A number of different factors can affect retail customer satisfaction, usually depending on the customers and their personal preferences or experiences. There are some general guidelines that many customers agree upon as important aspects of the shopping experience, such as the ability to find what they are looking for, short wait times for purchases, and a welcoming atmosphere. Employees who work at a retail store affect customer satisfaction as well, since they usually have direct interaction with customers. As more customers have begun shopping on the Internet, there have also been efforts made to improve online retail customer satisfaction and to bridge physical stores and online experiences.
Retail customer satisfaction typically refers to the opinion customers have of a retail company after shopping with that company. This opinion can be formed in a number of different ways, and many retailers feel it begins even before a customer enters a store. Retail stores often have exterior signs and parking lots that feel welcoming and create an atmosphere in which customers want to come and shop. Some large retail stores have begun using door greeters as well to begin engaging with customers the moment they walk through the door to improve retail customer satisfaction.
Once customers are in a store, there are a number of other factors that can affect retail customer satisfaction. Most customers want to be able to find what they are looking for, both in terms of departments that are organized in a logical manner and with regard to products being in the store and on the shelves. Customers also typically do not want to wait in line once they have made their selections and wish to make a purchase, so many businesses have implemented self-checkout lines and other features to reduce lines. The employees of a company, especially sales associates, often have a tremendous impact on retail customer satisfaction and many companies invest a great deal of time and money in training these employees to better assist customers with their needs.
Many customers have begun shopping on the Internet, and the online marketplace has presented a number of new challenges for ensuring retail customer satisfaction. Companies that sell products online often design their websites to be easy to use and navigate, and to present as much product information as possible. Many customers prefer to research products online, but still make purchases at physical store locations. To better facilitate this type of shopping, many companies have found ways to bridge the online and “brick and mortar” shopping experiences. Retail customer satisfaction can be improved through connectivity between online catalogs and retail store locations with the ability to order products in store as easily as online and better employee understanding of company websites.