Online vs. brick-and-mortar shopping experience

As an online retailer, you need to find a way to make your e-tail experience, just as emotionally compelling, like the brick-and-mortar experience. That means an end-to-end transaction that leaves your customer feeling excited, invigorated – maybe even a little bit spoilt. Visuals, delivery, interaction – every facet of their experience plays a part in creating that emotional response and is likely to give you an edge on your competition.

A recent report by First Insight indicates that nearly three-quarters of in-store customers were likely to spend more than $50, leaving online spends trailing well behind at just over half likely to spend that much. And unquestionably, emotional factors play a huge part in this discrepancy. For its many foibles and failings, there is still something to be said for the more traditional retail therapy experience. Not only is it more social, it inherently takes a person out of their home or normal space. Thus disconnecting the in-store shopping experience from the mundanity of the day-to-day and maybe making it a little easier to justify making a big purchase ‘just this once’.

Whilst it might seem like you’ll never be able to match the big sales of a brick-and-mortar store, you have to remember…

One big sale is not the whole picture

What a lot of the studies miss is something that any retail provider worth their salt will tell you is far more important than a one-time big sale – customer loyalty and longevity. Having a customer walk out the (metaphorical) door with $500+ worth of purchases is great, but not as valuable as a customer who spends $50 and tells all their friends and family to buy from you and returns again and again because they simply love what you do.

So, what’s really the biggest difference between the brick-and-mortar and online customer? Your online folk do their research. They seek out that reviews page and scroll all the way to the ‘one stars’. They use apps and online tools to quickly find the best price. It can be a bit of a nightmare for retailers, but it does cut both ways. On the one hand, if your competitor undercuts you on a product, you’re in far more danger of losing out on sales. Vigilance and marketplace awareness are key if you want to survive.

On the other hand, that loyalty benefit we mentioned before? With the level of customer experience control online retailers have, you can give yourself a huge loyalty advantage, just by doing your do. The online marketplace can be perilous, everyone knows someone who’s been scammed by improperly represented products or terrible delivery experiences. Customers are wary of new stores, and not without cause, so it’s all the more pleasing when things go right for them.

What does the ‘right’ customer experience look like?

  1. Their ordering is easy.
  2. The delivery is timely and efficient.
  3. And they get the well-documented feeling of joy we all get upon opening a package – maybe there’s a little something extra, a personal thank you or a next time discount.
  4. The product is, in fact, what they ordered and delivered in one piece.
  5. And should there be the need to return the product, that’s easy too.

It might sound simple but for all the sensationalism bad experiences get, good experiences really do stick in the minds of your customers, turning a $25 dollar, one-time purchase into a much longer customer lifetime of return business.

If you’d like help creating an unrivalled end-to-end eCommerce experience that ticks all the right customer experience boxes, we’d be delighted to help. You can always give us a call on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.

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