The shopping experience is the complete set of perceptions that customers receive while purchasing a product or service, and even what they feel after the deal is closed.
The shopping experience is about feelings, emotions, and sensations. Taking care of this strategy can help change your approach from “I want you to buy from me” to “I want to understand you to advise you.”
By creating a memorable shopping experience for your customers, you are considerably nearer to closing your next sale.
The question is: how does one design an unforgettable, authentic, and successful shopping experience to win over their customers?
Here you’ll see:
- Why is shopping experience crucial for businesses?
- What are the elements of the shopping experience?
- What are the 8 best resources to create a memorable Internet shopping experience?
- What are the best metrics to assess your customers’ shopping experience?
Keep reading to find out!
Why is shopping experience crucial for businesses?
Before I start, I want to take a moment to clarify why the shopping experience is crucial for businesses (and why it should be for you, too).
Considering that the concept is not new and is not limited to the digital environment, the shopping experience triggers current and potential customers’ consumption decisions.
Consequently, the change in consumers’ behavior indicates they no longer base their loyalty on price or product but on their experience, which is the main differential of a brand.
Thus, the shopping experience is essential to create loyalty to your company, generate brand awareness, and win over your customers and their recommendations.
What are the elements of the shopping experience?
What should you consider when designing a shopping experience? In both offline and online channels, we suggest 5 pillars to guide your strategic actions.
We will detail each one of them.
The first element of the shopping experience is the environment. It refers to all the decorative and visual aspects present in your physical location or e-commerce.
It varies from the color of the walls, the lighting, the posters, and the music in physical stores.
In online stores, you can see the variation of the pages’ colors, design, and size of the catalog images or the buy buttons’ locations.
The second element is the service.
It’s about generating a trusting relationship between you (the seller) and the customer. Not to focus on a single purchase, but rather on building a long-term relationship.
Obviously, in the physical store, you must consider how your salespeople express themselves and whether they are advising their customers correctly.
In the digital world, you should look at variables related to user experience (UX), such as:
- mobile experience;
- the functioning of payment mechanisms;
- provision of a virtual consultant;
- page loading speed;
- ease of finding products;
- content of the description of each offer.
Contemporary shoppers are increasingly aware of purchasing decisions and use the Internet to access information about the company or product before purchasing.
In this sense, reviews made by experts on YouTube, website comments, or posts by users on social networks are some of their sources of information.
Therefore, it’s crucial to be honest with customers’ expectations about your product and, once sold, comply with your value proposition.
Flexibility of options
Maintaining a wide and varied catalog of products and services goes hand in hand with personalization psychology. This is crucial to providing a satisfying shopping experience.
When you enter a clothing store, you want to see different fabrics, cuts, colors, and sizes. We want to feel different! The same is true in any business.
Customizing your proposal empowers your customers, making them feel that you are addressing them directly. That the product was tailor-made and that they are the ones who have the final decision in their hands.
Websites should use AI learn to recommend products that really interest the user. This way, the customer does not have to spend a lot of time searching for the product, and he feels as if companies are reading their minds.
Something that can work very well in this context is to use recommendation tools so that customers feel that you know how to identify their preferences. One store that does this very well is Yala, focused on women’s fashion.
Engaging in communication with your customers and getting them to remain close to all your channels (offline, social networks, website, email) is one of the most relevant challenges and actions concerning the shopping experience.
In this sense, interactivity assumes incredible relevance, especially for electronic commerce.
When shopping online, the consumer cannot touch or feel the product. Therefore, you must make the user feel the product and realize that people are working to meet their needs.
This is the case with this online store, which offers a virtual visualization tool so that users can simulate how they would look when wearing the clothes they want to buy.
What are the 8 best resources to create a memorable Internet shopping experience?
Now that we’ve reached this point, we can start exploring digital tools that you can take advantage of to retain your customers and convert new ones with the shopping experience’s power.
Virtual stores that use these resources can create an effective experience, which leads them to use the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) in their favor, closing more sales.
1. Produce interactive pages
Talking about resources to create a powerful shopping experience, we must mention the interactive pages. They use interactive content to encourage the user to take action, such as clicking, filling out a form, answering some questions.
Some examples of interactive content that you can include on your page are
The capacity of these contents to stimulate actions, generate user engagement, and, above all, produce data of interest to the sales sector is evident.
Besides taking care of SEO optimization for your e-commerce, your store can also take care of UX usability through this interactivity.
This content helps you attract qualified leads, learn more about your buyer persona, and diversify your formats. Let’s use the interactive calculator for sportswear e-commerce as an example.
In this resource, you can ask the user something like “How much would you be willing to spend for a complete set of football uniforms?”.
According to the answer, you can offer them the best combination of options for the purchasing power they have. Cool, isn’t it?
2. Offer multiple payments and contracting options
Virtual stores allow you to reach heterogeneous audiences located anywhere in your area of operation. That way, you can serve customers with different payment habits.
If you pay in cash in physical stores, with a debit or credit card, or with coupons, the options expand even more with e-commerce platforms.
E-commerce allows you to introduce alternative forms of payment, such as:
- financial services like Stripe, PayU, or PayPal (a factor that you must adjust according to your customers’ geographic location);
- freemium business models;
- one-click payment systems;
- free demos;
- delivery payments;
- distribution of installment payments.
3. Share attractive cases of success
A crucial aspect of gaining your potential customers’ confidence and boosting their purchase decision is knowing the cases of other people/companies that solved a problem or had a pleasant experience buying your product.
This is equivalent to receiving a vote of confidence that endorses the experience these people and organizations have had with your business. It shows that, just as you solved their dilemmas, you can help with new customers’ problems.
Do some research and collect the results that some of your customers got after buying the product.
Choose the best cases and dedicate a section of your website to tell their story. This will help others to eliminate any doubts and objections.
An example is the blog post about our customers’ results with the Ion Interactive platform during the COVID-19 crisis.
4. Use Big Data to personalize offers
One characteristic of the digital world is the large amount of information you can collect, hour after hour, about your current and potential customers. Organize and use this data to make strategic decisions!
Data-based personalization is a strategy with which you can create unique and individual proposals and anticipate the customer’s actions.
We’re talking about using the interests of a specific group of people to adjust offers and suggest products aligned with their needs.
In this sense, Big Data can collect a large volume of data with variety and speed to find more correlations, offer deeper customization, and perform continuous and real-time analysis.
5. Create a blog to connect with the public
If you have been following Rock Content blog for some time, you know that we’re ambassadors for Content Marketing. This strategy costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times more leads.
Among all the digital channels that exist, blogs are one of the most efficient. Considering that it is its own channel (different from social networks), blogs are a key factor in the growth of any business offline or online.
With a blog, you can share educational, informative, and promotional content frequently, which will increase your brand visibility, create a trusting relationship with your users, and reduce uncertainty about your purchase.
6. Bet on visual content
Although written texts are perfect for initiating a content strategy, due to their cost and reach, visual content is one of the most explored tactics in recent years.
When heard, 32% of marketing experts said that images are the most important content format for their business. Varying content formats the consumers say action to attract new audiences and delight those you already have.
Besides, visual content is very efficient in capturing the users’ attention and encouraging them to have a broader understanding of the subject of the content or product you offer.
7. Put your identity at all points of purchase
Your corporate identity is one of your most valuable assets. Think of Disney, Apple, or Starbucks.
Through the logos, colors, storytelling, and shopping experience they offer, they can transmit their values to consumers. Delighted, they always come back to purchase their services and recommend them.
Visual identity allows your customers to recognize you, differentiate you from the competition, and remember you. All of this is easier when you gain your users’ trust with a pleasant content experience.
Thus, by associating your brand with a positive online or offline shopping experience, you’ll create a valuable connection with your customers.
8. Stay close to the customer with after-sales service
Offering an unforgettable shopping experience is just as important as what comes next: after-sales service.
When the customer completes the purchase, it’s essential to show the following steps.
Sending an email summarizing the order and activating exclusive service channels will make your users feel safer when buying, for example.
This encourages your customers’ loyalty and gives you access to valuable feedback to improve the shopping experience.
What are the best metrics to assess your customers’ shopping experience?
Finally, we want to share some metrics that you should consider, understanding your shopping experience’s effectiveness and how to optimize your actions to generate a higher return on investment.
After all, metrics are the compass for understanding where you’re going and where to direct your actions.
One of the new consumer characteristics is that they are always sharing their experiences about what they buy and consume.
Analyzing your product page comments, social networks, and consumer protection sites will let you know what your strengths are and what you can improve on.
Net Promoter Score
NPS measures customer satisfaction and is based on direct questions about how likely it is to recommend your services, on a scale of 1 to 10.
This can be accompanied by open questions to identify more insights and help you outline your strategy.
Tracking this metric after implementing an A/B test will allow you to see the effectiveness of the action about the shopping experience.
Another important metric for evaluating the shopping experience is the Churn Rate. It refers to the cancellation fee recorded in your customer base.
In the SaaS business, this reflects in the cancellation of subscription plans, for example. The rotation assessment allows us to understand the causes of abandonment and how to plan retention strategies.
The shopping experience is decisive for your sales success offline and online. That’s because putting yourself in your users’ shoes helps you understand their motivations rather than wanting to achieve your sales goals.
Would you like to learn the basics of Content Personalization? Consumers, more than ever, expect personalized experiences. Learn here how to create tailored experiences for your audience!