Understanding Online Customer Experience

As someone who doesn’t own a car and gets around on a bike it can be difficult to shop in stores especially for larger items that are hard to carry. This makes me quite an experienced online shopper. For example, when I am doing a large grocery shop, I often decide to purchase online and get it delivered to save time and make life a bit easier!  

 So, what makes people online shoppers? Why do they stick to one website? And how do businesses develop long-term customers? 

The framework (pictured above) for understanding online customer experience involves antecedents or how the individual thinks, feels and interacts with the website/brand, the customers experience with shopping and the outcomes or consequences of the purchase (Rose & Hair 2011 as cited in Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick 2019). Using myself as an example in the case of online grocery shopping, I evaluate the delivery service as very useful and much easier that riding a bike with a heavy bag of groceries! Another important deciding factor for me is the cost, for delivery it is maximum cost of $10, for me I believe this is worth it as it saves me a lot of time and effort. At first online grocery shopping seemed to be difficult to use as the product that you are after may not appear at the top of the search results, especially if you have a favourite type of cereal etc. However, after shopping a number of times or linking your rewards card it saves all the items you have bought so you can scroll through and easily select your go-to foods, this builds customer loyalty and makes the shopping experiences much more personalised.  

While grocery foods are a necessary purchase, things like clothing can be more just for fun. I am an occasional online clothing shopper from stores like ‘The Iconic’ and ‘Boohoo’. The major difference is that my perceived usefulness and benefits of clothing is a lot lower than that of grocery items – who really needs more clothes? However, the enjoyment and excitement are much higher and purchases are generally quite satisfying. Because I don’t NEED more clothes but I enjoy buying clothes I am a less frequent online customer to clothing retailers than I am to online grocery stores.  Consider the things you purchase frequently vs occasionally – how do you perceive these products differently? 

A very important factor in online shopping is the use of personalization and promotions. Almost all online stores try to personalise customer experience, this is much easier online as it is often an automated system. For example, the use of your name to emails sent to you and ‘personalised picks’ from the website, this encourages repeat purchasing. 

The use of promotions is another tool used to attract customers to make another purchase. For example, grocery stores often send emails 2 weeks after you have made a purchase as this is usually when you are running low on food. With fashion websites emails are sent more frequently with increasingly good deals to try and get you to succumb to the temptation of impulse buying. 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to have your say in the comments below 🙂

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