Welcome To Our Store — Now Get Lost

We’ve been doing research on Web-to-store and store-to-Web experiences — evaluating what it’s like for cross-channel shoppers. The scenario: After printing out some information on a retailer’s Web site, a customer goes into a store to examine the digital cameras that she’s selected online. This type of customer is coming to the store to find a specific camera, so she really wants to locate it quickly. Sounds like a reasonable expectation — doesn’t it?!?

Well, most stores run into problems right from the beginning — at the front door. Take a look at the following entrance-way to a Wal-Mart….

Wal-Mart initial experience

Where do you go for digital cameras? There’s no way to tell. The customer needs to walk aimlessly and hope to spot the digital camera area. But this isn’t just a problem with Wal-Mart, other large stores have the same problem. I noted this issue in my post Why Don’t Stores Support Shoppers? when I discussed “confusing first impressions.”

Given the growing number of cross-channel shoppers, firms should relook at these first impressions.  Our upcoming research will shed more light on this area (the first report should go live on the Forrester Research site in December). In the meantime, any organization with a physical location (banks, hospitals, schools, retailers, etc.) should think about applying the 4 elements of a welcome experience that I outlined in my post Don’t Neglect Your “Welcome Experience:”

  1. Assume customers don’t know as much as you think.
  2. Make sure that customer know exactly how to start.
  3. Set the tone right away.
  4. Provide feedback along the way.

The bottom line: Online consumers shouldn’t dread what’s in store for them.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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