Small Business

Why the In-Location Experience Matters More Than Ever

Retail Customer Experience. News FeaturesNovember 18, 2021

Retailers have continued to shovel coal into the furnace over the course of a trying year-plus. Finally, the retail train is showing prolonged forward momentum. Through the end of May, retail and food service sales in the U.S. had outpaced their 2019 levels.

Shoppers tired of being cooped up have burst back into retail stores. As time passes, retailers will need to continually and consistently deliver compelling in-location experiences. This is the only way to prolong retail’s resurgence.

The uptick in retail sales is encouraging, plain and simple. However, we know from our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report that the average shopper is a fickle one. While 48% of consumers say they prefer the in-location retail experience, how do you make sure that they choose your in-location retail experience?

From TJX Companies’ treasure hunts to Canada Goose’s conversion of its storefronts into museums, there’s no shortage of inspirational in-location experiences. To keep up with these innovators, it’s more important than ever that you remain inspired in devising your own in-location experiences.

Make sure you are checking all of the boxes, from top-tier customer service to logical in-store layouts and everything in between.

Consumers fundamentally lack for loyalty. Give them no reason to stray.

Customers are the lifeblood of any retail organization. Don’t take them for granted, because they’ll switch to your competitor without a second thought. Really, they will.

25% of consumers told us that they switch brands more today than ever before. By providing an in-location experience that is memorable and headache-free, you stand a chance of winning the coveted “return customer”.

Your competitors are providing top-notch customer service. You must as well.

Consumers are always vigilant to customer service. Knowing how easily a shopper will switch brands, you must make elite customer service a pillar of your in-location experiences. If you provide stellar customer service, 13.8% of respondents said that you will win their undying loyalty.

The fact is that customer service is non-negotiable.

29.8% of respondents said that in-location customer service has improved over the past year. This means that a significant number of your competitors are providing friendly assistance, efficient in-store and curbside pickup, and other mainstays of quality customer service.—and they’re doing so consistently.

You must provide customer service that is as good or better than your competition, or risk losing essential business. And if your customer service falls into the realm of “bad”? You’re almost guaranteed to lose affected customers for good.

Understand the foundation of in-location experiences

26% of consumers said that they shop in-store primarily because they “enjoy the experience.” Retailers that believe they can simply throw some paint on the wall, put good-quality items on the shelves, and remain competitive are missing the point of in-person shopping—not to mention this 26% of consumers.

Not only are consumers more likely to shop at stores with memorable experiences, they’ll spend more too. 60.3% of consumers said they’ll spend more money at a store with a positive customer experience.

Start with the basics. Price (32.7%), convenience (25.5%), and product availability (22.5%) were the leading determinants of where consumers choose to shop, based on our findings. Provide fairly priced goods, offer self-checkout and other conduits of convenience, and make sure your products are in stock. Once you’ve checked these boxes, you can start getting creative.

In-location experiences are increasingly creative. Are you keeping up?

We know that 33% of consumers prefer shopping in-person because of the feel of it. That is, they literally prefer to feel and interact with products.

Capitalize on the customer’s natural gravitation towards immersion. Don’t simply provide the products that a consumer wants to touch or try on. Provide an experience that nudges (or shoves) them towards a sale while also providing a lasting memory.

I can’t cite Canada Goose’s cold rooms frequently enough as an example of what can happen when retailers embrace intelligent eccentricity. These rooms offered shoppers the opportunity to test Canada Goose coats in an ice-sculpture-laden, below-zero room within the store. One journalist called the cold room “the best retail experience of the year”.

With a single experience, Canada Goose managed to:

● Assure customers of its products’ effectiveness

● Nudge the shopper towards a sale by removing the “what if it doesn’t work” excuse

● Provide a memorable, one-of-a-kind retail experience

Let Canada Goose be an inspiration for what is possible when you truly recognize the boundless potential of in-location experiences.


With e-commerce providing quicker shipping times and physical retailers implementing new consumer-facing innovations seemingly every day, consumers will shop where:

● The experience is convenient

● The experience is memorable

● They feel valued

A memorable experience is not always a unique one. Large chain retailers like Walmart continue to gobble up market share despite having a formulaic approach to in-location experiences. Obviously, the formula is working. In a sense, Walmart’s popularity underscores that consumers consider a consistent experience to be a positive experience.

While such consistency should be the building block for your in-location experiences, don’t be afraid to differentiate. Build unique customer experiences on top of the foundation—good customer service, efficient checkout, quality products, etc.—and your organization will reap the fruits of the retail resurgence.



This article was written by Bobby Marhamat from Retail Customer Experience. News Features and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to