It's the Little Things: When Overlooked Factors Cause the Most Frustration
No matter how popular online shopping may become, brick and mortar stores offer an irreplaceable experience (and the ability to try clothes on sans shipping and handling). But if store managers and employees were to put themselves in the customer's shoes, they might realize there are some minor, yet imperative, aspects of the in-store experience that go overlooked. They, too, are customers after all. Judging from personal experience, these factors can, and typically do, have a negative impact on purchase behavior:
Watching the clock. Based on an average life span of 70 years, the average person spends three years of their life waiting--waiting in line, waiting on hold, waiting in traffic. But when you consider how much time we spend stagnant, you can understand why many customers choose to abandon their purchase instead of waiting in a line wrapped halfway around the store just to purchase a t-shirt. Just looking at the disgruntled faces of those already waiting and the noticeably slow pace of the minimal number of cashiers tells me I should simply turn around and leave because even if I find something worthwhile, the wait will overpower my desire to buy. Yes, the economy has led many companies to cut back on staff, but on weekends or in the midst of a major sale, bringing on one or two more employees could very well boost sales and limit real-life cart abandonment.
There when you don't need them. In some retail stores, "greeters" act more like attack dogs. While it's always nice to be welcomed with open arms, there's something extremely unsettling when that person then follows you throughout the store. Some make light conversation, which eases the awkwardness, while others creepily stalk just in case you linger on a given product long enough to indicate you might possibly want to make a purchase. This tends to happen in the less popular stores, where every sale could make or break their future. However, such hovering always urges me to move through the store at a quickened pace. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have stores where no associates are available the moment you need them. If only these extremes could fuse to create some sort of happy medium!
We're having a heat wave. Just the other day, while perusing the mall, I found myself in a constant struggle with my sweater. While some stores were unbearably hot, others were ice cold, leaving me with no choice but to keep pulling my sweater on and off as needed. However, those stores lack the proper air circulation did not become any less intolerable just by removing my sweater. Instead, I wanted nothing more than to head straight for the exit. Such temperatures are not conducive to clothes shopping, as most will not want to exert the effort it takes to try on this autumn's latest trends. (Why try on a sweater when I'm already sweating?) Chilly stores are slightly more tolerable, but these extreme climates are bound to send customers searching for cooler (or warmer) shopping experiences.
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