Online Marketing Blog

Web design resources and news for small business owners in Snohomish and around the world.

Understanding the Online Shopping Experience

Understanding the Online Shopping Experience

Every encounter the customer has with your brand has some impact on how they view your product.Memory works by way of association, so when a customer experiences something negative with your brand, its going to factor into their decision to pursue your product. Accordingly, when encountering your brand leads to good experiences, the customer will be motivated to encounter your brand again.

If you have a valuable product and the shopping experience is proven to be positive, why would they go anywhere else? For some people, things as simple as (friendly) human contact can be a good reason to enter a store. These people are simply thrilled to discuss their clothes, their tools, their lifestyle, etc,and are beside themselves when they encounter that sales associate who offers a wealth of expertise.

Some of us view shopping as a thrill, and others view it as a necessary chore. These two contrasting types of people obviously have different standards for what makes a “good” shopping experience.Luckily, you don’t have to find the middle ground or choose one over the other. You can appeal to both types of customers, and should.

This is one of the reasons we want all retailers to explore their options with Ecommerce. To help you along to this end, we’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of the advantages that online shopping and shopping in the physical store space offer the customer --- followed by the advantages they offer the seller. Read them below to see how the shopping experience can impact the sales process.

Advantages to the customer

In a physical store space

Can touch, feel, size a product IE try it on, feel how heavy it is, feel the softness of a fabric. Actually feeling something is more convincing then reading the words “ultra soft fabric”.

Can discuss the value and efficacy of a product or service with a qualified person, IE a sales associate Sales associates

or other experts can often teach a customer something they didn’t know

Can have human interaction, which is an appealing part of the experience

Being in the store space is a more immersive experience,whereas the online experience can feel transactional The in store inventory is limited, which can actually be an advantage. Having to scroll through thousands of items in the extended online inventory can be overwhelming and inefficient

Advantages to the customer


Highly convenient --- lower demand of time and effort. No drive to the store, no wait in line, no walking around the store space.

Online selling can be automated and is highly conducive to subscription-based selling, which mean even lower time and effort to get what the product you want

There’s no pressure to make or explain a decision to sales associates

Shopping can be done at any time, and shoppers can take as much time as they need Third party opinions are accessible in the form of product reviews and customer-to-customer Q&A

There’s a much broader inventory available than in a single store space

Advantages to the retailer

In a physical store space

The customer can get a better assessment of a product ---touch, feel, size, etc

Sales associates can help to eliminate uncertainty/resistance a customer might feel toward a product by informing the customer

Being in the store space is a more immersive experience,which attracts people who shop for the experience itself.You can tailor the environment to attract customers

You have the opportunity to form personal connections to the customer and build relationships

You can share your expertise and make customers reliant on it, which differentiates your brand

Advantages to the retailer


Online selling is more scalable and can be tailored to the individual customer based on viewing/purchasing history and preferences

online selling sets the table for subscription-based selling

online selling allows you to service loyal customers who have moved out of the area

online selling makes your product more accessible to more people some people simply prefer the online experience, and are more likely to shop with you if this is an option

online resources can attract attention that ultimately leads to more traffic in your physical store space

The conclusion we want you to draw here is that neither option is superior and can replace the other.We see them both as essential --- not just because the customer has come to expect them both, but because they elevate a retailer’s capacity to connect to the customer in the way that the customer prefers.

We’ve come to see the experience of procuring and/or shopping for a product as an integral part of the product itself. When you offer different strategies for customers, you offer them more choices in terms of the experience they have in pursuing your product.To learn about how we can make the Ecommerce process manageable and transparent for you, fill out a contact form by clicking here.