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Customer Happiness Circle 2: enhance your store’s user experience

Customer Happiness Circle 2: enhance your store’s user experience

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Welcome to the Customer Happiness Circle! Only happy customers come back, and only happy customers recommend your store to their friends. This series of blog articles helps you find ways to make your online store customers happy and eager for more.

Episodes so far

  • Episode 0 – Introduction: Customer Happiness expert Johannes Altmann explains why the subject is so important and outlines the building blocks you can use to inspire your customers.
  • Episode 1 – Usability: find out how usability errors come about, how you can avoid them, and what impact good usability has on your users’ enjoyment of your store.
  • Episode 2 – Experience: this episode reveals what impacts customers and offers you an inspiration to conjure up an unforgettable shopping experience

Social media is all about stoking desire, now more than ever. It offers authentic stories, philosophies, lifestyles, or even just that perfect piece of advice you’ve been looking for. An original, stimulating concept can turn a simple browse into a memorable experience so that your store, your brand, and your products leave a lasting and unique impression. But where do you belong? Which story fits your company, and what do you need to do to become an “experience”? Let this episode of the Customer Happiness Circle inspire you with the answers.

Whenever people meet, they tell each other stories. Children love to listen to fairy tales, adults exchange their views and philosophies and the elderly enjoy recalling their own youth. Views and philosophies are an important topic: many current developments are having a dramatic impact on the ways in which we live and consume. Sustainability, regionality, social commitment, and the circular economy are exciting topics to talk and learn about. Stories, after all, are much more than a way to kill time. They are an effective teaching method for conveying facts, experiences, events, norms, and values. Petra Sammer calls this the “knowledge-sharing system” in her book__ “Storytelling”__ [1]. Neurobiologists agree that good storytelling is the best way of sharing knowledge with others. Our brains contain a plethora of existing knowledge to which we can connect new stories, so they are easier to understand and store than isolated facts. That is exactly why every good salesperson is also a good storyteller, and why good businesspeople like to chat about their products and services – it has been this way for millennia. People follow people. 


A study has shown that 90 % of active

Instagram users follow at least one company. 


Instagram is also the most popular channel for consuming and interacting with corporate content. Nonetheless, the best-known influencers have considerably more followers than most companies: we want to hear stories from humans. The world’s most-followed Instagram account belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 489 million followers. By comparison, Germany’s most popular corporate account is that of Mercedes Benz, with only 7.6 million followers. Among retailers, it seems that DM, Rossmann and Douglas have a lot to say. They are among the top corporate accounts in Germany.


Source: Instagram [2] 

Clearly, Instagram is the best platform for telling stories outside of your online store. And Instagram stories are clearly more successful when they are being told by a person rather than a business. People like to follow other people, not companies. This may be a charismatic company owner or a paid influencer; the most important thing is that a person is telling the story

Founders’ stories 

We invited 10 people to an online focus group, hosted by focusgroups.io, to discuss how interested consumers are in__ founders’ stories__. As an example, we used the story of an online sock store that has been making waves lately. The shop goes to great lengths to mention the two founders and their story in many places, while an extensive ‘About us’ page tells their story in detail. 

But the result of the focus group was sobering. The participants barely noticed the story; they did not read the contents, and they did not feel that all the background information had any tangible impact on their loyalty to the shop or their decision to make a purchase. They all agreed that they did want to buy socks – of good quality and at a good price. Regardless of the founders’ story, the arguments presented in the online store were solid and credible. Perhaps socks simply don’t need a great deal of lore. Unlike Elon Musk’s Tesla or James Dyson’s products, they have no impressive engineering or pioneering work behind them. But the information presented by the sock store also didn’t make for good knowledge sharing. We don’t just want to hear stories; we want to pass them on.

The story of how an online store for socks came about simply isn’t very edifying, which makes it unlikely to have a real impact. 


An ‘About us’ section in an online store, then, is more suitable for

generating loyalty than for building your brand.


Armedangels: the story

“We’re told the global clothing industry contributes about 10% to global CO2e emissions,” writes Armedangels in its own online store, offering an honest, open explanation of the problems with the fashion industry. The online store for sustainable fashion and the winner of the Shop Usability Award® launches straight into knowledge sharing. It publishes interesting information you’re immediately itching to share with others. And it comes as a positive surprise that the company is so dedicated to the topic of carbon neutrality and that its vision is, explicitly, to change the world. Even without a visible entrepreneur or maker behind it, the business manages to express a genuine personality, which earns it support and even respect. 


 Armedangels’ unique, attention-grabbing design is the cherry on top of a good story told by a fashion label like no other.  

A textless experience

When it comes to online stores, a good user experience is much more than a well-written story. You don’t always need a gifted copywriter to tell convincing stories and set yourself apart from the crowd. Good design, good customer service, a unique range of well-presented products that are easy to find, and a successful combination of sales and marketing channels – all these factors can turn a store into an experience

More than 10 years ago, we defined a way of measuring the effectiveness of a user experience for the Shop Usability Award, based on the established standard of the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ). Our method revolves around a questionnaire that captures the UX of a product across six dimensions: attractiveness, efficiency, transparency, control, stimulation, and originality. Only the latter two aspects are directly related to the hedonic quality of the store, i.e. the user experience. The other criteria assess the usability of the product (in this case, the store). 

Customers are asked to answer the following questions to give you an insight into the quality of your store’s user experience.


This shows that even a store selling printer cartridges should aim to provide a good user experience. An innovative, rather than uninspired, product range and an inspiring, rather than tiring, store layout contributes to the overall customer happiness.  

In the next episode, we will tell you why some online stores seem to be more attractive than others and how you make your customers feel like this is where they belong.

Free Self-Check

Experience is just one of several areas that contribute to customer happiness. How much attention do you pay to this topic in general? Are there still adjusting screws you can turn? Find out and take the free self-check! 

About Johannes Altmann

johannes-altmann-autorenprofilJohannes Altmann is the founder and managing director of Shoplupe GmbH. He has worked as a market and consumer researcher, usability expert, consultant, speaker, and podcaster. For the last 20 years, in all of these roles, Johannes Altmann has focused on customers in online stores. Initially, he concentrated on usability, today his focus is on customer happiness. He also runs the market research institute Shoplupe and created the Shop Usability Award®. With his insights on happy online shoppers, he not only identifies key optimization opportunities, but also helps online merchants achieve more success and happiness.

This might also interest you:


[1] Sammer, Petra (2014): Storytelling. Die Zukunft von PR und Marketing, 1. Aufl., Köln: O'Reilly Verlag.

[2] https://www.instagram.com/cristiano/ (10/19/2022)


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