Zappos vs. – The Ultimate Showdown

Posted On March 28, 2015 at 6:54 pm by / 1 Comment

Zappos vs.

With so many choices available in the online space, it can be difficult to find the best site for a particular product. Today we will focus on two ecommerce shoe sites, and Zappos.

Brands and Selection for Women

Zappos has had a strong competitive advantage since it was purchased by Amazon in July of 2009. With the power of the online ecommerce giant, Zappos has vast access to a wide variety of brands and styles. Even though Zappos today remains wholly owned by Amazon, the company is operated independently.

Today, Zappos sells a wide variety of accessory and clothing, but their shoe lines remain popular with customers. Featuring boots designed by Raine, Rosemont Chelsea and Getter 2, loafers designed by Nine West, French Connection and Cole Haan, and the ultra chic line of slides made by Diani, Malaga and Buenaventura, Zappos has a full range of footwear for even the most discriminating shoe customer.

DSW, formerly the Designer Shoe Warehouse, started out in the brick and mortar business, providing designer footwear at discount prices to customers in the Midwest. Entering late into the game, DSW launched their first ecommerce site in 2008. That being said, they have worked quickly to bring their vast line of attractively priced footwear to the online space.

Today, DSW’s online catalog contains a wide variety of shoes and footwear for any occasion, including specialty niches such as Work and Safety products. An examination of their website will see that they have a full range of brand-name products, particularly designers in the mid-range, sold at competitive prices. Whether you’re shopping for a Birkenstock sandal, a Lucky Brand ballet flat, or a BCBGeneration heel, DSW carries an extensive catalog of brands and designers.

Brands and Selection for Men

Like most footwear retailers, the emphasis is on shoe lines for women. But Zappos has an impressive line of footwear for men, whether it’s comfortable Columbia lace-ups, Nike athletic shoes, or hand-tooled leather cowboy boots from Laredo. Much of Zappos’ shoe line is tailored at a certain segment of the men’s shoe market, ranging from stylish but casual shoes to full-on military or hiking boots. Although dress shoes and formal footwear are available, there is a much wider variety to be found for weekend and off-duty wear.

DSW certainly occupies a similar niche as its online competitor, but their catalog has a wider range of more professional outdoor footwear, including boots for occupational needs, rain and snow. Not to be outdone in the casual footwear department, DSW sells a wide range of weekend shoes, including loafers, slip-ons and boat shoes. Although a healthy selection of athletic and sports shoes are on offer, DSW has a stronger emphasis on weekend and off-time casual shoes by such legendary designers as Mercanti Fiorentini, Ralph Lauren and Bass.

Brands and Selection for Kids

Zappos has a full catalog of shoes for kids of all ages, including newborns and infants. While the focus is on active and ambulatory bigger children, Zappos does have several thousand shoe models available for toddlers and babies.

While the ubiquitous athletic or sport shoe is the central focus of Zappos’ offerings for children, they do also stock an extensive line of sandals, boots and flats. Particularly impressive are the niche categories, including a lovely line of children’s footwear suitable for formal occasions such as a wedding.

DSW similarly stocks a wide range of brand-name athletic and sporting footwear. But their catalog slews towards a slightly higher end shoe, including delightful lines from Nine West and Kenneth Cole for elegant children’s footwear. While DSW’s catalog is lacking some depth in children’s shoe choices, all of the standard categories are represented with many products offered at very competitive prices.


Zappos offers free shipping for every order delivered in the United States. No registration or pre-qualification is necessary.

DSW offers free shipping on all domestic orders of $35 of more. Members of their DSW Rewards Premier program get free shipping on all orders.


Zappos offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If products are returned unused, customers will receive a full refund. Free return shipping is offered.

DSW offers refunds for products returned within 60 days of purchase. Products can be returned in a DSW store or via return shipping. DSW charges a shipping fee of $8.50 for items returned for refund.

Customer Service

Zappos reports that it receives approximately 5,000 telephone calls a month, and approximately the same amount of emails per week. When the company’s directors agreed to the Amazon buy-out, they stipulated that customer service calls have no time limits, a policy designed to help enhance the customer service experience.

Both Zappos and DSW have a very active presence on social media, and strive to work with customers on a real-time basis.

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One thought on “Zappos vs. – The Ultimate Showdown

  1. I think Zappos is way better than DSW, just my personal preference though. They have a great selection of products and awesome customer service.

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