between.
I hope it works, for both of them, but most importantly, for their collective customers.