September 22, 2016
Your eCommerce customer’s journey starts with researching a product and ends with making a purchase. A happy customer experience builds the foundation for a successful eCommerce business.
You can delight your customers at each stage, or you could annoy them. The outcome from both will be amplified by word of mouth.
You need to map each and every step in this journey, to simplify the purchase process and maximize the likelihood of a conversion.
Here are the initial steps that you need to take:
1. Understanding Consumer Persona
When you have a thorough understanding of your customers or prospects, you can make sure they are getting the desired experience when they visit your website. You need to capture clients’ details to know them better.
These details would help you find out more about them, for instance, their profession, location and preferences. You need to go deeper into their lifestyle to understand what kind of products and services they require. Then you need to understand and evaluate your offerings and experience against their preferences.
2. Stages in The Customer Journey
Each customer will go through some steps in the buying process to be able to complete the purchase. The first stage, usually, is customers looking up information on search engines or on social channels.
The second step involves choosing the best one out of the lot and the third is to make a purchase decision. The journey doesn’t end here. After making a purchase, the customers use the services and share their feedback. Happy clients make repeat purchases while the unhappy ones look for alternatives.
3. Mapping Customer Interaction
Once you have an understanding of the consumer persona and the stages in the purchase process, you need to know how the user will interact with your website in moving from one stage to the other.
Each of the pages that the user visits on your site before making a decision will be covered in the interaction mapping process. Here are some questions that you can ask while mapping the customer journey:
• How does the customer land on your site?
• How is the offering different from the competitors in the market?
• How can users find relevant services?
• Is the customer able to understand the offering and its benefits clearly?
• What is the process to make a choice between the offerings?
• What are the steps in the checkout process?
4. Listing the Problem Areas
After you have defined all the customer touch points on your website, you need to gather all the problem areas. You need to analyze why some customers are leaving your site after visiting the home or the pricing page or abandoning the cart.
Use tools like Google Analytics to collect information about customer touch points that have issues.
It is important to ensure that each bottleneck in the client’s journey is resolved for achieving the desired level of conversions.
Here are some essential aspects of the customer journey that you need to work on, to improve the overall customer experience:
a. Product Features
You need to ensure the customer can find the key product features easily on your site. The product features must be clearly explained along with the benefits, so the user can quickly take a decision.
You need to understand that while studying the features of your product, the user is in the research phase of the buying process.
Many customers would be leaving your site after reviewing the product features.
Here is how you can analyze the gaps and fill them:
- How are the characteristics different from competing products in the market?
- Are the product features clearly explained?
- Is there a FAQ section that could help clarify more points?
- Are the features supported with the relevant call to action buttons?
- Are the business benefits of the features being communicated clearly?
b. Service and Support
’70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.’
There are various stages in the customer journey where they may need assistance:
- Understanding the product features entirely.
- While taking a product trial.
- In the payment and sign-up process.
- Using the product after having made the purchase.
You need to simplify the process by which a customer avails assistance on your site. You can do this by analyzing the current process and work on the gaps:
- Is there a live chat feature available? Is it able to meet the assistance requirements of all the customers appropriately?
- What is the process to resolve customer queries sent through an e-mail? How quick is the resolution?
- Is there a contact number to get in touch with the support staff? How easily can the customer find it on the website?
- Are the support features and benefits clearly communicated on the website?
Customer feedback forms can be used to analyze if the service and support features on the website are fulfilling client expectations or not.
These features, therefore, must be aligned to cater to each stage of the customer journey.
c. Contact Forms
You need to test your contact forms on an ongoing basis, to ensure simplification of the process of customers filling them out. Add only the relevant fields in the contact forms to avoid annoying your site visitors.
The focus should be on capturing the type of requirements your customer has. Variants of the CTA button on the contact form must be tested to get the best results.
It is also important to provide alternative methods of contact, such as the official e-mail and contact number to make it easier for customers who do not wish to fill in the contact form.
d. Reviews and Testimonials
You need to ensure customers trust your business and its services. Reviews and testimonials on the website play a critical role in the purchase decision.
Testimonials help the customers understand the benefits of the service more effectively. You can also add video testimonials of clients to improve engagement and conversions.
e. Website Performance
’51 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. say site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase.’ (Source)
The performance of your website is an important part of the customer experience with your business. You need to ensure your eCommerce site is optimized for search engines. It should be responsive to mobile devices, to be able to reach out to mobile users. The load speed of the website also must be optimized periodically, to ensure better usability.
You must make sure the information on your site has consistency in a flow of information and design. Testing the website for usability bugs is an ongoing process to ensure its smooth functioning.
The customer journey on your eCommerce site is not a linear process. Each user will choose a different path to find information and take an action on the site. You need to segment your users and track their journey to understand them better. You need to align this information with all the touch-points to ensure each step is simplified and made user-friendly.
Abhishek Talreja is working as a digital marketing manager with Enterprise Monkey. He has a keen interest in technology and small business productivity. Enterprise Monkey helps SMEs and not-for-profits save time and money and increase revenue through automation, optimization and intelligence.