Shopping Experience 101: What Customers Really Want?

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Shopping Experience

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Have you ever wondered why your favorite stores are your all the time places whenever you shop? Is it because of the great experience you have there? Stores use this common strategy, and it works: 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. 

To help you take the first step in this journey, we'll dive into what makes a shopping experience exceptional. From personalized service to seamless checkout processes, discover the key factors that keep customers returning and how stores are evolving to meet these expectations. Now, let's begin with reasons why you should focus more on Shopping Experience.

Why Is the Shopping Experience Important?

Why Is the Shopping Experience Important?

The term is quite straightforward: providing excellent customer experiences helps make customers happy. But how can customers' happiness support your business? Here is why:

Providing excellent customer experiences isn't just about making people happy—it's essential for your business. Happy customers are loyal customers, and even little increases in client retention can substantially impact profitability. These satisfied customers can become your biggest fans, then telling positive word-of-mouth about your brand to everyone else.

A positive customer experience sets your brand apart in a crowded market, attracting and retaining customers amidst the noise. The outcome can lead to better reviews, social media buzz, and increased brand awareness. Then, the fame for quality and trust can become your brand's outstanding point.

Additionally, happy customers require less support, reducing the workload for your customer service team and saving valuable resources. When customers are happy, employees are happier too. Satisfied customers mean less stress and fewer complaints for your team, creating a positive work environment

This feeling of achievement and shared goals lifts employees' spirits and encourages them to give their best for customers. In the end, all time and effort keeping customers happy isn't just good for them—it’s great for your company and everyone involved.

What Creates a Shopping Experience?

What Creates a Shopping Experience?

When you're shopping, whether online or in a store, three key things affect how you feel about the experience:

1. Environment

Where you shop can make a big difference in how you feel about the experience. Physical stores need to think carefully about how they set things up and what the atmosphere is like. If a store is well-organized and easy to move around, it can make shopping much less frustrating and keep people moving smoothly.

Stores can also make the experience more interesting by adding music, good lighting, and pleasant smells that match their brand. Think of it like decorating your home—you want it to feel welcoming and comfortable. Offering exceptional services like personalization, gift wrapping, or hosting fun events can excite people to return.

And even online, how a website looks and how easy it is to find what you need matters. It's like having a well-organized virtual store where everything is easy to find and looks nice.

2. Customer Service

Good customer service is significant in how you feel about shopping and what you think of a brand. In physical stores, having friendly and helpful staff makes a huge difference. They're there to guide, advise, and help quickly if needed. When problems are sorted out smoothly, and you feel like they're paying attention to you, it builds trust and makes you feel good about the brand.

Good customer service matters a lot, even online. If you reach out for help through chat, email, or social media, getting a quick response is critical to feeling taken care of.

3. Convenience

Making shopping easy can sway people's decisions when considering buying something. According to a survey by PYMNTS, 61.6% of customers chose convenience as the most crucial factor in grocery shopping.

When it comes to shopping in person, the location of your store is vital. Because online shopping is so convenient, people are less likely to visit a store. So, it's essential to pick a spot that's easy to get to and where many people pass by.

Once people are in your store, ensure it's set up well. Everything must be well-stocked and easy to find. Little extras like comfy seating, clean bathrooms, and baskets or carts can make a big difference, too. Nobody likes waiting in long lines, so keep the checkout process quick and smooth.

Shopping online has its perks, but being unable to see or try things can be a drawback. To help people feel more confident about buying, provide them with lots of information about the products, good pictures, and reviews from other customers. Fast, cheap shipping with tracking and a no-fuss return policy can also help seal the deal.

Factors Affecting a Customer’s Shopping Experience

Factors Affecting a Customer’s Shopping Experience

So, what makes a customer's shopping experience tick? Well, there are essentially four key aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Availability and quality of products: Customers want to find what they need and want it to be good. Having various products available and ensuring they meet quality standards is crucial for a positive experience.
  2. Pricing and value for money: We all love a good deal, don't we? Customers are no different. They want to feel like their money's spent in the right place, so offering attractive prices and value along deals is essential.
  3. Accessibility and location of the store: As mentioned, convenience is vital. Customers tend to choose stores that are easy to get to and navigate. No matter if it is online or in store, accessibility is really important in creating the shopping experience.
  4. Personalization and tailored recommendations: Feeling understood and valued makes all the difference. Providing personalized recommendations and experiences shows customers that you care about their needs and preferences, elevating their shopping journey.

These factors could be a double-edged sword if misused. In order to make full use of it, we'll share some tips and tricks in the next part to improve your customers' shopping experience.

6 Tips to Improve the Shopping Experience

Here are 6 valuable tips to enhance the shopping experience and make an outstanding impression on your customers in the long run.


1. Empower Your Staff

Empower Your Staff

(Image Source: X.com)

First and foremost, prioritize the well-being of your employees. Happy employees create happy customers. You should make sure that your team knows they always have their back supported, especially the employees connect directly with customers. 

When your team feels happy and valued, they're in a better position to provide outstanding service. Here's how you can empower them:

  • Get Everyone Involved in Customer Service: Customer care isn't just for a select few—it's a team effort. Whether on the sales floor or behind the scenes, every team member makes customers feel valued and satisfied.
  • Keep Everyone in the Loop: Consistency is critical to a great customer experience. Support your employees to keep informed about product and news so that they can effectively help direct and online clients.
  • Give Your Team the Tools They Need: Providing your staff with resources like a customer service script can boost their confidence and professionalism when interacting with customers. Training lessons on positive communication skills should also be delivered to empower your team to handle customer needs with ease.

Always remember that your employees connect directly with your customers. They are your brand's face. That's the reason why you should prioritize the employees needs and support their growth—they're essential to your business's success.

2. Think About the Entire Customer Journey

It's also important to step back and see your customers' entire journey when interacting with your company. Here's why it's essential to do this:

  1. Understanding the Customer's Path: Customer journey mapping means showing every step and point where a customer interacts with your business. All helps you see customers' needs, feelings, and wants at each journey point.
  1. Identifying Pain Points and Opportunities: By turning this into a big picture, you can pinpoint areas where customers might have trouble or feel unhappy. These insights allow you to make necessary enhancements to improve their experience and make them happier.
  1. Matching Your Work with What Customers Want: Mapping the customer journey helps ensure that what you operate and deliver matches what customers expect. When you do this right, you can enhance communication, efficiency, and overall customer experiences.
Example of a Starbucks Customer Journey map

Example of a Starbucks Customer Journey map (Source: Medium.com)


Key Components of the Customer Journey:

  • Awareness: How customers first know your brand or product
  • Research and Consideration: The process of researching information and evaluating options
  • Decision Making: The point at which customers decide to make a purchase
  • Purchase: The actual transaction or conversion
  • Post-Purchase Experience: Customer interactions and experiences after buying
  • Loyalty and Advocacy: Building long-term relationships and encouraging repeat purchases.

3. Make your Checkout Process Seamless

Nobody enjoys waiting in line, and they shouldn't have to! Plenty of ways to make your checkout process smoother and more enjoyable for customers.

Firstly, consider scheduling shopping appointments and ensuring customers respect social distancing. Make sure you have enough staff on hand to keep things moving efficiently. It's essential to mark your checkout lines and provide guidance on where customers should stand to avoid disruptions.

If you have a cloud-based POS system, equip your staff with iPads to assist customers with checkout anywhere in the store. Remember, the checkout experience is your last chance to leave a positive impression on customers, which can influence their future visits.

Here are some tips for your staff to make the checkout experience even better:

  • Communicate your store policies clearly to every customer.
  • Offer a small gift to paying customers as a token of appreciation.
  • Handle declined cards discreetly to avoid any embarrassment.
  • Remember to ask for feedback to improve your checkout process continually.

Lastly, checkout is an excellent opportunity to collect valuable customer data. Invest in a reliable POS system to ensure your staff and customers a seamless and efficient experience.

Click here to find more information about POS Systems.

4. Personalized Customer Experience

Tailoring your customer service is a practice that's becoming increasingly important. Studies show that 80% of customers are more inclined to purchase from businesses that provide personalized experiences. Building lasting connections with customers involves getting to know them personally.

While some customers prefer face-to-face interactions, implementing an omnichannel loyalty program can help you track their preferences and purchases. This program allows you to understand their buying habits and brand preferences and offer rewards that matter to them.

However, personalizing the customer experience goes beyond just offering exclusive deals. Here are some simple ways your staff can make interactions more personal:

  • Provide contactless options for customers who prefer it.
  • Concentrate on fulfilling the needs of the customer right in front of you.
  • Use customers' names and introduce employees to create a friendly atmosphere.
  • Remember to celebrate your customers' birthdays, show your care. 
  • Always strive to go above and beyond to exceed their expectations.

5. Maintaining Reliable Customer Support

Maintaining Reliable Customer Support

As you might experience, customer service that makes you feel trustful starts typically with just some regular communication. You should also regularly inform your customers about any changes in your store or new deals. It can be through emails or website announcements, staying connected ensures customers are prepared for changes, like introducing appointment shopping.

To do that, multi-channels are required when interacting with your customers. With continuous experience in-store, online, and on social media, you make their journey smooth and show them reliable service. This increases trust and keeps customers coming back. 

All of these activities come to a final stage called building a community. Creating a sense of belonging around your brand is critical. It can be hosting special events, personalized interactions, or online chats, it helps improve the relationships and trust formed through consistent service. This closeness encourages loyalty and turns customers into brand advocates.

6. Put yourself in your Customers’ Shoes

Position you as a customer of your store, how would you feel? Is it like how you expect? That might be what customers feel. Think about what they want and need when they shop:

  • Can I easily find what I'm looking for?
  • Is the information clear and helpful?
  • Is the checkout process smooth and fast?

Whether they're stressed about finding the perfect outfit for a special event or tired after a long day, having excellent interpersonal skills is vital in retail. The more you understand and empathize with your customers' emotions, the more enjoyable their shopping experience will be.

However, not everything you assume is exactly what customers want; conversely, not every consumer's desire suits you or your business. It really depends. Try to analyze from multiple perspectives, and you will find the most appropriate way tailored just for you.


8+ Ways to Enhance Online Shopping Experience

Now that we've been through the basic knowledge, let's find out some tactics to improve the online buying experience, satisfy customers, and attract new ones.

1. Create Interactive Pages

Create Interactive Pages

To create a great shopping experience, interactive pages are not exceptional. They encourage users to engage by clicking, filling out forms, or answering questions.

Here are some examples of interactive material you might include on your website:

  • Micro-interactions: hover effects and hotspots on images
  • Dynamic Scrolling: injecting instant movement
  • Video and Image sections: draw a visual story
  • 3D Elements or 360° Product Views: virtually rotate and zoom
  • AR Try-On Features: try on the product virtually
  • Interactive Guides: response to user input, recommend perfect fit

These tools boost user engagement and provide valuable data for your sales team. For example, a sportswear site could use an interactive size guide asking, “How much would you spend on a full football uniform set?” Based on their answer, you can suggest the best options within their budget. Pretty cool, right?

This is why specialized tools are designed to help you tailor these interactive pages. EComposer—Top Drag & Drop Shopify Page Builder—can assist by customizing your store design without any knowledge of coding, ensuring each visitor has an engaging and personalized experience.

EComposer—Top Drag & Drop Shopify Page Builder

EComposer not only offers stunning pre-designed templates such as interactive landing pagesappealing homepages, or 3D product pages,... but also includes exceptional elements to boost customer interaction. From clicking buttons to filling out forms, it enhances user engagement.

If you haven’t had a Shopify account yet, seize the opportunity to benefit from a special offer: only $1 for the first month for all plans to experience Shopify from A-Z.

2. Offer Multiple Payment and Contract Options

Virtual stores enable you to reach diverse audiences wherever you operate, accommodating various payment preferences. While physical stores might accept cash, debit or credit cards, or coupons, e-commerce platforms offer even more options.

With e-commerce, you can introduce alternative payment methods such as:

  • Financial services like Stripe, PayU, or PayPal (tailored to your customers' locations)
  • Freemium business models
  • One-click payment systems
  • Free demos
  • Cash on delivery
  • Installment payments

3. Showcase Success Stories

To have potential consumers' trust and direct them to make decisions, you should share success stories from the previous customers who have utilized your product. The outcomes are like proofs to show that your business has successfully helped others and can do the same for new customers.

Gather positive feedback and results from your current customers. Highlight the most compelling stories in a dedicated section on your website. This will help address any concerns or doubts potential customers might have.

For example, we published real showcases of our customers' real pages built by EComposer, which have positive outcomes and outstanding features. 


4. Use Big Data for Personalization

Use Big Data for Personalization

In today's digital world, we have access to an incredible amount of information about our customers, which is constantly updated hourly. It's important to organize and utilize this data to make informed decisions!

Personalizing based on data means creating special, individual offers and predicting what customers will do next. It's like tailoring suggestions and deals specifically to match what certain groups of people are interested in.

Big Data plays a big part in all of this. It helps us gather and analyze loads of different information quickly, so we can really understand our customers and offer them exactly what they want in real-time.

5. Start a Blog to Connect with Customers

If you've been following the Content Marketing Institute blog, you know we're big fans of Content Marketing. It's a strategy that's not only cost-effective, saving you 62% compared to traditional marketing, but also delivers about three times more leads.

Among all the digital channels out there, blogs really shine. They're like your own little corner of the internet, separate from social media, and they're crucial for growing any business, whether it's online or brick-and-mortar.

Here's a stat for you: Brands that make blogging a priority experience 13 times greater ROI compared to those that don't prioritize it, all thanks to their smart Inbound Marketing efforts. They achieve this by sticking to editorial calendars and doing thorough keyword research that's relevant to their business

With a blog, you have the chance to regularly share all sorts of content – educational, informative, promotional – you name it. It helps put positive impacts on your brand's visibility and helps you build a strong relationship with your audience, easing any doubts they may have about buying from you.

6. Focus on Visual Content

Focus on Visual Content

While written content is a great starting point for your content strategy, visual content has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its affordability and wide reach.

According to over 50% of marketing experts, visual images and videos are the most crucial content format for their businesses. When mixing up your content with various formats, you can attract new audiences and keep your existing ones engaged.

Whether it's images, videos, infographics, or simulations, including visual content in your strategy diversifies your approach and ensures you're not relying solely on one option.

Plus, visual content is excellent at grabbing people's attention and helping them better understand the content or products you're offering.

7. Maintain Brand Consistency

Your brand identity is a treasure trove, much like the iconic names such as Disney, Apple, or Starbucks.

With elements like logos, colors, storytelling, and the shopping experiences they offer, these brands effectively communicate their values to customers. Happy customers keep coming back for more and enthusiastically recommend their services to others.

Visual identity is key in helping customers recognize, differentiate, and remember your brand amidst competition. Achieving this becomes easier when you build trust with users through a delightful content experience.

By linking your brand with positive online or offline shopping experiences, you establish a meaningful connection with your customers.

8. Provide Excellent After-Sales Service

Provide Excellent After-Sales Service

Creating an unforgettable shopping experience is just as vital as what happens afterward: the post-sales service.

Once a customer finishes their final step to buy things, it's important to guide them through the next steps. Sending a comprehensive order summary via email and activating exclusive service channels can provide reassurance to users, making them feel more secure about their purchase.

All of this would help create customer loyalty and bring opportunities to get positive feedback, which can be used to improve the overall shopping experience.

Others also read

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Best Metrics to Measure Your Customers’ Shopping Experience

After doing all of these practical steps, it’s time for measuring the outcomes to understand how effective your shopping experience is and how you can improve to get better results.

The measure tools are like a map, showing you where you are and where you need to go next.

  • Feedback Review: Nowadays, people love sharing their thoughts and experiences about what they buy. You can check the comments on your product pages, social media, and consumer review sites, then find out what you're doing well and what needs work.
  • Conversion Rate: The conversion rate shows you how many people are taking action, like signing up or making a purchase. After trying A/B testing, you can see whether your changes are positive or not to further improve the shopping experience.
  • Churn Rate: The churn rate indicates the number of customers who are leaving your business. For online services, this could mean canceling subscriptions. Understanding why people leave helps you make plans to keep more customers around.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is a way to see how satisfied customers are and if they'd recommend your services. The score should be over time, along with asking customers questions to understand better what they think.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)

    The shopping experience is a big deal for your business, whether you're selling in store or online. When seeing things from your customers' point of view, you can really understand what drives them and how to meet their needs beyond just making sales.

    Examples of Real-Life Brands Success their Shopping Experiences

    1. Nike – Heaven of Personalization

    Nike – Heaven of Personalization

    (Image Source: architecturaldigest.com)

    Nike leads the way in personalized shopping experiences. In many stores, customers can customize their shoes, selecting colors, materials, and more. Nike sees its stores as more than just places to buy products but as spaces for immersive experiences. 

    At the SOHO location in New York, customers can use their phones to access special content by scanning product labels. They can even try out shoes on a basketball court with motion sensors that display their movements on a big screen. This focus on personalization and interaction sets Nike apart in creating memorable shopping moments.

    2. Netflix – Dominating Entertainment Industry

    Netflix has completely changed the game in entertainment with its top-notch customer service. With an impressive 88% customer loyalty score, they've clearly won hearts. Netflix truly understands its customers inside out, they always try to understand deep into viewer behavior and satisfaction to utilize their desires and preferences. 

    With this insight, it's no wonder they excel in customer experience. One standout example involves a spirited interaction between a Netflix rep and a willing customer:

    Netflix – Dominating Entertainment Industry

    (Image Source: venturebeat.com)

    The Netflix rep kicks off the chat with: "This is Captain Mike of the good ship Netflix, which member of the crew am I speaking with today?" The conversation, shared here, concludes with the customer wishing for more issues to prolong the enjoyable exchange.

    It is a proven case of how allowing customer service reps to inject their personalities can help improve customer experiences remarkably.


    3. Starbucks – The “Third Place”

    Starbucks – The “Third Place”

    (Image Source: cbsnews.com)

    Starbucks has always strived to be more than just a coffee store; it's a place where people feel at home, a "third place" after home and work. A touching incident at a Starbucks in Leesburg, Virginia exemplifies why it's considered a vital gathering spot for many.

    A barista noticed a regular customer, who was deaf, struggling with ordering and navigating Starbucks. In her free time, the barista learned American Sign Language to assist the customer better. When he returned for his usual order, she wrote him a note, which deeply touched him.

    While not every team member can go to such lengths, knowing they have the capacity to make a difference is invaluable. Instances like this remind us to prioritize human connection in our customer experiences and go the extra mile to support them.

    Conclusion

    In wrapping up, it's clear that meeting customer needs is key to a successful shopping experience. The tips line in service along with your dedicated support, businesses should care about what customers really want. Ensure your store design is inviting and personalized, with tools like EComposer making customization easy even for non-techies.

    All in all, brands can build strong relationships with their customers by creating a welcoming atmosphere, offering convenience, and delivering excellent service. And remember, it's the small things and friendly interactions that make a big impact on the shopping journey.

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