Ordinary customer experience: Conceptualization, characterization, and implications

Kristina Heinonen*, Michaela Lipkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Although businesses strive to create extraordinary customer experiences, it is the ordinary experiences that form the backbone of customers' lives and hold the greatest potential for creating meaning and relevance. This conceptual study aims to shed light on the sources, characteristics, and mechanisms of the ordinary customer experience by conducting a scoping review of literature from various fields, including sociology, philosophy, consumer behavior, psychology, marketing, and management. The findings demonstrate that researchers characterize the ordinary customer experience as familiar, simple, and mundane—and thus often taken for granted—and as formed through customers' daily routines. This study defines the ordinary experience as the accumulation of a customer's perceptions, feelings, and sensemaking of customer-specific, contextual, and offering-related stimuli that are meaningfully and purposefully present in the customer's daily life. The ordinary experience representing a lived and reflective phenomenon is characterized as peripheral, predictable, neutral, acceptable, longitudinal, and convenient. Despite its seemingly mundane nature, the ordinary customer experience provides valuable insights into customers' sensemaking of experiences. By reconciling and bridging understandings from various fields, this study presents a comprehensive view of the ordinary customer experience and contributes to a more granular and holistic understanding of the ordinary in the marketing domain. It offers an alternative perspective on customer experience that extends beyond the conventional ordinary–extraordinary continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1720-1736
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 16.05.2023
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • customer sensemaking
  • extraordinary customer experience
  • lifeworld
  • marketing insights
  • ordinary customer experience
  • scoping review

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management


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