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Finding Zappos’ Wow Factor: Startup Advisor Dr. Vik Joins Startup Savants

Adriaan Brits



Zappos has become synonymous with shoe shopping, but that wasn’t always the case. Like all startups, Zappos had to find its footing and develop a unique value proposition. Dr. David Vik, a former chiropractor turned startup advisor, investor, and expert, joins Startup Savants to discuss his role in the success of Zappos.

  • Startup Savants is a business podcast that tells the stories behind up-and-coming startups.
  • Dr. David Vik, a former chiropractor turned startup advisor, investor, and expert, joins Startup Savants to discuss his role in the success of Zappos. 
  • At Zappos and other companies where he has consulted, Vik strove to “deliver wow”
    and exceed customers’ expectations.

Delivering a ‘Wow Factor’

During his interview with Startup Savants, Vik noted he became a successful chiropractor by addressing many of the frustrations experienced by patients, such as long wait times and insurance company hassles. Alleviating these problems, he said, went a long way toward differentiating his practice from others.

In his second career as a startup advisor, investor, and expert, Vik said he applies the lessons he learned as a chiropractor to help companies deliver “wow factors” by not just meeting, but exceeding, customers’ expectations. “You need three unique factors to set you apart from everybody else out there,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you sell, whether it’s chiropractic or a law firm or a tech company or whatever, you have to have three unique factors.”

Zappos, the now-famous online shoe company, was one of the startups he started working with after ones of the company’s executives became a happy chiropractic patient. While working with Vik, Zappos implemented its own wow factors: speeding up delivery, offering a huge selection of shoes, and offering easy returns. “Our whole umbrella at Zappos, too, was ‘deliver wow,’” Vik said.

Finding Your Company’s ‘Wow’

Vik said during his interview that a company could add wow factors by providing extra products or services in addition to its main offering. If a business sells a product, for example, “add a little service to that product and maybe give them a little knowledge, like how to [use it] or the origin of it,” he said. “That’s what people want. That’s what Amazon does. That’s what we did at Zappos. That’s what we’ve done with other companies I’ve worked with.”

According to Vik, it’s not critical to spend a lot of time marketing wow factors. Instead, customers should just experience them, which will result in plenty of word-of-mouth advertising. It is important to state your wow factors in a clear, understandable way, preferably in six words or less. “It’s not like what the company delivers – it’s what they experience,” he said. “It has to be clearly articulated. So someone could remember it, repeat it, and tell somebody else.”

To implement wow factors, you might have to work on changing the company’s culture and vision first. “You have to have the vision and purpose, and then you have to create the culture that will support and drive the wow,” he said.

Startup Savants Podcast 

The Startup Savants podcast is a business podcast created by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC). Listeners can hear the stories behind startups, as told by their founders, who are in the midst of growing their companies.

Ethan, an entrepreneur, and Annaka, a branding expert, host the Startup Savants podcast. They bring disparate skills and life experiences to their interviews, providing listeners with important business insights and a holistic perspective on the startup ecosystem. 

Hear from a variety of real startup founders from around the globe and with varying backgrounds about making their startup ideas a reality. Learn from experts sharing their industry knowledge on venture capital, securing funding, and more on the Startup Savants podcast. 

Final Thoughts

Annaka and Ethan are joined by Dr. David Vik to discuss how he helped Zappos find its “wow factor” and his top advice for startups looking to establish their competitive edge.

You can find the Startup Savants podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. 


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