The eCommerce Customer Journey encompasses all of the different touchpoints where a customer interacts with a company, product or branding online. These touchpoints include marketing, user interfaces, payment, delivery and the quality of the product itself. By understanding your customer’s journey fully it gives online retailers the opportunity to adapt to customer trends and develop a service that is completely tailored to their own customers.
Over the last decade the internet has embedded itself firmly in society as a viable, if not preferable place for retail sales and because of the internet the world has never been smaller to the average consumer. Where once we were limited to the products and services of local businesses in our community, we are now free to choose from any number of eCommerce sites globally. This has given customers an immense amount of power, but it has also given businesses a vast wealth of knowledge about each individual consumer.
In this article we want to help you understand the eCommerce Customer Journey fully and give you the tools to leverage that information to grow your business.
The 6 Stages of eCommerce Customer Journey
The first stage of the eCommerce customer journey is brand awareness through marketing or word of mouth. Whether consumers reach your product through social media, roadside billboards, Google Ads or email, your message should always be clear, consistent and recognizable. To ensure that your message is linear a good way to review your strategy is by directly asking your customers questions like “Where did you hear about CompanyX”, or “Is the product what you expected from our advertising?”, on the landing page of your website.
By gathering information like this, you gain up-to-date information directly from your prospective customers, gauge which campaigns have been the most effective and determine if your marketing message is clear.
This stage is all about usability and how clearly you describe each product. UX (or User Experience) is a vital component of any eCommerce site. In the world of eCommerce competition is fierce, attention spans are short and you need to make sure that each customer can navigate your site with ease. Just like the layout of a brick-and-mortar store, the layout of your eCommerce site is extremely important. Modern customers expect it to be easy to find products, located in categories with suggested products based on search history.
Once you have designed your site, the easiest way to maintain a user-friendly design is to ask users exactly what they think of the layout, product descriptions and imagery used on your product pages. With very little differentiation in the global market, UX could give you that all-important competitive edge.
At this point your customers are already impressed. They loved your branding and were easily able to find the products that they wanted. They may even have added some additional items to their basket, but now it’s time to pay. Similarly to the consideration stage, this is very much reliant on how easily your customers can complete the transaction. Keep the payment process short and easy to follow, with possible options like being able to save card details for future purchases. This is a common tactic used to encourage customers to keep coming back by making it even easier to purchase from your site again.
This is also an ideal time to ask for feedback. Ask which parts of the process went well and which areas can be improved upon. At this point it is easier to sell more based on customer feedback. Check out how you can automate upsell offers using Feedbackly at this stage of the process.
Now that the payment has been processed it’s time to get the product to your customer as efficiently as possible. This stage is where you earn the trust of your customers.
Having accepted their payment you are naturally expected to fulfill your end of the deal. It’s important to ensure that your delivery process is clearly laid out, and that the order is shipped within a short period after purchase. A good way to help put the customer’s mind at ease is to outline information on delivery time, costs and returns policies right from the outset to ensure that there is no confusion. Depending on the carrier you can also offer to track the delivery, giving your customer the peace of mind that the product is in good hands. It’s important to remember that for the customer the sale isn’t complete until the product is in their hands.
This is another integral part of the customer journey, and will determine how likely the customer is to use your eCommerce site again. The only way to truly know if you have a good product is to ask customers directly. Send a follow up mail after deliver and ask if the product fulfilled expectations, was it as advertised and is the quality of the product up to standard. This will ensure less returns, less customer churn and will help you to develop new products/services for the next stage of your growth.
Even in this new age of a global internet-based market, loyalty has remained one of the most valuable aspects of customer retention and growth. It is as important in eCommerce as it is to your local butcher or convenience store. The final stage of the eCommerce Customer Journey is a culmination of all of the experiences to date. Send your customers a short NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey to find out how likely they are to recommend your product to others, you can even ask them to review/promote your site on social media if they were happy with the service. Build a trusted brand where your customers become your biggest advocates and watch your sales grow.
Each stage of the customer journey is an opportunity to engage with customers and ask for feedback. However, monitoring that data in such large quantities and from different collection points can be daunting for most companies, which is where Feedbackly shines. At Feedbackly, our aim is to save the customer experience industry from the curse of single-channel feedback collection by providing a solution that enables you to seamlessly collect and analyze data from every stage of the customer journey, all from one, user friendly dashboard.
Find out how Feedbackly can help your eCommerce site build a world-class customer experience here or get started with mapping your customer journey with our Customer Journey University 2.0 ebook:
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.