Online shopping is easy and convenient, but after nearly two years of lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates due to a global pandemic, people are craving fun, in-person customer experiences.
In 2021, the outbreak of Covid resulted in a 14.2% rise in e-commerce. Whether people could not leave their homes or were simply taking precautions, online purchases included everything from clothing to groceries. As new cases begin to decline and vaccinations become available, people are growing more comfortable returning to in-person customer experiences.
Keep reading to learn why people want in-person customer experiences and how to provide the experience everyone is craving.
- Despite the convenience of online shopping, people still crave in-person experiences.
- There are several benefits of in-person shopping, including human connection, product testing, and avoidance of delivery fees.
- Reach out to shoppers with effective content marketing and use creative ideas to deliver a fun, in-person customer experience.
Why Do People Want In-Person Customer Experiences?
Thanks to the internet, today’s shoppers aren’t limited by store hours or physical location. Customers can browse for their favorite products and services from the comfort of their own home (or wherever they happen to be).
If people can purchase from any device, at any hour, from any location, why would they want to shop at a brick-and-mortar storefront? Here are five main reasons shoppers are craving more amazing customer experiences.
1. Human Connection
For many, shopping is a social experience. Interacting with other shoppers and employees helps people feel more connected to their community. Human connection plays an important role in converting customers and driving sales from a business standpoint. When shoppers can talk with a staff member face to face, it builds confidence and ensures that they’re making a well-informed purchase.
When a disgruntled shopper can talk with a customer service representative in person, they gain a stronger sense of empathy and feel that their concerns are really being heard. This builds trust and loyalty, which is important because 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Human connection is a major reason people crave an in-person customer experience.
2. Product Testing
One of the biggest downfalls of online shopping is the inability of shoppers to see products first-hand. Photos can only reveal so much information.
People love in-person customer experiences because they have an opportunity to hold an item, inspect its features, and even test it out before deciding whether they want to buy it. This reduces uncertainties and answers questions the shopper may have that are difficult to gather from an online listing.
This is especially beneficial for companies that are rolling out new products. Consumers will be more interested in testing these never-before-seen items to decide whether to add them to their shopping list. Not only does this draw in more traffic for the business, but it also provides a positive opportunity for the shopper.
3. Avoid Shipping Delays and Fees
Most online stores offer shipping delivery options, but products take time to arrive, and the fees are often unexpected. This is the number one reason for e-commerce shopping cart abandonment. That’s why many prefer to shop at a brick-and-mortar store. With an in-person customer experience, shoppers can receive their items instantly, and they don’t have to pay delivery fees, saving them time and money.
This is also true for returns. If a product doesn’t meet expectations or isn’t needed, after all, the shopper can simply bring it back to the store and get their money back the same day. With online purchases, businesses often charge for shipping, and money isn’t credited back to the customer’s bank account until the company receives the item.
4. Stress Release
At home, people share space with families who need their attention. They must clean up messes and pay the bills. An in-person shopping trip can be an escape from the stresses of everyday life. During the pandemic, 42% of people said they missed shopping in person because it was a chance to get out of the house.
Favorite stores provide a welcoming atmosphere with fun and upbeat music, products shoppers love, and clean, organized environments. Workers cater to shoppers’ needs and make sure they have a pleasant visit in the store.
People will often spend time browsing the merchandise, even without the intent to buy because they enjoy the overall experience. Shoppers crave the stress release that in-store customer experiences provide.
5. Support Local Businesses
Many small local businesses don’t have the means to support an e-commerce site, so they rely on their storefront to attract customers and close sales. These in-person customer experiences provide opportunities for shoppers to help:
- Build a thriving community with a distinct personality
- Sustain a town center that links neighbors in economic and social relationships
- Empower local decision-making
- Keep money in town
- Provide product diversity
- Create sustainable jobs for local residents
The following video goes into more detail about the importance and benefits of shopping local:
In-person customer experiences help foster a sense of community and strengthen the area’s economic infrastructure.
Create Fun, In-Person Customer Experiences
Today’s consumers often research products online, then visit brick-and-mortar storefronts to complete their purchases. For this reason, companies should create fun, in-person customer experiences that drive shoppers into the stores, entice them to stay and browse merchandise, and ultimately make a purchase.
This begins with delivering compelling content to shoppers that meet their unique needs and raises awareness about your brand. Indeed, a content marketing agency can help you craft meaningful messages that resonate with your target audience and assist with brand storytelling.
Content can answer customer questions and demonstrate thought leadership in your market, building trust and earning loyalty.
Once shoppers are in your store, implement creative ideas to provide an exceptional in-person customer experience. Offer refreshments while people shop. Host live events in your store with door prizes and give-aways.
Bring in guest speakers or celebrities to meet and greet your customers. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine what you would like to experience in the customer journey. Then, make it happen for your shoppers. You could gain more traffic, earn more business, and generate more revenue for continued growth and success.
Superior In-Person Customer Experiences Begin with Quality Content
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