/ Shopping

Your views on a good shopping experience

Woman window shopping

A little while ago, we asked you to tell us what makes a great shopping experience. Ex Which? Convo team member Katie Benson joins us once again to sum up your views on what separates a good shopping trip from an awful one.

As we saw last week, M&S took the decision to stop piping music into their stores, in a big victory for frustrated shoppers. Among other things, this decision was based on feedback from customers, so it really can pay to voice your concerns. If something is winding you up, tell the retailer and, if they value their customers, they might make a change.

We recently asked you to share what you think makes a good shopping experience. The changes at M&S should please William:

“For me it starts with FREE parking. Then good prices. Then very small queues at till, and preferably no piped muzac to assault my ear drums”

According to Alfa, it can be something so simple as buying the product you went out to buy:

“A good shopping experience is when you come home with whatever you intended to buy and we seem to come home empty-handed far too often. There was a time when you could go round a few shops and see a different choice of quality products in each shop. Now they all seem to have the same rubbish”

Bricks vs clicks

In the age of online shopping, making a trip to the shops needs to be worth it. VynorHill explained the importance of getting to know a product before you buy:

“Being able to pick up something and have a good look at it before deciding to purchase. Does it feel flimsy or well made; is the size right; does it feel comfortable; does it fit; do the switches and controls work smoothly? These are things one has to take on trust when buying online, relying on customer reviews and professional advice that’s unbiased”

Several of you get frustrated having to wait for help. John Ward described the frustration of waiting for assistance, especially if you don’t get much of a reward for your patience:

“We frequently have to wait far too long for a member of staff to become available and far too often they cannot answer predictable questions about the performance or characteristics of the products. We had a recent experience of that in the lighting department of a John Lewis store where the response to a question was to look up the product on the website which I had to point out contained unreliable information and was the reason for the visit to the store in the first place”

The dance of the conveyor belt

Ever been made to feel like a slow coach at the checkout? You’re not alone. TGM shares her frustrations:

“I hate to say it but the carrier bag charge has not helped. I found staff in some shops would offer to pack bags or help pack bags, now they just throw your stuff down the bottom and sit there drumming their fingers or loudly sighing if you are not packing quickly enough, especially if you are still unpacking the trolley on a large shop”

Ditch the piped music, stock decent products and make it easy to examine them, have plenty of helpful staff and don’t make people feel stressed about packing their shopping. This doesn’t sound like too much to ask, so hopefully the high-street shops are listening and will take a leaf out of M&S’s book, making changes for the better.

Have you had an amazing shopping experience recently? Do you shun the high street and stick to online purchases instead?

Which of these is the most important to you when shopping?

A good selection of products to choose from (40%, 244 Votes)

Plenty of staff who can help when you need them (33%, 204 Votes)

Peace and quiet - no annoying musak (21%, 128 Votes)

None of these - tell us what's important to you in the comments (6%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 616

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John Chapman says:
12 June 2016

How about supermarkets where the products remain in the area you expect them to be. I know the owners want us to browse but often I just want to do a quick shop.


Good point, John. I would like to see category products shelved in alphabetical order – they can do it with herbs & spices so why not cereals, biscuits or tinned fruit?


There is no “good shopping experience ” for me . Its a building you walk into, buy food and get out as quick as possible .


I think this topic covers department stores, furniture shops, fashion retailers, and all other outlets, Duncan. Shopping in some of these can occasionally be pleasant, surely?


Shopping is a “mental ” thing -ie- its loved by some people , its a social experience , its a meet , talk and be merry . I am obviously the “wrong” sex or maybe I am in a small minority only others can decide John .


One of the big furniture sheds near us treats people to a cup of coffee and a cookie on arrival. I expect that is in an attempt to get us to lower our defences. Another wretched marketing import from the USA I expect.


For some shopping is a way to lift the spirits. But at what cost. Wikipedia explains it better than I can @

en.m.wikipedia.org – Retail Therapy.

Malcolm, I think I know myself fairly well by now so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about me, but that has no relevance to the topic which is about shopping experience 🙂

Ed Forte says:
13 June 2016

Size 44 with expander waist and 29 leg for us old folk.. stop catering Just for the youngsters please.


Funnily enough Ed in the home of commercialism the US every size is catered for this country is so controlled in its societal “outlook ” that it would do what no other country would do —- cut off its nose ( profit ) to spite its face . Just look at foreign adverts they cover the whole range of society , not here .


There are numerous clothing retailers [some on-line or mail-order only] that specialise in fitting the fuller figure and make healthy profits doing so. I am surprised trousers at 44 waist/29 leg are hard to find – that’s not exactly off the scale, surely?


The problem with clothes shopping is the changing sizes for women’s clothes. My wife used to be size 10, but now mainly size 8, but her waist and hip measurements are just the same. Size 8 clothes are difficult to find


Phil- an American tale of changing womans sizes . In the late 40,s the national Bureau of Standards created a 1958 standard sizes ranging from 8 to 38 with height indications and a plus or minus sign when referring to girth . As US girth increased so did egos (a quote ) and thus began vanity sizing over the years government standards were ignored and was withdrawn in 1983 a private organisation does it now . There is a long comment on sizes for woman the “bottom ” line being women don’t like reality when it comes to clothing sizes ( not ALL women ) the US organisation is called ASTM International . (dont blame me for the information and comments they are all taken from a US website ) . And for those thinking it came from a biased website its from one of the biggest US magazines know worldwide and respected -time. com ( Time magazine )


A good shopping experience for me would be for everyone visiting the supermarket to leave their shopping bags open, at the ready in their car boot, return their purchases immediately back into their trolley and bag them when returning to their vehicle. This speeds up the checking out process considerably and prevents long queues and bad tempers forming at busy times.

As an anecdote, I would take great pleasure in a nice cup of free coffee, listening to one of my favourite country music singers in the background, and then take a few rides, first up and down the stores escalator and then the lift, (just for the sheer fun of it!) and then find the most handsome young male salesperson within sight to pay for my purchases, (as they don’t suffer pre-menstrual tension like some of the young lady assistants do) in the misguided belief that I was still a young and physically attractive twenty year old again 🙂 🙂 🙂

Back to reality, like .Duncan it’s usually a quick in and out of the store with a shopping list asap.