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What Makes a Bad Shopping Experience?

Customers bring different expectations to in-store and ecommerce interactions

Customer service can make or break a company's reputation. It's also a leading reason why consumers choose to abandon a retailer and take their money elsewhere.

According to a recent survey of US shoppers by private software research company Qualtrics, customer service "deal breakers" vary when it comes to shopping in-store vs. online. 

For example, nothing would steer in-store customers in a different direction more than rude employees (42%)—followed by a disorganized store (17%), high prices (15%) and long checkout lines (12%). 

Meanwhile, 55% of US digital shoppers would be more bothered if their shipment never arrived. Fake reviews and items not reflecting the photo online were among the top concerns that would lead respondents to shop at another company, at 34%.

Other studies have found respondents with similarly strong reactions to disappointing customer experience, both in-store and online.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of internet users surveyed by customer experience management firm InMoment said that a disappointing interaction with staff—whether it's a poor attitude or lack of knowledge—is a leading reason why they would consider a brand experience as a negative one.

Retailers need to be aware of the brand promises they are extending to customers both in-store and online, and work to fulfill those. A May 2018 survey of 2,000 US internet users conducted by brand experience agency Jack Morton found that 45% of respondents said brands today rarely live up to the promises they’ve made—essentially giving them a D grade for poor performance. And nearly half said that when a brand doesn’t keep its promise, they no longer trust it and will stop buying its products.