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January 23, 2005

The conventional wisdom about the user experience of retail sites is that satisfying shopping experiences will lead to increased sales through the site. But a new survey indicates that this isn't the case -- even though respondents found retailer sites more satisfying than shopping in stores, they still preferred to make actual purchases in stores.

<=> | January 23, 2005


Last week I purchased “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell at the local BN which is several blocks away from the office. Why? There is always the element of getting the book now vs. a few days but that really isn’t that important unless you’re taking a trip. I think there is an element of trust that still hasn’t emerged within the Internet space. Yes, I can read other reviews and comments but nothing compares to being able to pick up the book read a couple paragraphs and know I could place it back on the shelf. I can read the cover sleeve and see who commented on the book as well as see the placement of the book on the shelf. Retailers have been around along time and understand the power of the display. Another interesting aspects is time. When shopping online for a book, it's get in, get out. Wham, Bam, thank Amazon… The store is different, I shop around to see what might be a better book, what I might want to buy the next time, or even just sit and read a short chapter. Thoughts?

Posted by: RTodd | Jan 23, 2005 3:22:41 PM

You describe a lot of good reasons why people love shopping in stores. The survey indicates that as much as people love shopping in stores, they love shopping online even more -- online shoppers report much higher satisfaction with the experience, and subsequently higher brand loyalty -- they just don't want to actually buy the products online. The problem is that this is a customer satisfaction survey, not a behavior analysis, so we can only speculate about the disjunction between what people found satisfying and what they ultimately preferred.

So really, the question this raises for me is: When is a less satisfying experience more preferable?

Posted by: jjg | Jan 23, 2005 3:42:13 PM

I suppose the answer is obvious; when the event satisfies a higher-level emotion. I couldn’t disagree with the satisfaction statement, but then again I have never had to return anything. That would be an interesting study; when returning goods which environment is more satisfying? I don’t know the answer but shopping at home in the comfort of your own domain is very different than trying package up goods, retrieve labels, stand in line at the post office, etc. Perhaps the answer falls in line of why people go to Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee at $3.00 bucks a cup when it’s free at the office. Yes, I see this almost everyday. There something about being there, being a part of something; hey I am in the bookstore and everyone here likes to read, who can I talk too.

Posted by: RTodd | Jan 24, 2005 5:20:10 PM

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