Customer experience is the key to eCommerce success. It is how you make your customers feel when they interact with your online store, products, and service.
In this article, we will explain what customer experience is, why it matters, and how you can enhance the online shopper journey.
What Is the eCommerce Customer Journey?
The eCommerce customer journey is a series of steps a potential customer takes before eventually purchasing. It starts with becoming aware of the product or service, considering whether it meets their needs, and then buying it.
But the journey doesn't end there. The eCommerce customer journey also includes post-purchase engagement and loyalty, which can lead to repeat purchases and referrals.
So why is the eCommerce customer journey important? Because it helps you understand your customers better, optimize your marketing strategies, and deliver a better customer experience.
By mapping out the eCommerce customer journey, you can identify the touch points where customers interact with your brand, the pain points where they face challenges or frustrations, and the opportunities where you can delight them and encourage them to take action.
The eCommerce customer journey is not linear or uniform. It can vary depending on the product, the customer, and the channel. However, there are some common stages that most customers go through, such as awareness, consideration, decision, and retention.
In this article, we will explain each stage of the eCommerce customer journey and how you can improve yours to increase conversions and retention.
Stages of The eCommerce Customer Journey
To understand and optimize your eCommerce customer journey, you need to know the different stages that customers go through before and after buying from you. In this section, we will explain the five main stages of the eCommerce customer journey and how to improve each one.
This is when potential customers discover your brand and products through various channels, such as social media, search engines, blogs, or word-of-mouth. They are looking for solutions to their problems or needs, and they become aware of your offerings.
At this stage, your goal is to capture their attention and interest and educate them about your value proposition. You can do this by creating engaging content, running targeted ads, optimizing your SEO, and leveraging social proof.
This is when potential customers evaluate your products and compare them with other options. They are looking for more information, such as features, benefits, reviews, testimonials, or demos.
They are also considering factors such as price, delivery, warranty, or customer service. At this stage, your goal is to persuade them that your products are the best solution for their needs and that they can trust you as a reliable seller.
You can do this by providing clear and compelling product pages, offering free trials or samples, showcasing customer success stories, and providing live chat or phone support.
This is when potential customers are ready to buy from you. They have narrowed down their choices and decided that your products are the ones they want. They are looking for a smooth and easy checkout process, a secure payment method, and a confirmation of their order.
At this stage, your goal is to remove any friction or hesitation that might prevent them from completing their purchase. You can do this by offering multiple payment options, displaying trust badges, providing free shipping or discounts, and sending order confirmation emails.
This is when existing customers continue to buy from you. They have had a positive experience with your products and service, and they are loyal to your brand. They are looking for more value, such as new products, recommendations, rewards, or referrals.
At this stage, your goal is to increase customer lifetime value and advocacy. You can do this by sending personalized emails, offering loyalty programs or coupons, requesting feedback or reviews, and encouraging referrals or social sharing.
This is when customers become brand advocates and actively recommend your products or services to others. This is the most powerful form of marketing, as it’s based on word-of-mouth and referral traffic.
At this stage, your goal is to amplify customer satisfaction and loyalty. You can do this by rewarding customers for their advocacy, featuring them on your website or social media channels, creating user-generated content campaigns, and asking them to join your online community.
How To Create An Online Shopper Journey Map
An online shopper journey map is a visual representation of how customers interact with your eCommerce store, from the moment they become aware of your brand to the moment they make a purchase and beyond.
It helps you understand their needs, expectations, and emotions at each stage of the journey, and identify the opportunities and challenges they face along the way.
Creating an online shopper journey map can help you improve your customer experience, increase conversions, and build loyalty. Here are the steps to create one:
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Before you can map your customer journey, you need to know who your customers are. You can use buyer personas to segment your target audience based on their demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and goals.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers that help you understand their pain points, motivations, and preferences. You can create buyer personas by conducting market research, surveys, interviews, or using analytics tools.
2. Define The Stages Of The Journey
Next, you need to define the stages of the customer journey that your personas go through when they shop online. These stages may vary depending on your business model, product type, and industry.
But, as we’ve already discussed, you need to map out how you’ll work with customers across the five stages of the customer journey.
3. Outline the Touchpoints
A touchpoint is any point of interaction between the customer and your brand, such as a website visit, an email, a social media post, or a phone call.
You need to outline all the touchpoints that occur at each stage of the journey and how they influence the customer's behavior and perception.
You can use analytics tools, customer feedback, or user testing to identify the touchpoints and measure their effectiveness.
4. Gather Customer Insights
To create a realistic and accurate customer journey map, you need to gather insights from your customers' perspectives. You need to understand what they are thinking, feeling, and doing at each touchpoint and stage of the journey.
You can use qualitative and quantitative methods to collect customer insights, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, reviews, ratings, comments, or metrics.
5. Map the Journey
You need to map the customer journey using a visual tool or template that shows the stages of the journey, the touchpoints at each stage, and the customer insights for each touchpoint.
You can use different colors, icons, shapes, or graphs to illustrate the customer journey map and make it easy to understand. You can also add opportunities or pain points that you discover along the way and figure out how you can address them.
6. Add Customer Emotions and Actions
To make your customer journey map more comprehensive and human-centered, you need to add customer emotions and actions at each touchpoint and stage of the journey. Customer emotions are how customers feel about their interactions with your brand, such as happy, frustrated, satisfied, or disappointed.
Customer actions are what customers do as a result of their emotions or needs, such as browsing your website, adding items to their cart, abandoning their cart, or contacting support.
You can use emoticons, words, or scales to indicate customer emotions and actions on your map.
7. Identify Pain Points and Opportunities
One of the main purposes of creating a customer journey map is to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement along the way. Pain points are any issues or challenges that customers face that prevent them from having a positive experience or achieving their goals.
Opportunities are any areas where you can enhance the customer experience or provide more value to customers. You can use symbols, colors, or labels to mark pain points and opportunities on your map.
8. Validate and Iterate
Once you have created your customer journey map, you need to validate it with real data and feedback from your customers. You can use various methods, such as surveys, interviews, or analytics tools, to test your assumptions and verify your findings.
You may discover new insights or gaps in your map that require you to revise or update it. You should also iterate your map regularly to reflect any changes in your business, market, or customer behavior.
9. Use the Journey Map to Drive Improvements
Creating a customer journey map is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end: improving the customer experience and achieving your business goals.
Therefore, you need to use the journey map to drive improvements and actions that will enhance the customer journey and deliver more value to your customers.
To use the journey map effectively, you need to:
Communicate it: Share your journey map with your team, stakeholders, and partners. Explain the purpose, process, and findings of your journey mapping project. Highlight the pain points and opportunities you identified and how they affect the customer experience and your business outcomes. Use storytelling techniques and visual aids to make your journey map engaging and memorable.
Prioritize it: Based on your journey map, prioritize the areas that need improvement or optimization. Consider the impact, feasibility, and urgency of each improvement opportunity. Use a matrix or a scoring system to rank them and decide which ones to focus on first.
Implement it: Based on your priorities, create an action plan that outlines the steps, resources, and timelines for implementing the improvements. Assign roles and responsibilities to your team members and partners. Track and measure the progress and results of your actions using relevant metrics and indicators.
Update it: As you implement your improvements, monitor and evaluate their effects on the customer journey and experience. Collect feedback from your customers and analyze their behavior and satisfaction. Update your journey map accordingly to reflect any changes or new insights. Repeat the process as needed to keep your journey map current and relevant.
Why Is the Customer Journey Necessary For eCommerce Platforms?
The customer journey is necessary for eCommerce platforms because it helps them understand and improve the customer experience, which is crucial for their success and growth.
The customer experience is the sum of all the interactions and emotions that customers have with a brand, from the first contact to the post-purchase stage. It affects customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and ultimately, revenue.
According to a study by PwC, 73% of consumers say that customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and 43% would pay more for greater convenience.
Moreover, 65% of consumers say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising.
By mapping the customer journey, eCommerce platforms can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s needs, expectations, and pain points at each stage of the journey.
They can also identify the opportunities and challenges they face along the way, and how they can address them.
By using the customer journey map to drive improvements, eCommerce platforms can enhance the customer experience and deliver more value to their customers.
They can also align their operations and messaging with customer expectations, leading to more efficient and effective communication and marketing.
How Can You Enhance Your Customer's Experience?
Enhancing your customer's experience is not only beneficial for your customers but also for your eCommerce business. A positive customer experience can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and revenue.
According to a study by Adobe, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy a 10% year-over-year growth, a 10% increase in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.
So how can you enhance your customer's experience and achieve these results? Here are some tips and best practices to follow:
1. Always Ask For Their Feedback
One of the best ways to improve your customer's experience is to ask them for their feedback.
Feedback can help you understand what your customers like and dislike about your eCommerce store, products, and service. It can also help you identify their needs, expectations, and pain points.
You can use various methods to collect feedback from your customers, such as surveys, reviews, ratings, comments, or social media. You can also use tools like GetFeedback to create and manage feedback campaigns across multiple channels.
2. Optimize for Search Engines
Another way to enhance your customer's experience is to optimize your eCommerce store for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you rank higher on search results pages and drive more organic traffic to your store.
SEO can also improve your site's usability, speed, and relevance, which can positively impact your customer's experience.
You can use various techniques to optimize your eCommerce store for SEO, such as conducting keyword research, creating quality content, optimizing your site structure and navigation, using meta tags and schema markup, improving your site speed and mobile-friendliness, and building backlinks.
3. Have Good Customer Support
Having good customer support is essential for enhancing your customer's experience. Customer support is how you help your customers with their questions, issues, or complaints. Customer support can influence your customer's satisfaction, trust, and loyalty.
You can provide good customer support by offering multiple channels of communication, such as phone, email, chat, or social media. You can also use tools like ProProfs Desk to manage your customer support tickets and queries efficiently and effectively.
4. Personalization Is Necessary
Personalization is another way to enhance your customer's experience. Personalization is how you tailor your eCommerce store, products, and marketing to suit your customer's preferences, behavior, and needs.
Personalization can increase your customer's engagement, relevance, and conversion rates.
You can use various methods to personalize your eCommerce store, such as using customer data and analytics, segmenting your customers into groups or personas, creating personalized recommendations or offers, sending personalized emails or messages, or using dynamic content or landing pages.
5. Analyze Customer Behavior
Analyzing customer behavior is also important for enhancing your customer's experience.
Customer behavior is how your customers interact with your eCommerce store, such as what pages they visit, what products they view or buy, what actions they take, or what feedback they leave.
Analyzing customer behavior can help you understand your customer’s needs, motivations, and pain points. It can also help you identify the opportunities and challenges in your customer journey and optimize your eCommerce store accordingly. You can use various tools to analyze customer behavior, but naturally, we think you should give Woopra a try.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, enhancing your customer’s experience is vital for your eCommerce success.
By following the tips and best practices mentioned above, you can create a positive and memorable customer experience that will increase your customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, advocacy, and revenue. Start improving your customer’s experience today and see the difference it makes.