Thursday, November 13, 2008

Piperlime: A brand I love

Searching online recently for the best price on a pair of Tom’s shoes, I came across a site called Piperlime. I noticed that the site was connected to the websites of the Gap and Banana Republic, which turned out to be because all three are owned by the same parent company. This came as a surprise to me; I had no idea the Gap operated an e-commerce site that sold other brands of footwear and accessories.

The Piperlime site itself had an excellent, intuitive interface. A variety of pictures from different angles were available for each shoe, all of which could be zoomed in on with no loss in picture quality. I was sold. But before confirming my order, I did a quick search on to see if any coupons were available for Piperlime. And indeed there were; just like that, I got an extra 20% off my purchase. Between the coupon and Piperlime’s free shipping (and free return shipping, if necessary) I spent only $28 and change for the shoes, which cost at least $8 more on other websites. Within minutes I had an email confirmation of my order.

A couple days later, I got another email announcing that my shoes had been shipped, and would arrive in 4-9 business days. To my surprise, they arrived the next day. Inside the box, I found the Tom’s box, wrapped in tissue paper fastened with a Piperlime logo sticker. The interior of the shipping box itself was decorated with a pattern of Piperlime logos, and all the paperwork was tucked neatly into a small green folder made of cardstock. A note from Piperlime thanked me for my purchase, and instructed me how to use the return shipping label if I wasn’t satisfied.

From top to bottom, I was completely blown away by my shopping experience with Piperlime. From the cheery name and logo to the consistent brand identity throughout all consumer touchpoints, Piperlime does everything right. They make the buyer feel happy and appreciated, setting the stage for future purchases. In an era in which customer service is all but dead, it’s great to see a company that takes it so seriously.

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