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by Knowledge@Wharton
Forbes.com

Paula Courtney found “wow” when she took her daughter to the employee washroom at her local grocery store. A sign by the door instructed workers to remain physically by the side of any customer experiencing a problem until that problem was resolved. Later, when Courtney was in the checkout line, the cashier noticed Courtney’s blueberries were squishy. The cashier insisted on walking back to the produce section to find a fresh box.

For Courtney, chief executive of The Verde Group, a Toronto retail research and consulting firm, that was a “wow” shopping experience.

New Wharton research finds that 35% of shoppers have had an extraordinary retail experience in the past six months. But in order to hit that mark, retailers must deliver on as many as 10 different elements of the shopping experience simultaneously. Retailers are rewarded when shoppers tell others about their experience. “Peoples’ expectations are pretty high. It’s easy to [fall short of those expectations], and hard to eclipse [bad experiences, even] with something that’s over-the-top,” says Wharton marketing professor Stephen Hoch. “Bitching and moaning is more common than praise.”

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