It is common thinking among companies that a shopping experience starts when a customer enters a store or an e-commerce website and stops when this same customer leaves with its purchases. This is also what shoppers may think because they don’t see behind the scenes. But a shopping experience is more complex. Let’s take a deeper look at what it is.
1. Multiple touch points for multiple interactions
First we should consider shopping experience in its entirety. With the rise of new technologies, there are a lot of new touch points allowing shoppers to interact with a brand. Whether it’s a TV commercial, an online ad on a search engine or a Facebook post, these are starting points to the shopping experience. The shopper is looking for a product or a service and might be interested in your offers and brand content, which raise its interest for your offer. Here starts not only the shopping experience, but the shopping journey. From a mobile search to the visit in store, interactions shoppers-brands are increasing and brands need to figure out how to catch shoppers’ attention on these different touch points.
Insight: A recent study showed that more than 50% of shoppers start their shopping journey on Amazon instead of using search engines.
2. From interest to narrowing down options
Now that you have raised the shopper’s interested, the process of narrowing down the options starts. Is your product or service the best fit to the shopper’s expectations? What about the competitors? Is the price a correct match? Once a shopper has shown interest in a product or service, all other options are considered, from comparing prices online to seeking alternatives.
This is where brands can improve: by providing shoppers with more content to answer their needs, as well as creating seamless online and offline experiences that will naturally lead the shopper to the right product. User Experience is key, and it starts before the act of purchasing the product.
3. The right place/time/price for the right product
What could be more deceptive for a shopper than looking for a product that is not available? The way brands are managing their inventory is key in the shopping experience: empty shelves or unavailable products are a good reason for the customer to switch for an alternative product and make you miss this sale.
Insight: When a store has 8% of product out of stock, the shopper’s perception of shelves emptiness is 18%.
Some best practices include store stock availability on a retailer’s website, as well as the possibility of ordering a product in store using a digital device and be delivered at home. At last, if the prices are different from a channel to another, shoppers get lost.
4. Making up its mind
After considering all options and finalizing the choice of the best product, the shopper needs to get its choice approved by its peers. Social Media has become a key lever to help shoppers that they are in the right direction. But the most interesting part is how shoppers use reviews and recommendations to select a product.
Insight: A product with 25+ positive reviews online will reach a 20% conversion rate.
During heir shopping journey, shoppers tend to appreciate some other customers’ reviews. Help them by developing ambassador relationships with existing customers. You can also contact influencers and offer them to review your products. And don’t forget that negative reviews are also good feedback to take on board. It’s not so much about paying people to praise your products than to count on your existing customers and their satisfaction to convince other shoppers.
When it comes to reviews we often think online, but brands can also display these reviews on point-of-sale materials to help converting shoppers.
5. Moment of truth
You attracted the shopper, which selected your product and the product is available but don’t think that you made it, you still have a long way to go until the final purchase. Mostly online, some frictions can make your shopper run from your product like a complex account creation page (tips: allow shoppers to checkout as guests), limited payment options and delivery costs are the common.
To offer the best experience to your shoppers, just try to place an order on your own website and identify what’s wrong. Would you pay a $9.99 for a delivery occurring between 3-5 days when purchasing a pen, for example? Probably not. Pure-players have changed the game, but if you are a brick & mortar brand, you have tons of weapons to address this issue. One example: your store. See our omni-channel strategy services or contact us if you are facing this challenge.
6. The last mile
While logistics is not the most sexy field, it’s probably one of the most important. Let’s imagine: your shopper has purchased your product online, took the Click & Collect option then comes at your store and there is no track record of its order? You may have lost your shopper forever.
Shoppers are rational, they don’t mind how you manage your logistics, they just want their product delivered the easiest way for them. Click & Collect is now becoming a standard for Brick & Mortars while same-day shipping is trending among pure-players. But what if you offered other alternatives to simplify both your logistics and your shoppers’ experience? Shipping from your store, drop-shipping are solutions that should be considered.
7. After-sales and customer services
The product has been picked up/delivered to our shopper and many people would think that the shopping experience is done. But what if the product doesn’t work and the shopper complains on Twitter? The shopping experience definitely includes what happens after the purchase and the way you will help your shopper is key if you take its case seriously, answering on social networks, you will turn your shopper into a loyal customer.
On the contrary, if everything went well for your shopper, he may talk about his experience online and become a real ambassador for your brand. Cherish him, and you’ll get even more people buying your products.
So, how do we define Shopping Experience?
A shopping experience is a complex concept, that stretches far beyond the fact of a shopper buying a product in a store. While our world is fast-moving and digital-led, a lot of brands are still focusing only on their products. But it’s time to shift to a customer-centric, omni-channel strategy to consistently offer the best experience to those who buy your products: your shoppers.
Having the right place, time and price for a product are likely to be very effective for retail. With the internet, consumers want to purchase and receive their products right away. I think that stores should use the latest technology so they can use data to understand their customers.