The popularity rise of the eCommerce industry is constant and there are no signs of it stopping anytime soon. Some would even go so far as to say that it is growing at an unprecedented rate.
And, that’s not too difficult to understand. There are so many platforms and strategies that eCommerce business owners use, and some new ones have popped up recently too. This, however, isn’t all good news. Since the environment and its members are growing, it is safe to say that the competition is fierce.
How can one combat these factors? What can a business owner do to stand out from the crowd in such an environment?
Well, the answer can be found in exquisite customer experience! But, first, you need to map it.
Keep reading to learn how you can map out your eCommerce customer journey.
What is ‘customer journey’ exactly?
You are most likely familiar with this term, but it’s worth to define the customer journey once again.
This term refers to all the experiences a customer has with a certain brand. In short, this journey includes all the possible interactions an average customer might have with your brand. In this case, this is the whole interaction between your eCommerce store and your customers.
Furthermore, these interactions can be split up into stages that are common for all customers no matter what their unique experiences might be.
- Part 1 – awareness stage
Customer journeys usually have three stages. The first one is the awareness stage where a prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity.
- Part 2 – consideration stage
This stage usually involves a prospect that has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity, considering different products as the solution.
- Part 3 – decision stage
The final stage involves a prospect deciding on the purchase. A prospect is slowly narrowing down the list of eCommerce vendors with the aim to make a purchasing decision soon.
Without further ado, below is a list of tips that will help you map out the entire customer journey and increase conversions.
Determine your customer profiles
Data about customers is the foundation of your eCommerce customer journey map. In general, this data will need to be extracted from two places: customer analytics and direct feedback.
If you are new in the world of eCommerce, you should focus on constructing a couple of customer profiles. This is due to the fact that your customer base is most likely made up of different segments. Of course, your customer journey map needs to cover for each segment.
This is one of the more important tips that you will stumble upon whenever you are reading something about eCommerce marketing. It would be wise to include more than one buyer persona or even create a unique map for each one.
Creating a unique map dedicated to each segment may prove to be the right decision since you should never ignore the differences between your customer segments.
Define the stages of your journey
As we already mentioned, customer journeys are most often split into three stages—awareness, consideration, and decision.
Even though this kind of categorization is often the target of harsh criticism, it is undoubtedly useful. It will serve you well if you are mapping out the journey for the first time. It follows the experience from the moment a problem is first encountered to the time it is solved.
Again, your customer profiles are really important because they may affect this framework. This categorization may seem generic, but the more you get to know your customers, the better you will define customer journey stages.
Later on, you will have a few stages like loyalty and advocacy. This usually happens when you start defining new goals and keeping current customers.
If this particular part seems too difficult to master, you can always consult companies such as Convincely or other experts that specialize in creating high-performance customer journeys.
Have goals for each stage
Each stage of the customer journey has specific goals, needs, and requirements. Again, you need to take a look at your customer profile. All the gathered data for each part of the customer journey comes into play here.
Take a look at the stages defined above and consider the crucial concerns in the three listed stages. In order to come up with realistic goals, you need to get direct customer feedback. Do not be afraid of using various research methods.
Ask for opinion through your communication channels, watch videos of users interacting with your store, listen to customer service recordings. Even reaching out to your customers via email is an option, in this case.
Try to figure out how they feel too. This way, you will figure out the reasoning behind their decision to shop at your store. However, getting to understand your customers’ emotions can be useful for other reasons as well. So, do not be afraid to ask what kind of experience customers are seeking when they decide to interact with your brand.
Take a look at your competition
It’s always good to monitor your competitors’ activities.
Figure out how your rivals’ journeys compare to yours, find out what their stages look like. This isn’t something you should shy away from. Comparison indeed is a great way to stay ahead of your rivals.
And do not think for a second that your rivals aren’t watching closely what you are doing.
Fortunately, in this case, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort when it comes to mapping your competitors’ customer journeys as you don’t need in-depth documents. However, you should try to be consistent since that really is an effective way to stay on top of industry trends and novelties.
When you see how your competitors’ maps look like, you will get a clearer understanding of what you need to do next to improve your own customer journey.
Try to be innovative
Customer journey maps are great for generating new ideas. You should debate and discuss these maps with your whole team. This way, all of you will be able to brainstorm new ideas.
When you use your customer journey map as a helping tool for generating ideas, you are stimulating an open flow of options for testing and split-testing. This kind of approach will surely leave you with suggestions about possible improvements.
Also, it would be wise to consider involving technology as much as possible when trying to innovate. Even if certain software solutions only deal with minor segments of your customer journey.
For instance, the checkout process is one of the more important parts of every online store. And when you consider that there are companies that specialize in shopping cart software like CS-Cart, it is only reasonable to look into these solutions and how they can help.
The same goes for every other segment or process that can affect your customers’ experiences with your brand.
It’s fair to say that getting overwhelmed by mapping a customer journey is easy. This is a complex issue and it takes time and research to build.
However, one should never ignore the importance of this. With this map, you will have a chance to learn a lot about all your customer-related processes and as an online business owner, this will let you improve and streamline the whole customer experience.
Additionally, you also need to know that customer journey maps aren’t a one-time thing. Instead, these maps need to be updated regularly. Testing is the basis of any successful and adaptable customer journey.
Hopefully, this mini-guide will help you map out the customer journey and teach you about your customers so that you know exactly what to do and how to improve your whole business.
|Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me|