We are definitely in a time now where the top online consumer shopping sites are trying to distinguish themselves with "VIP" services. I love VIP services. Faster shipping, dedicated customer service lines, higher quality products. VIP Services are so important in our consumer ecosystem now that we are even willing to pay more for them. Amazon Prime is the perfect example of this. We used to order a ton on Amazon. Which is why we justified getting Amazon Prime. But now, we order EVEN MORE with them because the experience is so good. It is amazing how much free 2-day shipping changes that behavior.
Today I became a Zappos VIP. I love their explination that they can offer VIP Service for free just because they don't have to pay the referral and SEM fees to drive you to their site. They clearly have done their math on the lifetime value of the customer and how much it costs to acquire me. At some point, it is cheaper to bring someone into the fold with a direct link and offer them VIP services.
Lastly, my new favorite site for shopping for t-shirts is Everlane.com. I really have liked high quality clothes but never really could wade through the stores. I would just depend on Banana Republic. However, these guys have converted me. The low prices and high quality are just amazing. The site experience is VIP. The packaging and ordering are VIP. And I'm sure, if I ever had an issue, that the customer service would be VIP as well.
We are definitely in the age of VIP Shopping.