What Europe Can Learn from Zappos and 6pm Discount Shoes Model

The European market is actually experiencing a significant boom in the shoe sector. As per the "CBI Market Survey: The Footwear Market in the EU", the European footwear market represents one third of the total economic value of the global market. This basically means that it represents a steeper climb in production and demand than its US counterpart. There is no doubt about the fact that the shoe industry in Europe has already reached a crucial point and needs proper planning and growth to sustain its development. If the European footwear market wants to scale newer heights and reach a far more successful platform, it must follow a certain system that encourages its growth.

The footwear market is dominated by shoe merchants and entrepreneurs who create an interesting scale of demand and supply. While this equation is extremely effective in deciding which way the market should move, a simple miscalculation can bring the whole network down. The trick lies is creating effective products which cater to the myriad of tastes of the customers, while ensuring a steady supply. But every business is built on a model for expansion, and this is where the shoe and clothing brand called Zappos is going to prove beneficial to the European domain.

Zappos and 6pm Discount Shoes: A Paradigm for Europe’s Shoe Startups

Zappos was founded as an online clothing and shoe shop in Las Vegas of Nevada. But in the year of 2007, it acquired another shoe brand named 6pm.com, and thus started venturing deeper into the footwear market. Since 2007, Zappos and 6pm.com have been quite successful in building an empire in the US, with the aim to achieve better yield and after-tax profits. This model has been concluded to be foolproof, and should be utilized by the European market as well for better results. Zappos had made its business all about the customers. The company not only tried to satisfy the needs of its audience, but also factored in their financial abilities as well. They took several steps to ensure that customers would be able to get the best products for a good bargain, and thus they introduced a 6pm.com promo code which encouraged people from different income groups to become their loyal fans.

How can Zappos and 6pm.com help the European footwear market achieve consistent growth and better profits?

What can European shoe merchants and entrepreneurs learn from Zappos and 6pm?

European shoe merchants should:

1. Realize that the European footwear market is huge, bigger even than the US, and follows the rapid expansion of shopping centers in Europe.

The European footwear market has indeed a great potential. In 2008, the total consumption in EU amounted to 49 billion Euros. This is a market driven mainly by the increase of working women. In Europe, women's footwear production is almost twice as big as men's and three times higher than children's.

Five countries which included France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK were responsible for 71% of the sales. The different sectors which did really well were the evening footwear, sports shoes and casual footwear that included ballerinas and boots.

Most of these shoe brands have not only been very successful in the European market, but they have acquired a lot of recognition in other parts of the world as well. For example, the LOWA boots (which have been in production in Europe for over 80 years), are now finally available in the US. It was 6pm.com that had the idea to introduce this brand in the States because it represents high quality shoe products. This has given a huge boost to the workmanship and artistic talents in Europe, and has become an excellent opportunity for other brands to also take the lead and do something similar.

Europe shoe merchants and entrepreneurs have to realize that amidst our current eco-political affairs, open markets tend to do really well. If they are insistent on keeping their shoe business confined within a handful of countries, their business will soon die out. The best strategy here is to open up and start reaching out to distant countries and make their products available to global consumers. This way, they will have a lot more economic growth which in turn will help them to manipulate an even bigger chain of demand and supply.

2. Set Big Goals

European merchants should never be afraid of setting really big goals. Instead of starting small and ending big, it is better to start big and end even bigger. Zappos is a good model to follow in the business world. Nick Swinmurn founded Zappos in 1999. In the first year itself, it brought in a total profit of 1.6 million dollars. The board executives of Zappos then extended their big goals till 2010 and promised to turn the net value of the company to 1 billion dollars. And so far, they have been able to fulfil their goals because they stayed steady and consistent in their performance. They even got included in the list of "Fortune's Top 100 Companies to Work for". This is a great accomplishment which every European shoe company can achieve if they plan big.

3. Minimize operating costs and pass savings to customers in the form of big discounts and coupons.

Like Zappos and 6pm.com, European footwear companies should reduce operating costs and also provide good discounts like the 6pm.com promo code or the shoe buy coupon (see editor's note) to attract customers and give them a chance to save big money while buying the products they need. Zappos has a great way of handling this operation. How? They have created two websites. Zappos.com usually caters to clients who value extraordinary customer support, free returns and no shipping costs.  Zappos.com offers also a 365 days returning policy. But for customers who need better saving options, Zappos has used 6pm.com, their sister site, as a platform to offer products with deep discounts.

The shipping would not be free, and there would be only a 30 day return policy. But this has been a very effective strategy where customers can enjoy 70% discounts! 6pm.com coupon codes and deals are issued every week and are greatly sought after.  European shoe merchants should adopt this two-site model.

4. Stay down to earth and have a humble mentality

Humility and involvement in charity work is very important. The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, lives in a trailer park because he understands the value of humility. By sticking to his humble origin, he is able to maintain a sense of connection with his customers, thus making him more approachable. Also, humility is a really attractive quality in a person; in case of the CEO of Zappos, it makes him look trustworthy. If European footwear business owners displayed such nuances of their humble nature, they too can find a global appeal which will translate into better deals.


5. Practice Holacracy

In December, 2013, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh started implementing a new business model called Holacracy. As per this system, every single employee is given the chance and the creative freedom to work as an entrepreneur. This usually helps in heightening their sense of responsibility and productiveness, making them more proactive and happy. This system gives employees far more benefits than the traditional hierarchical organizational structures as it allows them to write their own paycheck and decide when they will take their vacation and for how long. Such employees tend to contribute more to the company, thus paving the way to success.

All European footwear entrepreneurs can use these five different strategies to attain their goals, and become even more significant in terms of their global importance. With per capita income increasing more than ever, European footwear market finally has a moment to shine and achieve better results than before. The Zappos and 6pm.com model will be its ultimate tool to succeed and sustain growth.

Editor's note: Zappos and 6pm.com are not the only shoe companies that Europe's shoe merchants can look up to. Shoebuy.com has a sucessful model, as well, and millions of customers have enjoyed their huge variety of styles and brands since 2000.