Zappos shoes on a conveyor
Zappos shoes on a conveyor

Nick Swinmurn was walking around a mall in San Francisco in 1999, looking for a pair of shoes. After an hour going from store to store, he finally went home empty-handed and frustrated.

Eight years and more than a billion dollars in sales later, Swinmurn’s online retailer Zappos.com (www.zappos.com) boasts the largest selection of shoes anywhere — online or offline. And Zappos is not stopping there. The self-proclaimed “service company that just happens to sell shoes” has expanded to bags, apparel, and accessories, and has plans to eventually sell “anything and everything.”

Zappos operates on the principle that if you focus on providing a great shopping experience instead of maximizing profits, sales growth will follow. And it’s paying off, with the Sequoia Capital-supported company recording $597 million in gross merchandise sales in 2006.

But getting an order processed, packaged, shipped, and onto your doorstep in less than 24 hours is not an easy task. It takes the right people, careful planning, and a fast, optimized order fulfillment system like the one material handling integrator Honeywell Intelligrated and London-based design and business consulting firm Arup® (www.arup.com) provided for the Zappos facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Read the full case study to learn how Honeywell Intelligrated provided an efficient automated solution for this popular online retailer’s manufacturing needs.