Uggs Stores: Zappos
Zappos advertises itself as "the Web's most popular shoe store," and it's easy to see why. Because Zappos is an independent retailer, it offers a bewildering array of shoes and boots of all types -- not to mention handbags, diaper bags, hats, eyewear, watches, socks, and various items of apparel. If you want sheepskin footwear, you can find it at Zappos.com: even within this relatively small category there are literally hundreds of options.
While the Zappos site is put together well and its categories are easy to access, its search capacity leaves something to be desired. Type in "sheepskin" and click Enter, and you're shunted to a page full of house slippers. Try "sheepskin boots" or "shearling," and you're sent to the Ugg Australia
page. While Ugg Australia's list is impressive, there's no mention of either Emu Australia
; you have to find those in their brands list. Type "Emu" or "Emu Australia" in the Search box, and you get the page for VS shoes. You really have to look hard to find Emu Australia products at all -- they're listed under Kid's Brands.
Available Brands and Styles
You can order pretty much the entire Ugg Australia footwear line from Zappos, from the fashionable elaborate sheepskin Fluff Momma
boots to the little girls' patent leather Phoebe
shoes and the rugged Men's Beacon
boots. The Emu Australia
selection is limited to nine models of sheepskin boots and shoes, all for kids, and most for little girls; the Little Sydney boots and Hayman kid's shoes are particularly fetching. As for Minnetonka
, you'll find their entire sheepskin lines for both men and women at Zappos: moccasins, slippers, boat shoes, and all. The Minnetonka Sheepskin Slipper and Twin Gore Sheepskin pull-ons are two of the stars of the Men's line; the new Minnetonka El Paso and New Alta boots are standouts for the ladies. Sorry, kids -- no Minnetonkas for you.
It's no problem ordering ugg boots from Zappos, at least once you've found what you're looking for. Zappos displays clickable images of every style, offering a separate option for each color. Each product page includes a brief description of the product, as well as a few statistics based on surveys of those who've bought the product previously. There's also a handy "multi-view" option, which lets you check out images of the shoe from all sides. Just select the size you need from a dropdown menu, then click "Add to Shopping Cart." If that size is available in the Zappos warehouse, it'll be immediately placed in your cart; otherwise, the attempt will fail. When you're done shopping, open your shopping cart -- which you can access from any page -- and click "Proceed to Checkout." You'll be prompted to create an account if you haven't already, whereupon you can go on to the actual payment page.
Payment Options & Gift Cards
Zappos.com allows you to pay for your ugg orders in two ways: either by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover) or by gift certificate. The gift certificates are available only by email, and expire within one year. If the recipient purchases something that costs less than the gift certificate's value, they can use the balance for another order, right up until the expiration date.
Zappos won't send anything internationally at this time, but as long as you're in the USA, you're in for a treat: standard 4-5 day shipping is free
to every state and territory. Expedited shipping is also available, but only in the contiguous 48: Alaska, Hawaii, and FPO/APO addresses are out of luck. One-day shipping costs an extra $25 per order; two-day shipping is $15; and either three-day or priority mail is $7 per order. That's not bad, considering what some of their competitors charge.
Just as they don't charge you anything to send your sheepskins, Zappos doesn't charge anything if you need to send them back -- at least if you ship by the standard method. If a return is necessary, you've got a full 365 days to get it done
. The footwear has to come back in the original box, in the same condition that you received it. To set the process in motion, go to your account, follow the Return Process instructions, print your return confirmation, and the print a UPS label for your package. Your most challenging task may be finding the UPS Service Center nearest you.
According to Zappos, your satisfaction is their top priority. While we've heard this before, the free and easy return process suggests they mean it. If you need customer service, click on Help from the top of any page, and you'll find online FAQs, explanations of the return and shipping policies, and ways to contact Customer Service directly. The interface is simple to use, and if you can't find the sheepskin boots you're looking for, the Customer Service phone number is highlighted on the Contact Us page.