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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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