I don’t own or buy many shoes. Recently I needed to replace a shoe and visited my previously favorite shoe store, twice (they had to get the right size from the other store, or something…) but left not satisfied. This is a really good store, but they didn’t have what I needed
Also, I found that, like salesmen everywhere, they made up stories to explain a price differential (“it’s more expensive because it has goretex”) or tried to convince me to take an ill-fitting shoe (“you can just cut the toe off the removable insert and it will be perfect.”)
Enter Zappos, which I wanted to try for a while. With their encouragement, when I couldn’t decide between two brands, I ordered both. I received them about 24 hours after I ordered them. They are both on my feet right now so I can try them in a real world environment (yeah, wearing two different brands at the same time – real world.) Once I decide, I will ship back the other paid and, with less effort, and more choice, indeed I am happier.
Zappos: huge selection, free shipping both ways, good web site, and great (although perhaps a tad too chipper) customer service. Nice. Too bad I buy shoes only once every 2 or 3 years 🙂