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Differences between online and offline customer experience

Following on from our previous post, let’s look into the differences between online and offline customer experience and how shoppers behave towards both.

Do consumers behave in different ways when they’re shopping online vs. offline? And if so, what can you do to make sure you’re providing the best experience for your ecommerce store customers. Let’s take the following and discuss what they mean for both offline and online stores:

  • Location
  • Ease
  • Understanding


In offline stores, location is super important because you do not want to be too close to your competition.

There is much more effort and time involved in visiting a physical store and so this increases their chance of buying.

However, ecommerce stores can be accessed by a worldwide audience, and aren’t limited to those nearest. However, competition is often only a click away, meaning if you don’t manage to convince your customer to buy from you, it’s easy for them to look elsewhere.

It’s a challenge for ecommerce stores to keep their potential customers’ attention.

What this means for your ecommerce store: It’s very easy for your customers to leave your website and seek the product elsewhere, and often they do not come back. In this scenario, be sure your website is as clear as possible and removes any friction the potential customer might have. If you can get them to trust you, they’re much more likely to do business with you, and not your competitor.


In offline stores, retailers try and group similar items together so it’s easy for people to buy things from the same section. There’s a reason why all the fruits and vegetables are together.

Ecommerce stores still need to take ease into use, because customers want to know how fast they can make their purchase.

You should optimize your store by making the check-out process the simplest you can. Giving your customers unnecessary friction will play a role in them leaving your store and making the purchase elsewhere.

What this means for your ecommerce store: Keep the buying process as easy as possible. Allow customers to check out as guests, for example. Or when filling in their details, don’t demand they fill in a 100-word form. It takes far too long, and the sale doesn’t depend on it.  


In a physical store, your customer service staff are there to help any customers who might need support before making a purchase.

Online this is harder, but not impossible. Providing useful content, FAQs or multiple ways to contact you if they have any questions or problems.

What this means for your ecommerce store: For products that might need further explanation, be sure to present the extra information in a place where the potential customer can access it as soon as they need it. For example, if your ecommerce store sold electric pushbikes, you might want to add videos to the product pages of the different ways people use different bikes. This way, there is no confusion regarding what can and can’t be done with each bike.

Online shoppers and offline customer experience do happen in similar ways, however, there is much less commitment involved when interacting with your ecommerce store.

Any ecommerce store misses out on the human element that a retailer can offer. Because of this, it’s even more important you create a trustworthy, genuine experience for your current and potential customers.

Make sure your online and offline customer experience is as helpful as possible. If you make the experience seamless and effortless, you’ll be able to sell both online and offline.

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