How to create a great online retail experience for shoppers

Providing a great online retail experience is a must for every business. Ensuring that you give the "wow" factor and a seamless process can be great determinants that separate you from your competitors.

According to SuperOffice, in the next five years, most businesses will shift their focus and prioritize creating an excellent customer experience over product and pricing strategies.

A positive retail experience doesn't just help set your business apart, it also helps with scaling, increased revenue, and customer loyalty.

If you want to create a great online retail experience, follow along!

What is a positive online shopping experience?

Before we create a positive online retail experience, let's first objectively discuss what it is.

A positive online retail experience happens when a customer goes through every process in your business smoothly. They didn't experience any delays, problems, or hiccups while doing transactions with your company.

Businesses strive to achieve a great retail experience since it can indirectly help their business scale and earn more revenue.

A great retail experience also includes your customer's pre and post-purchases. This pertains to the selling strategies you've used to convince your customers to buy your product or try your service. 

If the strategy is too aggressive, this can affect the overall retail experience. Some customers would feel that the strategy is intrusive, which may be enough for them to transact with another company.

Post-purchase offers refer to the promotions you present to your customers after they've purchased something from your store. Be sure to offer targeted, personalized upsells. Offering irrelevant products might just annoy your customers and ruin a great retail experience. 

As you can see, creating a positive retail experience encompasses every stage in the customer journey.

Creating A Great Online Retail Experience

In today's business landscape, customer experience is considered the new battlefield for businesses. Nowadays, consumers would rather support a company that treats them well than a business with a slightly superior product.

Here are 9 tips to get you to build great online retail experiences: .

1. Market research

Market research is the starting point of every great business outcome. The common mistake that business owners make is implementing a retail experience that they think is good—not what the customer thinks is good. When it comes to your customers, avoid guesswork.  

When structuring your business, create processes and initiatives that your customers will significantly benefit from.

Market research will help you with:

  • Social media strategies
  • Website design
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Purchase processes
  • Product offerings
  • Sales and promotions
  • Loyalty programs

To correctly conduct market research for your business, start with these strategies:

1.a Conduct surveys

business survey

Surveys are helpful if you want feedback directly from your customers. It's a growth hacking tool used by businesses of all sizes to scale. 

Surveys are great communication tools since they ask your customers exactly what they want to see. You'll know what type of marketing they are attracted to, what processes in your business need improvement, or what suggestions they can give to help achieve a positive retail experience.

1.b Be open to feedback

feedback form

Give your customers space to leave feedback! Surveys are a great way to capture general information and trends; Open-ended questions are great for collecting specifics. 

When possible, give your customers the opportunity to share their thoughts and leave suggestions. One customer service tip? Follow up to questions or concerns, and always take action when necessary.

1.c Be proactive on your socials

Social media sites are great platforms to engage with your audience and learn more about your customers.Sometimes when they have suggestions and comments (good or bad) on your service, they'll let you know through these platforms. So make sure to be active in listening and reading in these places as well.

Look at how one client of JetBlue mentioned that his TV during the flight wasn't working and the company understood how that can be a bummer. Rather than completely ignoring this comment of their customer, they acknowledged it and even gave credit to the customer for the incident — a gesture that was well appreciated. 

2. Brainstorm strategies with your team

Once you've found out what customers want, it's important to brainstorm with your team on  what strategies you will implement. Brainstorming can produce great ideas and clever ways on how you can improve for a better retail experience.

Another excellent brainstorming technique is called SCAMPER. This technique encourages the team to an idea or a set of solutions from various angles. SCAMPER is an acronym for:

  • Substitute - What would happen if you substitute one aspect or element for another? Think about what elements in your business process can you substitute to reach your goals?
  • Combine - What can you combine in your products or service to achieve your desired outcome?
  • Adapt - What can you adapt from other processes?
  • Modify - What can you change in your current product, service, or process to create your desired results?
  • Put to other use - What different use can you leverage your idea?
  • Eliminate - What components or elements should be eliminated to achieve the desired results?
  • Rearrange or reverse - How can you rearrange the current process or what could happen if you reverse the process?

The SCAMPER brainstorming technique is a straightforward way of tackling goals and problems. It produces problem-solving answers that the business can implement.

Another great brainstorming technique that's both fun and engaging is called rolestorming. With this technique, you put yourself in someone else's shoes. In this case, you can put yourself in the position of your customer. Think of yourself as a consumer of your products or services.

When doing this technique, think of different answers on questions like:

  • How can I say that I had a great customer experience?
  • What is a great customer experience for me?
  • What type of customer service do I want?

Putting yourself in the position of your customers means you're stepping out of your limitations and inhibitions. It gives you and your team a new perspective on how to create an excellent retail experience for your shoppers. This will yield fresh ideas, approach, and processes.

Brainstorming with a team is always a good idea since a group can cover individual blindspots or aspects that might have been overlooked. It is also through this collaborative effort that businesses can create unique selling propositions, amazing campaigns, ways to improve retail experience, and other business ideas.

share a coke campaign

An example of a collaborative effort at work would be Coke's Share A Coke campaign. This has strengthened the company's customer experience and allowed them to reconnect with their Australian customers.

To have come up with what seemed like a simple idea, Coca-Cola Australia had to work with several agencies and hear several pitches for their next summer campaign. The business ended up working with their existing agency Ogilvy. 

This collaboration brought a simple tweak to a classic label that is so powerful that the campaign went beyond Australia and reached global consumers everywhere. This campaign displayed massive success because Ogilvy and Coca-Cola Australia created a customer experience that was highly personalized and easily shareable.

3. Website speed and responsiveness matters

website speed statistics

In this digital era, speed is the name of the game. Your Shopify site speed is a measure of how fast your page loads and responds. Nothing turns off a customer faster than a slow website. 

According to Radware, about 51% of users in the US mentioned that a slow website is a top reason they'd abandon their purchase. An estimated 40% of people leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Unbounce reported that 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy.

Website speed is crucial to conversion and customer retention.

Website responsiveness talks about the compatibility of your website on other devices like tablets and mobile phones. Most businesses only focus on desktop users, not realizing that mobile users have surpassed desktop users for years already. Perficient reported that 68% of website visits were from mobile devices.

Optimizing your website for all gadgets contributes to a better retail experience and higher cart conversions. Consider hiring a web designer to boost your site speed, or learn to improve site speeds on your own.

4. Provide excellent navigation

Nobody wants to interact with a complex website structure that's confusing.

A website that's easy to navigate will keep customers on your website longer. One easy implementation?  Adding a search bar to help shoppers to find products by keyword. 

A good guide is the 3-click rule. The 3-click rule means that the web visitor should be able to find what they're looking for in just 3 clicks or less. If they exceed the 3 click limit, it indicates that your website structure has too many unnecessary pop-ups or pages.

So, if you're aiming for a great retail experience, observe your website navigation since it will play a major role in your customer's journey.

Just look at the web navigation presented by Dollar Shave Club. The pages for promotions, products, and categories can be quickly reached by just a single click of a button.

dollar shave club

For example, their product page already contains all necessary details and information about the item. They don't let their customers click more or take them to another page just to see these details.

5. Use trust badges

(Image source: Yieldify)

A great online retail experience happens when a business removes all the doubts from the customer's mind. And a way to do so would be through trust badges. Yieldify mentioned that 48% of consumers said that trust badges reassure them that a site is secure and trustworthy.

Generally, there are three types of trust badges used:

5.a Secure checkout badge

guaranteed safe checkout

The secure checkout badge is the seal given when you sign up with a company that gives out an SSL certificate. This particular badge tells your customers that checking out with your business is safe, and the information they give is encrypted.

A secure checkout badge usually removes the doubt of customers when it comes to providing information about their credit card and other personal information.

5.b Free shipping and return trust badge

free shipping trust badge

Having free shipping and a return icon on your checkout page can often do the trick for converting customers. Remember that shipping costs are one of the top reasons for increased cart abandonment emails. If you can address this issue on the checkout page, more customers will be more confident to complete their purchase.

5.c Third-party endorsements

These particular trust badges are all about showing that your business is credible. It displays that you're trusted and verified by well-respected entities in your space. And shows that you are an established business.

This works well for small to medium brands, who may be less familiar to consumers. An example of this is how CXL showcases the multinational companies and known brands that used their service. Seeing these business names is an ultimate confidence booster for their prospects. It can remove all doubts and uncertainties if people see that these businesses have worked with them before. 

CXL third party endorsements

6. Make use of great photos and videos

Photos and videos are an crucial part of the online retail experience—since customers rely on your images to see the product

A common disappointment in ecommerce is the discrepancy between the product image and the actual product. Negative customer reports can do serious damage to your business' reputation! 

To avoid negative feedback, and better manage customer expectations, take product photos that clearly represent your product. The more photos, the better. Make sure to include important product details, and capture every possible angle. 

An example of this could be how Brilliant Earth used a bright setting to really make their rings standout. This makes it clearer for their customers to see the products they sell. Plus, when jewelry is partnered with bright or natural light, it gives a very nice aesthetic. 

Brilliant earth jewelry

As for your videos, make sure the cinematography is on point. If the video is going to be used as marketing material, the storytelling aspect should be engaging enough to capture the attention of the people.


Watch how WhatsGood utilized a video to share their story. The scenes are well captured and the branding is on point.

This can also be applied to businesses that don't offer a physical product. For example, Spores displays videos and images regarding its new NFT game to show its market what to expect.


7. Display customer reviews

When a customer sees a product they like, the next thing they look at is customer reviews. These reviews act as a social trust badge that increases the confidence of your customers.

Customer reviews can serve as a social validation that your business lives up to what it advertises. 

Qualtrics mentioned that 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Customers want assurance before completely committing to a purchase. Great customer reviews can be turned into top-notch marketing content for your brand. Check out how Infinite Recovery used a customer review to entice its market to try its services.

You can even place customer reviews directly on your homepage so it can be easily seen by your customers. This is what Casper did but rather than putting the reviews in a static manner, it utilized a slider feature to make it more engaging for their prospects and customers.

Casper customer reviews

8. Make it easy to contact you

If customers want to get in touch, make it easy! They might want to ask questions before they purchase your products or have concerns regarding items they purchased.

Regardless of the reason, you make it easy to get in touch. When customers have their questions answered quickly, it creates a better retail experience! Consider displaying your company's email, social accounts prominently, and use chatbots for quick responses.

It's better to send out a message that you will get back to them as soon as possible rather than not hearing anything from your business. So remember, be contacted easily and readily available.

9. Honor your policies and promises

Every policy you leverage in marketing material should be followed!

Nothing breaks the confidence of shoppers more than a policy that isn't honored. It makes them feel like they've been scammed, and it ruins the overall positive retail experience.

If you claim that you have a full refund policy, make sure to honor it. If you advertise no hidden cost and free shipping, do everything you can to follow it. The last thing you want is upset and dissatisfied customers. 

The same thing is applied to your business promises. If you promised a 14-day free trial, ensure that it is exactly that—no tricks and gimmicks.


Wanting to create a great online retail experience for your shoppers is an excellent initiative to do in your business. Through these changes, you convert prospects to customers and customers to loyal advocates of your products and services.

By doing the 10 things mentioned above, you're putting your business on a path where customers can have a great time transacting with you. The best thing about achieving a great retail experience is that people would share your business with others naturally without being told to.

This word-of-mouth marketing can take your business to new heights and scale your operations much rapidly. By aiming to improve your retail experience, you're also indirectly benefiting your overall business.

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