Examples of a Great Shopping Experience
We found this article published by the Wharton School of Business that speaks to what makes a great shopping experience. The author of this article shares five pillars of retail satisfaction that should be used to build a platform that can help to create an amazing shopping experience. Those five are:
- Engagement: being polite, genuinely caring and interested in helping, acknowledging and listening.
- Executional excellence: patiently explaining and advising, checking stock, helping to find products, having product knowledge and providing unexpected product quality.
- Brand Experience: exciting store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they’re special and that they always get a deal.
- Expediting: being sensitive to customers’ time on long check-out lines, being proactive in helping speed the shopping process.
- Problem Recovery: helping resolve and compensate for problems, upgrading quality and ensuring complete satisfaction.
The author suggests these should be the minimum standards any retailer should implement so they can increase their probability of creating “wow” experiences for their customers. Given these five pillars, we sought stories of some very successful retailers who exemplify some great experiences through these pillars.
One customer’s experience at The Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas
One story we found is from Linda Ireland, who posted this article at customerthink.com. Here is part of her story:
When I arrived [at the hotel] I walked through the front doors and noticed a gentleman standing near a small podium which I took to be the bellhops stand. The man saw me enter and said, “Are you Ms. Ireland?”
Slightly confused and amazed, “Yes…”
“We’ve got you all checked in. If you’re ready I can escort you to your room.” And then he offered me a bottle of water.
I was completely taken aback.
As we walk, the desk staff says hello. My escort shares the hotel’s history with me along the way. The room is wonderful.
The next morning, I found myself smiling as I stepped out of my room into the hallway…
As I walked by the reception area to leave, I hear, “Good morning Ms. Ireland, would you like any help getting a car to take you to your meeting this morning?”
I’m floored. This was a different person, yet they still knew who I was. Not only was their staff incredibly prepared, courteous and helpful, but also their attention to detail was top notch.
This experience shows that personalization in engagement and experience are not only remembered fondly, but they are shared and talked about by those who experience them.
Zappos Customer Service
Zappos is well known for differentiating themselves through customer service. If you Google, “Zappos customer service stories,” you’ll find numerous stories people gladly shared about their customer service experience.
One story that stood out to us was of a groomsman who “ordered shoes from the online retailer with enough time to receive them before he needed to travel for the wedding. He called Zappos when his shoes didn’t arrive due to the shipping being routed to the wrong location.”1 Zappos went out of their way to solve the problem: they set up a replacement pair to be sent to the wedding destination and rerouted the old pair to return to Zappos. On top of that, they upgraded the man to a VIP account so all future purchases would have free shipping. And then the customer service rep told him since he was VIP, he gets a full refund on his shoes.
One retail experience that exemplifies not only executional excellence, but also the future of retail is that of Audi City (see image below). “Audi City is an immersive digital showroom that allows customers to explore the different Audi models via interactive touchscreen displays and videos.”2 Audi City does two things well. First, it uses retail space effectively. In an industry where it’s so difficult to show off all your models due to limited space, Audi City can display its entire lineup of cars in a small, beautiful retail space. Second, the retail space also “provides customers with an engaging and experiential shopping experience so they leave loving (if they didn’t already) the Audi brand.”2
1 Jones, Stephanie. “4 Ways to Show Your Customers the Love.” PATLive. PATLive, 19 June 2015. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <http://www.patlive.com/blog/customer-appreciation-4-ways-to-show-them-the-love/>.
2 Vong, Katherine. “Interactive Digital Showrooms : Audi City.” TrendHunter.com. TrendHunter, 24 July 2012. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/audi-city>.
My Visit to the Mall
Family outings, entertainment and leisure time, is gradually changing as a result of the construction malls all over the country. Such shopping malls and centers are progressively attempting to achieve more than goods distribution. Malls are becoming increasingly creative. They are using what we may consider a traditional retail space to create playhouses, trampoline places, gymnastic studios, supermarkets, entertainment places, restaurants, banks among other facilities. All these amenities are aimed at generating revenue. They hope to make individuals who visit the malls for different reasons to at least make purchases at the usual retail stores. Many people prefer malls as they offer convenience as a one-stop shop where you can access different facilities mainly, food, shopping, and entertainment. We take a look at an experience inside one of America’s most famous malls as a representation of the features and experiences that malls currently offer to their customers.
The Mall of America which is located in Minnesota in the United States is quite a popular place to visit. The mall has more than 500 stores and slightly more than 50 restaurants. My first visit to the mall was quite exciting from the beginning since there is no fee for parking and the place is easily accessible because of its convenient location. Moving around the various food courts to see what they offer was exciting, and it is impossible to decide what to eat since there are so many varieties to choose from. The eateries inside the mall catered to just about all tastes, ranging from the fast-food variety experiences to high-class and grand sit-down establishments. It is, without doubt, a place one should visit. I was particularly interested in the Cake Boss shop because I love the show and I wanted a taste of some cake. The mall is trendy therefore many events are held there occasionally. On the day of my visit, there was a wedding taking place at the chapel of love which is one the mall’s facilities. This chapel has apparently hosted more than 5,500 couples’ marriages from what I gathered.
Parents who visit with their children would particularly enjoy this place a lot since there are a lot of activities for kids like the aquarium, amusement park with different rides and roller coasters inside and various stores such as the LEGO store where I saw children playing in their play areas. Teenagers also have plenty to engage them at this mall including zip lines, crazy spinning machines, multiplex cinema theatre, comedy club and many others. The mall is also preferred because they do not tax their product which gives you a good deal in the various shops. Due to the size of the mall, there are kiosks that are quite handy as they show you how to get to whichever shop you might be trying to locate and how long it will take to get there from where you are. Just like any other mall, different stores located in one premises make it an ideal location for the family since each member has different interests and all these interests mean different shopping experiences and shops. The mall of America proved to be a worthwhile experience. Even though I had not gone there to shop, I ended up doing some impulse buying just from seeing all my ideal stores as well as their prices which I consider reasonable. Generally, the mall has all you would need, making it a perfect location for shopping, food, and entertainment.
Because of its large size, we were not able to finish our tour of the entire mall as it would take more than visit for one to explore all their facilities. Generally, this mall gives a representation of the feel in today’s malls whereby you get everything you require at one particular place as opposed to moving from one location to another to shop or engage in other activities. The mall visit was an awesome experience, and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of your reason for going there since there is something for everyone.