Great “IRL” (in real life) customer experiences are still the exception and not the rule, despite the fact that businesses have never had more ways to communicate with customers. Just as we continually upgrade our software to stay current, we must upgrade our customer experiences to stay relevant Elevating the customer experience has become an urgent issue because online buying has shifted consumers’ perspectives on IRL buying situations. E-commerce has become the unlikely new benchmark for flawless, personal service, to the extent that some women feel their online buying experiences are higher quality than their face-to-face purchase interactions.

Partly, this is because e-commerce eliminates many of the variables that occur in traditional settings, like not being able to find helpful service or discovering that the product that you came for is out of stock. While variables will always occur in people-to-people buying situations, the opportunity is to transform them into the kind of positive interactions that women actively seek out. Traditional businesses can inspire customers through the kind of sensory engagement that is (as yet) impossible online; they can connect with customers by asking questions that help them make better buying decisions; and they can instill customer confidence by providing knowledgeable advice. It is an understatement to say that this “home court advantage” is often under-leveraged.

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