3 Ways To Create A Unique Online Shopping Experience

Bobby shopping online

What’s Been Missing?  Three Ways to Create a Unique Online Shopping Experience

In the minds of many consumers, brick and mortar stores have a leg up on online stores.  Although online sales are on the rise, not all customers are fully satisfied with the online shopping experience, largely because it often lacks the level of customer service and engagement that one finds when shopping in person.  However, innovative companies have responded to this sentiment in several exciting ways which serve to enhance the online shopping experience of their customers.  My son is eight and loves shopping for items online.  You can see him in the picture above helping me find the perfect stair railing for our home.

Brick and Mortar to Online Transition

A large percentage of a given online store’s customers are those who have shopped at the store’s brick and mortar establishment, or those who will do so in the future.  Many shoppers are looking for convenience, which can mean switching between shopping online and in person from purchase to purchase.  For this reason, it makes sense to design an online shopping interface that will be easy to navigate for customers familiar with the physical store.  Many companies are increasingly aware of the power of this approach.  Those that recognize and capitalize on this crossover of in-person and online customers are able to provide a more seamless shopping experience for their customers.

Getting to Know the Product

Perhaps the biggest source of hesitation for those who avoid online shopping is the inability to tangibly know the product they are considering purchasing.  Will the article of clothing fit?  Is the bath mat soft enough?

When customers feel there is risk involved with a purchase, they are far less likely to want to buy.  However, many online stores have created avenues that help to minimize this risk.  Online reviews, generous return policies, and trial periods for given products can allow customers a chance to get a better feel for the product they are interested in.  Some online stores even offer small, inexpensive samples so that customers can try a variety of products before opting to make a bigger purchase.

Interactive Solutions

Online shoppers often miss the presence of an inventory expert who can help direct them towards products that can meet their needs.  One way that online stores have sought to replace this customer service aspect of in-person shopping is by seeking to engage customers and provide similar guidance online.  Websites have achieved this by offering quizzes or advice on how to find and select the ideal product for a given customer.  The downside of this approach is that it is sometimes too invasive – more independent shoppers may be put off by it.  Surveys can help companies find the appropriate balance between too much and too little shopping guidance.

Something Truly New

Attention to customer needs can serve to distinguish a mediocre online shopping experience from something altogether better.  Whenever possible, companies should seek to update their online store interface and services to ensure that they are meeting and surpassing the expectations of customers.  This customer-focused approach may involve some trial and error, but will ultimately help businesses attract and retain customers for the long haul.

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