We live in an on-demand, overnight shipping, instant download culture. Consumers have more choices than ever before. They can shop from a variety of retailers, both online and offline. They can even shop online and pick it up in-store—or shop in-store and have it ordered to their house.
Ecommerce businesses must go above and beyond to provide a seamless customer journey. But not every e-tailer is a vast, multinational conglomerate. How do companies create seamless customer journeys without having to over-invest?
A seamless customer journey is easy and enjoyable for the customer. It is a journey free of friction that meets the customer's needs. Customers with a seamless customer journey will be more inclined to convert and become repeat customers, increasing customer acquisition and retention.
What is the ecommerce customer journey?
The ecommerce customer journey is the path a customer takes from when they first become aware of your brand to when they checkout with their purchase. It includes all of the touchpoints, and pain points, that the customer encounters with your brand, both online and offline.
Some stages of the ecommerce customer journey include:
Awareness stage: When the customer first becomes aware of your product.
Consideration stage: When the customer starts to consider your product in earnest.
Conversion stage: When new customers make a first-time purchase.
Loyalty stage: When loyal customers continue to make purchases.
Advocacy stage: When your most loyal customers start to refer others.
The ecommerce customer journey is vital because it is a critical factor in customer conversion. Customer conversion is more likely when they have a positive experience throughout the journey. Today, customers have more varied touch points across more significant volumes of time. They are less likely to be loyal and likely to churn.
The importance of a seamless ecommerce journey
We all want to understand our customers. But there's a lot to track. Your ecommerce customer journey map brings it all together. Building and improving a seamless ecommerce journey is critical because it helps you:
Inform the rest of your ecommerce marketing: A good customer journey provides the framework for the rest of your marketing strategy, such as how you manage landing pages, product pages, and search engine presence for your potential customers.
Increase customer satisfaction: Customers who have a seamless customer journey are more likely to be satisfied with their experience. Increased satisfaction will lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
Increase conversion rate: Customers are more likely to purchase when the experience of purchasing is frictionless. You don't want to give your customers a reason not to buy from your online store.
Reduce customer churn: Customers who have a seamless customer journey are less likely to churn. This means you will keep more of your customers and spend less on acquiring new ones.
Overall, a seamless customer journey reduces the friction between the customer and the business, facilitating better relationships and improving revenue. When you optimize your customer journey for your target audience, you reduce your bounce rate, improve brand loyalty, and overall improve your ROI.
How to create a seamless ecommerce journey
You have many options for creating a seamless ecommerce journey for your customers, depending on your current metrics and marketing strategy. And you can't always tell whether your ecommerce journey is genuinely "seamless" without consulting your marketing analytics.
Here are a few critical paths to improving your buyer's journey.
1. Build omnichannel context into your customer support
When customers interact with your brand across multiple channels, it's essential to retain the context of those interactions so that you can provide a seamless experience. This means keeping track of things like what the customer has been looking at, what questions they've asked, and what issues they've had.
Example: If a customer starts a live chat with your customer support team about a product they're interested in, you can use the chat transcript to look up the product information and answer their questions quickly—even if they call in over the phone or send an email later. This reduces frustration and friction.
2. Track customer behavior through multiple channels
It's also important to track customers through various channels to get a complete picture of their journey. This means tracking where they came from, what pages they visited, and what actions they took. Build attribution models to identify which channels are driving sales.
Example: If a customer visits your website from a social media ad, you can track them through it and see what pages they visit and what products they add to their shopping cart. This type of information can help you target them with more relevant ads in the future.
3. Consider a headless ecommerce platform
A headless ecommerce platform can help you create a more seamless customer journey by decoupling the front-end and back-end of your ecommerce store. This means that you can design and develop a custom front-end that meets your customers' needs while still using a powerful back-end to manage your inventory, orders, and payments.
Example: Shopify is a headless ecommerce platform that allows you to create a custom front-end using any framework or language. This allows you to design a front-end checkout process and experience tailored to your brand and customer needs.
4. Test the user experience (UX) of your website
Your ecommerce portal should be easy to navigate and use. Customers should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Use clear and concise language, and make sure your website is mobile-friendly. A lot of optimization begins with testing. Sometimes you can't identify UX problems until actual customers test it.
Example: Amazon's website is straightforward to use. The product search bar is prominently displayed, and the product categories are clearly labeled. Customers can easily find the products they are looking for, no matter their device.
5. Offer a variety of payment options
Customers should be able to pay for their purchases how they want. Offer various payment options like credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. Otherwise, they may need to context-shift from purchasing to trying to find the right payment option.
Example: Walmart offers a variety of payment options, including cash, credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. These options make checking out faster, regardless of payment preference.
6. Personalize the customer experience
Customers should feel like you know them and understand their needs. Personalize the customer experience by using things like customer segmentation and targeted marketing. The more personalized the customer experience is, the more effective it will be.
If you don't have detailed information about a customer, you can still use customer personas and knowledge about your customer demographics to personalize content.
Example: Netflix uses customer segmentation to personalize the customer experience. Netflix creates personalized recommendations for each customer based on their viewing history. Recommendations make it easier for users to find new content they will enjoy.
7. Use technology to your advantage
Use marketing and analytics technology to automate tasks, improve communication, and provide a more personalized experience across your ecommerce customer journey. Marketing attribution technology will help you track your customers where they are and fine-tune your messaging—while SMS marketing campaigns will keep your business top-of-mind.
Example: Many retailers today use AI chatbots to answer customer questions and provide support. Chatbots let human customer service representatives (CSRs) focus on more complex issues. However, these chatbots also escalate to human representatives when necessary—so automated chat doesn't hurt customer retention or experience.
With the above ecommerce tips, you can start to build a seamless ecommerce journey for your customers. But also know that what your customers want may evolve. With the right analytics, you can see when your audience is shifting—and react before you feel a significant impact.
Start increasing conversion now
Follow the tips in this blog post, and you will be on your way to providing a better customer experience and driving more sales. But building a journey is about more than just "tips." It's also about the tools that you use to implement your strategy.
Emotive Attribution makes it easier to improve your ecommerce customer journey, tracking your customer experience across your marketing channels. Use your all-in-one dashboard to track the performance of your campaigns and your customer interactions. Automate and optimize your campaigns with ease—and quantify the results of your new strategies.
There's an easier way to improve customer journeys. Try it out with Emotive.