Nice Try, Nordstrom

In my Shop It To Me alert today came the news that Nordstrom’s is now offering free shipping — including on returns.

This is likely a response to Zappos, which has achieved phenomenal sales and fierce customer loyalty — in large part for it’s free shipping policy. Not that such things are even whispers at Nordstrom.

From Nordstrom’s page:

*Free Standard Shipping does not apply to COACH items or the Westin Heavenly Bed. Offer is valid for selected merchandise purchased online and through catalog only; not valid in Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack stores or on international orders. Additional fees apply for expedited shipping and handling as indicated on item product page. For Two-Day Shipping, a charge of $15 will apply. Free Returns are not available for international orders. Nordstrom Rack Return Policy applies to all online Nordstrom Rack orders.

It’s a nice try for Nordstrom, but maybe not close enough… Zappos free shipping policy is far more positive and welcoming.

FREE Shipping:

Unlike many other web sites that have special rules and lots of fine print, Zappos.com offers free shipping on all domestic orders placed on our website, with no minimum order sizes or special exceptions.

Just because shipping is free doesn’t mean it should take a long time. Zappos.com understands that getting your items quickly is important to you, so we make every effort to process your order quickly. When you order from our website, you can expect to receive your order within 4-5 business days.

FREE Returns:

If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return your order to the warehouse for a full refund. We believe that in order to have the best possible online shopping experience, our customers should not have to pay for domestic return shipping. So if for whatever reason you’re not happy with your purchase, just go through our easy self-service return process (via My Account) to print out a free return label – your domestic shipping costs are prepaid.

(Self Service) Return Instructions

With Zappos Retail, Inc.’s 365 day return policy, there are no special catches or exceptions. All we ask is that you send the items back to us in the original packaging, and make sure that the merchandise is in the same condition.

Even after being acquired by Amazon, Zappos policies and company culture remains, well… Let’s just say it’s not the monolithic dinosaur that Nordstrom and other department stores are. (Which is a sad and ironic shame as department stores were, once upon a time, The Place for customer service.)

For more on Zappos, check out CEO Tony Hsieh’s chat with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report — you might just think it’s too good to be true, but Zappos shoppers know otherwise.

While Nordstrom’s effort is to be applauded, the company misses the mark by not adopting the more fun and indeed practical parts of shopping. This means, lingerie lovers, that if you wish to purchase lingerie online — especially when buying several sizes and brands to try on at home (where the mirrors are more friendly if only because you don’t have those icky florescent nightmare tubes of light; where that special occasion dress is; where your entire wardrobe can be tested for visible panty lines, bulging bras, etc.) — you’re probably more likely to shop for lingerie and intimates at Zappos. Right? Right.

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