In general, people are pretty intuitive. Shoppers can tell whether a brand has made an effort to understand and cater to their needs. Creating an accessible and enjoyable ecommerce customer journey goes a long way to boost customer loyalty and, in turn, your conversion rate.
Let’s first take a look at what an ecommerce customer journey is and why it’s important.
What is an Ecommerce Customer Journey?
The term ‘ecommerce customer journey’ encapsulates the entirety of a shopper’s experience with an online business. Included in this journey are the many different stages a shopper goes through from their first landing on the site, to the completion of a purchase and beyond.
Why is a Customer Journey Important?
An enjoyable and memorable experience with your brand not only persuades your shoppers to make a purchase now, it keeps them coming back for future purchases as well. Investing the time and energy into optimizing the customer journey will pay off in both conversions and brand loyalty, which translates to even more revenue in the long run.
The Stages of a Customer Journey
When looking at the customer journey, it’s helpful to break it down into stages. There are many ways to do this, but for ecommerce we define the stages as awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy.
The awareness stage is marked by the customer’s first learning of your business. To gain some insight into this stage, it’s helpful to look at where your shoppers are navigating to your site from. Where are they hearing about you and what is getting their attention?
The consideration stage is when your shopper begins to develop a deeper interest in your products. Your shopper sees something they like and decides to browse your site. They may add items to their cart as they go, but until they hit the ‘checkout’ button, they remain in the consideration stage.
The purchase stage occurs when a shopper makes the decision to convert. This typically takes place around the time they click through to the checkout page. At this stage, purchase intent is the highest, but there is still potential for abandonment until the transaction is fully completed.
Even after a shopper has completed a purchase, their customer journey is not over. In the retention stage, a customer’s post-purchase experience is a crucial time for encouraging both customer loyalty and future conversions, and the brand should take steps to nurture its relationship with the newly-obtained customer.
When a brand does a particularly good job of building customer loyalty in the retention stage, they may successfully move some customers along to the advocacy stage. The advocacy stage serves as the final stop in the customer journey, where a shopper has now become invested in your brand. They are a loyal customer who engages with your business regularly and is likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
How to Create a High Converting Customer Journey
As one of the primary landing pages for your site, the home page should entice shoppers to click deeper and browse around without scaring them away. Engagement and lead capture strategies can be useful here, but make sure you give shoppers a chance to look around first.
Once they’ve had a bit of time to get acquainted with your site, you can present shoppers with an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, make them aware of your latest offers and deals, or offer them an exclusive discount that will encourage them to make a purchase.
On your product pages, the objective is to move your shopper through the consideration stage, all while providing the most enjoyable experience possible. There are many ways to enhance the customer experience while moving shoppers along in their journey.
To increase flexibility and continue communication with customers off-site, you can offer price drop alerts and back in stock notifications. Additionally, providing advanced product recommendations can expand your shoppers’ product awareness, improving their experience by assuring they don’t miss anything.
By adding to their cart, your shopper has indicated a progression through the consideration stage. They are now on the brink of the purchase stage, and enhancing their experience with personalized strategies can help them make that jump.
Free shipping thresholds add value for shoppers while encouraging them to buy more. Offer intelligent recommendations to help them reach the threshold and watch your average order value soar.
Save your cart campaigns can help add some flexibility to the shopping experience. If your shopper isn’t quite ready to make a purchase for whatever reason, a cart saver email campaign makes it incredibly easy for them to pick up where they left off later. They will appreciate the convenience, and you get to recover the sale.
Once your shopper has reached the checkout page, it is safe to assume they have entered the purchase stage; however, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will complete their purchase. Personalizing and streamlining their experience on this page can help combat abandonment and ensure they leave satisfied with their order.
You may want to add some last-minute product recommendations at this stage. This gives your shopper one last chance to add anything they might have missed to their cart. UpSellit’s Behavior Parsing technology uses shoppers’ behavioral data to predict the products they’re most likely to love.
Three Common Mistakes to Avoid
1. Don’t Create One-Size-Fits-All Experiences
All shoppers are NOT created equal. Every visitor to your site will have a different journey, so it’s important to personalize your strategies to cater to the needs of each different buyer persona. When you make that extra effort to create a custom experience for your shoppers, you enhance their journey even more.
2. Don’t Forget About Other Channels
Your shoppers use a variety of channels to shop online, and the experience you create on your site should cater to that. Create an omnichannel experience by optimizing your mobile experience, implementing SMS campaigns, or utilizing cart preserver emails to close the cross-channel gap.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Playing the guessing game when it comes to what your shoppers will respond to is confusing and ineffective, so turn to the data to drive your decisions. Testing your strategies will help you see what works and what doesn’t. You should continually optimize to ensure the user experience you provide remains engaging and effective.
Always Make Your Customers Your Priority
Although your goal as a business is to increase conversions, it’s important to keep your customer as the main focus. By creating a better user experience for your customer, you make converting easier and more inviting, which in turn increases your conversion rate. Plus, the more shoppers enjoy their experience with your brand, the more likely they are to return for future purchases, increasing customer lifetime value and creating even more conversions in the long term.
To learn more about how to cater to different shoppers on your site, check out UpSellit’s 5 Types of Shoppers & How to Win Their Heart. This infographic covers the unique needs of any consumer who may happen upon your site, so you can learn how to create a customized customer journey for each.