Understanding the eCommerce customer journey
Own the customer journey, expand your network and achieve your eCommerce goals with a DXP.
It’s hard enough to catch your customers’ attention when standing right in front of them. It is even harder to catch and keep customers' attention in a digital environment where the amount of information is overwhelming, attention spans are shorter than ever, and competition does nothing but increase. To remain competitive in the digital landscape, the task of keeping your customers' attention needs to be a constant evaluation that you are able to flow with and act on in real-time. By understanding and paying attention to the customer journey at all touchpoints throughout your eCommerce experience, your customers become a part of your team where gaining and maintaining their attention is fluent and effortless.
Are you aware of the behavior of your customers throughout all touchpoints? Buyers are no longer empowered by a simple eCommerce funnel, and since every user path is different from another, vendors are asked to establish a brand presence throughout the journey and transform the user's attention into a loyal relationship, or in a profitable funnel at least.
What is a customer journey?
Have you bought anything online recently? The most probable answer is be yes. Let's think about it for a minute. Before actually making the decision of buying that ‘thing’ you liked, a purchasing process developed in your mind. It might be that you compared the product with other similar offers from other brands, or maybe you needed a while to consider if the buying process was the right choice. You took a moment to consider if the product you were buying was fulfilling any need or if it will bring you some sort of personal satisfaction. This set of thoughts and processes is the customer journey.
The length of this process and interaction path might be super short –for example, when satisfying a craving– or it might take a few weeks while you consider the buying decision. When the competition and the pricing increase, the journey gets very long, and it could take months to years –as when you're looking for a house. However long the journey is, all customer journeys have decisive stages when building loyal relationships, or a deeper connection between a brand and its users.
What are the stages of a customer journey?
Understanding the eCommerce customer journey opens the possibility for providers to create experiences completely tailored to their user needs and to reach all touchpoints of user-brand interaction.
With the rise of digital transformation, the internet has become the perfect place to find a wide range of products and the competition is fierce. Previously, the possibilities were physically limited and the best place to purchase products was the nearest one. Now, the options have opened globally and clients have an incredible amount of power. Brands still are in charge of leading potential buyers through multiple touchpoints by displaying them content that might catch their attention, but it is the customer that informs these decisions. There are 5 stages customers go through when purchasing a product, or an experience itself, the quality and relative customer satisfaction of the experience at each individual stage determines whether a customer will be interested and loyal to your product, or even a brand ambassador.
The 5 Stages of the Customer Journey
The Moment of Awareness is the first instance a possible user comes in contact with a brand, it could be seeing an advertisement, hearing about the product through word of mouth, interacting with the product, and so on. Whether it's the first time the user acknowledges a brand's existence, or if they have known of it before, the moment of awareness is always a fresh opportunity to acquire and secure new loyal customers and keep your existing customers engaged. Brands that capture their customers in the moment of awareness tend to have a strong brand presence tailored to their targeted customer base and leave a deep-rooted impression of their company, product, or service with all users who are exposed to it.
A brand presence is built from a clear and consistent message, feel, appearance, and experience replicated at all touchpoints in the customer journey. Finding out how effective your brand’s touchpoints perform by evaluating which avenues are getting the most engagement by users, you can begin to understand your customers desires and use this to tailor your brand presence to fully utilize each moment of exposure a customer has with your company’s content.
People browse an eCommerce catalog and evaluate which products they like and potentially want to buy.. In this stage, people ask themselves what are things the product has to offer, what needs does it address, and how it will help them to fulfill them. The customer is evaluating the products or services being offered, and at the same time they are also evaluating the actual experience and interaction they are having while considering purchasing. Is the catalog easy to navigate? Are they able to find what they are looking for? It is crucial to think about how the product is displayed, and how the experience feels for your customers, in order to maintain the traditional shopping experience humans crave and expect.
Consideration has everything to do with the UX design, the description of the products, and the navigation ease of the site. Products should be easy to find, categorized, and also personalized according to the data the site recollects from the interaction with it. You can always make surveys to the users about the things that are working or not on the site, so you can earn a competitive advantage.
By this moment, consumers have already decided on what they want and why they want it. Some of them might already have added the items to their cart, or some of them are going to add them at this point. For this stage to arrive, you must have succeeded in the previous stages, and now the time for securing the customer and sale has arrived. This process should be short, easy to understand and detailed step by step, so it is simple to follow. Think about it this way: The easier the purchase process is, the more chances of a repurchase there are.
4. Product / Service
This is the stage that truly defines the customer experience: It's the moment the customer actually interacts with your product and tests it out. You can recollect data about this stage by sending an email and asking for feedback about the product and what things will improve the chances of a repurchase.
By building a brand that customers can trust, you achieve the final stage. This one is the culmination of all previous steps and this guarantees the success of messaging delivery across all touchpoints. When you earn the loyalty of your users they naturally become brand ambassadors who are more than willing to promote a business they trust and believe in both online and offline. Successful acquisition of loyal customers at this stage lends back to the first stage of the customer journey, the Moment of Awareness, where these loyal customers and brand ambassadors become an extension of your brand and create more opportunities of exposure for your brand to impress potential customers, increasing brand awareness.
With Expresia you can catch customers’ attention from the awareness stage towards the engagement step and transform them into the voices of your business. By increasing your brand presence through multiple touchpoints across the whole customer journey, Expresia delivers your message at every stage to the right audience in as many channels as you consider.
How to attract and keep customers in such a competitive environment? The answer lies in the quality of the experience of your users and every human that comes in contact with your brand.
How to build an eCommerce customer journey map?
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to eCommerce is: How to attract and keep customers in such a competitive environment? The answer lies in the quality of the experience of your users and every human that comes in contact with your brand. In our article How to create a digital-first customer experience journey, we dive into the basics of creating a positive customer experience online and how to stand out from the market. Still, some questions may arise, so how can you build an eCommerce customer journey while reaching your users across multiple touchpoints?
- Discover the best way for you to talk to your customers. Creating "personas" might be really helpful for you to understand and envision your customers. A persona is a non-real character that summarizes your understanding of a customer based on data, competitors' research, or previous experience. Recreate the users’ needs, objectives, emotions, and allows you to imagine the relationship they could establish with your brand for a better understanding of the things that could work and the ones that don’t.
- We've previously explained to you the stages of a customer journey. Embrace them and create a deeper understanding of each one of them, so you can create a clearer brand presence that effectively engages your customers, and a clear understanding of your business message and its presentation performance.
- Align your touchpoints. How are clients getting to you? Identify the channels potential buyers engage with the most for each stage so you can include them in your customer journey. With Expresia you are in the position to reach them at as many touch points as you want to, delivering a truly omnichannel digital experience.
- Identify all actions done by users, whether they are ongoing or upcoming. Relate these actions to the touchpoints noticed in the previous step.
- Revisit your customer journey monthly or quarterly taking into consideration how your current digital experience is performing, what your goals are moving forward and how you can better achieve these goals and improve upon the customer experience. Revisiting and evaluating how your customer experience is performing at each touchpoint allows brands the opportunity to capitalize on the information, feedback and data gathered and use it to improve upon the experience that is being provided. Expresia recollects your data and displays it for you, giving you the capability of making data-informed decisions.
Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) for eCommerce
A DXP has a flexible architecture that centers all aspects of your business into one single place and allows you to control every aspect of your daily operations.
A powerful DXP makes it easier for companies to launch eCommerce initiatives while simultaneously having the functionality for them to curate consistent, tailored and elegant customer experience all the way through the purchasing process. In eCommerce, a Digital Experience Platform is a really handy tool when it comes to editing and launching updates quickly. It is scalable, and extensible. It covers your back across all channels and it is all in one user-friendly place for you and your team
How to make the eCommerce customer journey easier?
A DXP makes the creation, management and development of your eCommerce easier but how do you put your beautifully tailored eCommerce experience to the best use? Focusing on the customer, here are a few additional things you can do as a company to improve on the customer journey:
- Create a direct sales channel: With digital acceleration, customers can now find the brand they love directly online, without the need for transactions through providers. That's why, nowadays, it turns out to be a big deal to build loyalty and establish a strong relationship between your customers and the products you're offering. With a strong brand, you'll reach new consumers through a varied market with the promise of a better, deeper experience with less friction and in a user-friendly environment.
- Reduce friction: Shorten your steps between the user and the possibility of purchase. Reduce the number of clicks a consumer has to make before actually acquiring the products. Pop-ups, chatbots, cookie acceptance, and other interruptions in the selling process can easily make a user desist. Getting to see the product and ultimately purchasing it appears to be difficult when users get into never-ending steps, and the navigation experience of your site is complicated and disjointed. By reducing these factors you increase the chances of purchase and acquiring loyal customers.
- Update product information: Make sure the products up on your site are actually available and at the right price. It may be frustrating for consumers to navigate an eCommerce platform, select their desired products, and build up their expectations only to find out that half of the products in their shopping cart aren't available. A great PIM system does a great job at avoiding poor-quality product data, increasing the confidence of the users and the speed of the updated product discovery process.
Create a unique eCommerce customer journey and stand out from your competitors
Delivering a complete and personalized customer experience from the stage of awareness towards the loyalty stage is no easy job unless you choose Expresia as your ally. With Expresia you can control multiple channels at the same time to deliver a multichannel experience and engage with your customers throughout the whole eCommerce customer journey.
Customer experiences are all about the journey. Try a data-approach model with Expresia and predict the user's future interaction based on previous decisions. This way you’ll reach valuable clients with the right message at the right time while taking care of marketing, payment, production, inventory, delivery and much more from only one place, right in your browser.