Understanding the Customer Journey to Create Excellent Customer Experiences in Bookshops
This study investigates the customer journey and identifies the drivers of excellent customer experience in bookshops. Five research methods—in-depth interview, focus group, participant observation, Zaltman metaphors elicitation technique, and collective stereographic photo essay—were run on eleven Italian bookshops involving more than 1 100 individuals overall. The contribution of this study is twofold. First, it illustrates the process to adopt when mapping the customer journey and analyzing the customer experience. Specifically, it proposes that customer experience can be deeply understood only via a broad research design involving several different profiles of participants, that are managers and booksellers, customers of different familiarity with bookshops (infrequent, frequent and loyal customers), people that were not familiar with the investigated bookshops but that have been invited on purpose, and people that have special interactions (café and events) with the bookshops. Second, results show three key aspects of the topic: (1) The customer experience world, based on rituals not on transactions; (2) The drivers of excellent customer experience in bookshops, which are customization, integration, and participation; (3) The complex role and broad competences of the ideal bookseller.