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Customer Happiness Circle: More success thanks to satisfied customers – new blog series

Customer Happiness Circle: More success thanks to satisfied customers – new blog series

To the German article

Welcome to the Customer Happiness Circle! This new blog series works just like self-coaching and helps you to focus on the topic of "happy customers". Because that's what matters in the end, isn't it? Johannes Altmann is an expert in this field and introduces you to what you can expect from this blog series. You can also use the self-check to test how well you are already positioned in this area and where there's still room for improvement.

Free self-check

How customer-oriented is your company and online store? Do you make your customers happy, or, if not, do you lack the time to fix this? Take the self-assessment now by answering 25 questions. You will then receive a detailed report with a benchmark of how customer-oriented you are compared to other online stores.

Does shopping make us happy?

For 20 years now, I have been dealing with the optimization of online stores and the question: how can we make customers happy when shopping? But first, I always have to ask myself the critical question of whether shopping can make people happy at all. We quickly think of shopping addiction, the problems of consumerism, and the superficiality of humanity. Then I stroll through Munich's Kaufinger Strasse and watch beaming people who are finally able to stroll from store to store with their shopping bags again. Sometimes the whole family, sometimes a crowd of women laughing loudly or men hurrying along with Starbucks cups and a bag from Lodenfrey. Yes, shopping can make people happy. It's our reward in a stressful everyday life or simply an enjoyable diversion. We get joy from new products, a bargain, a long-cherished wish, or the little things in life that we can buy.


My observation is not a subjective perception, but is confirmed by countless research results. The consumer is the most well-researched lifeform on the planet. Market researchers, psychologists, and neuroscientists are constantly coming up with new ideas on how to measure reactions in the brain and understand behavior in response to advertising, packaging, stores, and products. They send test subjects into MRI scanners to open product packaging. Subjects walk through shops wearing special glasses that record pupil changes, and researchers observe where their eyes wander and where they stop.

And nowhere is the consumer more transparent than on the internet. 86% of all websites are tracked with Google Analytics. The German provider econda tracks billions of ecommerce data to provide its customers with the clearest possible picture of consumers in online stores. We can observe click behavior on heat maps and try to understand customers.

The hype around conversion optimization

When I founded my company Shoplupe in 2003, I simply wanted to make stores better. Like engineers, we have tirelessly searched for the inconsistencies that unsettle customers, leading them to abandon a purchase. During this time, the topic of conversion optimization has become more and more hyped. Numerous consultants have dedicated themselves to the conversion rate, which ultimately only measures the rate at which a store converts reach into real purchases. Like insurance agents, the optimizers ran around the country boasting about the best closing rate. But many stores are still unable to measure whether a completed sale was ultimately followed by a cancellation or a return.

Today we know that a satisfied customer may leave a positive rating on review portals and Trusted Shops, ekomi, etc., but may still never return to the store. Customer satisfaction in ecommerce is just a snapshot of the last order and in no way leads to customer retention or long-term loyalty.


The most important driver for a high conversion rate is the loyal customer

The industry around the store operator always adapts to the current conditions in the market. For almost two decades, the focus was exclusively on the new customer, who was won through a versatile set of marketing measures. Marketers shoveled traffic from all channels and countless pages into the store and converted it into customers. Search engine consultants, Google experts, and content agencies contributed to the fulfilment of this goal. That world hardly exists anymore. Every marketing discipline has become more complicated and more expensive. In the meantime, traffic has had to be refined even more. SEO consultants became conversion optimizers.

Regular customers matter

A simple look at Google Analytics reveals that the most important factor is regular customers. They are more likely to make a purchase, buy more and become more loyal with each subsequent order. Customer loyalty means success in retail. Today, my team and I deal with all facets of customer happiness. We have found that our work on cognitive ease is an important building block for happiness. But we also know that people love stories, remember them, and like to share them with others. We observed what delights and makes people happy when shopping and looked into the psychology of happiness.

This is what the "Customer Happiness Circle" is all about

I would like to share my experiences, thoughts, and theories with you in the regular Customer Happiness Circle at Shopware. It's not about quick to-dos, 10 tips for a better store, or a few pixel optimizations. Customer happiness is business strategy and the monthly blog post is information, motivation and self-coaching.

We developed the Customer Happiness Pyramid to illustrate the best building blocks for inspiring your customers. Each month I will explore one building block, give examples, and set you a task for your team. This way you can have internal discussions, collect ideas, and further develop your company and your online store in a customer-oriented way.

#1 Usability

In his best-selling book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", the American psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains how our brain works in principle. He illustrates that, deep down in their roots, humans are too fond of taking the easiest path. We want to solve problems intuitively without much effort or thinking. This effortlessness is called "cognitive ease", and it leads to happy behavior. Today, classic usability is the basis of a sensible store, and yet it's always a real challenge. So this slot is about perfect usability, how to put your store to the test again and again, and consistently develop it further.

#2 Experience

Today, more than ever, real desires are being aroused via social media. There are stories that people tell, philosophies, attitudes to life, or simply the perfect advice. Through originality and stimulation, we ideally create a real experience and make the store, the brand, and the products unique. Where do you belong, what is the story and where does it take place? Your challenge for slot 2.

#3 Brand belonging

We want to live as individual a life as possible and strive for our own perfect lifestyle. Every person is a brand! Nevertheless, belonging is so important and a real factor for happiness. While the church or even clubs are increasingly losing members and can hardly offer any sense of belonging, companies, and brands take over these roles. Why do consumers become fans of companies, why do some companies seem desirable and where does the attraction come from? I explain this in slot 3.

#4 Touchpoints

Customers come across your store in different places and also land on different pages within the store. There's no doubt that the number of touchpoints is increasing and that means an increase in expenditure which can make you despondent. Which touchpoints do you actually have, which are important, how can you evaluate them, and what should be your priorities for developing them further? I discuss these points in slot 4.

#5 Customer cluster

Some talk about personas, others about target groups, and some companies work with milieu studies or generation models. Everyone tries to cluster customers and simplify them through systematics. What systems are there, what are their benefits and how can you represent your customers and their needs? You'll find out in slot 5.

#6 Continuity

Customer orientation is not a project – it is a philosophy and will accompany you constantly in your company. It is not always easy to keep an eye on the customer in projects and day-to-day business. I write about my experiences, sensible methods, and the ideal way of working in slot 6.

Take the free self-check to learn what you can improve in the field of customer happiness!

About the blog series

Why Customer Happiness Circle? It has already become clear that customer happiness is the focus of this series. Do you also count yourself among the circle of entrepreneurs who recognize the importance of sustainable customer loyalty? Then keep following this blog series – because with self-coaching, you will ensure that you can fully develop the customer centricity you aspire to. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you never miss any news.

The next post in our Customer Happiness Circle blog series

The next part of this blog series is about perfect usability. Find out how you can put your store to the test again and again and consistently develop it further. 

Customer Happiness Circle 1: Perfect usability in an online store

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. With his insights on happy online shoppers, he not only identifies key optimization opportunities, but also helps online merchants achieve more success and happiness.

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