Improving eCommerce customer journeys requires more attention now than in previous years. Firstly, the online space seems to be shrinking due to hard competition and new online businesses growing like mushrooms after the rain.
The US eCommerce grew by 32% in 2020. Of all shoppers, 38% were 35 years and younger. In fact, Gen Z make up 26% of the global population. So, many businesses are not taking advantage of technology as they should, so the overall marketing automation and strategy as to be revised for improved results.
Ecommerce customer journeys refer to the path that a user takes to purchase a product or service, as well as the post-experience stage. The way online businesses communicate with their customers has changes, especially since the social distancing has been taking place.
Although eCommerce customer experiences aren’t linear and don’t happen on one channel only, online businesses need to ace at creating the best possible journeys. Why?
It’s simple. You need to sell more while retaining more customers. More eCommerce start-ups will collapse in the first 3 months of operation. For instance, only 35% of small business owners say that they will fail because they can’t compete with top brands.
We believe that with a lot of effort and persistence, any business, no matter the size, can make it in the online space. With the right attitude, tools, and technology, you are more likely to succeed.
If you want to attract more customers and make turn them into loyal brand advocates, keep on reading.
Top-Notch eCommerce Customer Journeys
Know the Customer Journey Map
Online “maps” are very crowded in this digital age, but if you want to break through the noise, you need to learn to ride the waves.
Know on what social network they spend their time. Today’s eCommerce customer journeys start on social media. So, make sure you’re tracking and interpreting the data from these platforms. There are data analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Search Console that can help you see your customers’ preferred channels and platforms.
Research what social networks your audience uses more. If we’re talking Gen Z targeting, you’ll find them spending more time on YouTube, Tik Tok, and Snapchat. While Millennials spend their time more on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Manage the customer journeys, not the lifecycles. This is truly important and something most marketing people need to shift their focus on. Every salesman and marketer knows that business is about closing repeat business. Successful companies make sure that customer relationships are positive, so customers stick with the brand for longer.
For instance, customer lifecycle refers to the process of transforming a prospect into a customer. A few stages are contributing to this journey: reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty. You need to take steps to create valuable customer experiences in each stage. Delighting customers every step of the way will guarantee a longer customer lifecycle.
Personalize eCommerce Customer Journeys
Ecommerce customer journeys are now considered more important than products you sell. The experience became the product that customers are looking for.
Positive and helpful customer interactions are essential factors that your customers consider when looking at purchasing a product or a service.
Shoppers will always remember how you made them feel and compare you endlessly with your competition. That’s why it’s extremely important to always invest in good customer service and journeys.
Also, personalization techniques can help you build a more personal relationship with your audience. In fact, data interpretation and analytics can give you enough valuable insight into determining your future messages and the channels your customer prefer.
Sending the right message, at the right time, on the right channel is a game-changer in customer experiences.
Leverage the insights you’re capturing to engage shoppers, drive repeat business, and increase conversions. For example, 44% of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience with a particular company.
Think About Gen Z First
Gen Z holds your eCommerce future. To bring the odds in your favour, you need to rise to their full expectations. But we’ll talk about those in a minute.
Firstly, you need to know that as a group, Gen Z has a collective power of $150 billion. They represent a growing revenue opportunity for eCommerce brands.
To understand their buying decisions, you need to be aware of a few factors that you can use to influence their eCommerce customer journeys.
Their eCommerce journey begins on social media. Gen Z people are constantly on their phones. Unfortunately, social media has succeeded to capture their attention to the point where 42% of Gen Z users use social media apps first thing in the morning. This is a great opportunity for you to invest in social ads and collaborate with influencers that your younger audience looks up to.
They care about sustainability. Since the rise of cruelty-free initiatives and climate change awareness, Gen Z consumers are more selective with their brand choices. Environmental sustainability is part of their decision-making process. So, commit yourself to raising awareness around environmental topics, as well as launching ethical and cruelty-free products.
They prefer flexible payment options. Offering several payment options is a big advantage when getting to the transactional phase. New mobile payment technology such as rich messages is a good option to look at. They give users the option to choose a payment plan, pay in full or partially, and even integrate with different payment providers. Adding flexibility to your payment options will positively influence Gen Z’s purchasing decision.
Gen Z lives on mobile. As a mobile-first generation, they have very little recollection of life without mobile phones. 67% of all eCommerce sales came from mobile in 2021. So, make sure your website is mobile responsive and up to date with the latest page experience algorithms.
Mix Channels for an Improved Omnichannel Experience
Ecommerce experiences are conducted on social platforms, online shops, interactive kiosks, tablets, and other digital platforms.
An omnichannel eCommerce strategy is a sales and marketing approach that combines several channels to provide a unified shopping experience to customers. This includes all customer journeys from brick-and-mortar to mobile shopping.
To understand what an omnichannel strategy means, here are a few examples:
Can customers see a product in-store, go online to search their size, and get an in-app notification and email when their size is available?
Can customers create style mood boards on Pinterest using your products, and then get an SMS coupon to redeem either online or in-store?
Did you integrate all your channels to sing in harmony? This is a huge must when interpreting data and collecting customer information.
Does your most loyal customer get notified on their preferred channels of new releases? Do they get exclusive deals that are part of marketing loyalty programs?
These are just a few questions that will help you establish if you’ve invested in an omnichannel experience. If you haven’t, you can start now.
Different eCommerce businesses will use the same omnichannel principles in their customer journeys.
However, there is a difference between omnichannel marketing and omnichannel distribution.
For example, Anne is interested in roller skating. She’s scrolling through hundreds of videos every day on Tik Tok and Instagram. She’s hooked and starts following different skaters – from beginning level to advanced dancers.
She is also considering buying new skates to try the sport. She searches online for skates and has roller skating as one of her main interests. Anne also starts a mood board on Pinterest with different fashion styles that would match her new skates.
You own a skate shop, and you have a new collection that you’d like to promote. And you know your target audience matches Anne’s customer persona. It’s time to build a full omnichannel strategy for your eCommerce customer journey.
So, you startbuilding your messaging to attract people with an interest in roller skating. You hire professional roller skaters to wear your new line. Send different items for promotions to skate dancers to build up the hype.
Build landing pages and social ads using personalization techniques to attract the right audience. You can also become a sponsor for a roller-skating YouTube professional.
Anne sees your product in a YouTube video made by one of the instructors that she subscribed to. She looks up your brand name online, and explores your site and online shop, but isn’t committing to a transaction as of yet.
A few hours later, she scrolls through Tik Tok and sees your ad offering a discount code for new customers. She clicks on the ad, and adds her favourite products to her basket, but abandons it as she’s still thinking about it.
A couple of days later, she walks past your shop and sees a QR code to enter a competition to win a new pair of skates. She enrols, and then after a few days gets a discount code via SMS (you used the number she submitted on the form and also made sure she opted-in to receive marketing communications).
Anne returns to your website and continues her shopping journey by applying the discount code you sent her. She has now become one of your valuable customers.
Your Omnichannel Experience Isn’t Over Yet
You must continue providing an excellent eCommerce customer journey post-purchase. This may include other channels such as:
rich media messaging
This was an example of how an omnichannel marketing and distribution process works to ensure your online and offline visibility consistently and persuasively.
Show Your Customers What Your Value Proposition Is
Last but not least, a clear online value proposition is essential for successful eCommerce customer journeys.
You need to know why your customers are buying from you. What motivates them to keep coming back? What makes your company better than your competition?
Your online value proposition defines how well eCommerce customer journeys are. To increase conversion rates, you need to perfect your marketing strategy and messaging.
One compelling way to build this is to listen to what your customers have to say. You can use surveys and gather valuable opinions that might help you create better customer centric messaging.
Delivering a great eCommerce experience means you make your products desirable from the moment of awareness to post-purchase.
You need to be careful not to confuse slogans, taglines, or positioning statements with value propositions. A value proposition refers to the value, power, and outcomes your products bring to your customers. To write a strong online value proposition, you need to be:
Specific – what value do you bring to customers?
Pain-free – how do you fix their problem?
Exclusive – why are you the best?
We hope that you have a better understanding of what makes an eCommerce customer journey great. The tips and tricks in this article are tested and proved ideas that increased conversions for many retailers.
Remember that you are your biggest competition. However, you need to stay on top of new technology, invest in an omnichannel strategy, explore new avenues, mix channels, and be clear in your messaging.
In conclusion, apply these principles and you will expect higher customer retention, increase conversions, and repeat sales.
Published on: 14th June 2022
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