eCommerce Customer Journey Map: How to Create Top Customer Experiences

Mapping eCommerce Customer Journey: The Bright Vessel Guide to Perfect Customer Experiences

Throughout two decades, the Internet has reached every side of our lives. And perhaps the most significant change has been in retail, which has had to adjust immensely. Now, each retailer is competing with the entire world’s worth of the same offering. It’s tough to get the attention of visitors, let alone turn them into customers. That’s why, these days, understanding the eCommerce customer journey is so essential.

There are countless websites out there offering roughly the same products as you. It’s difficult to get new visitors to stay and browse around, and it seems impossible to turn them into customers. That’s why understanding your visitors, their profile and what they’re craving, can make or break your eCommerce site.

So, the first question is: how do you stand out? And the answer is: creating an experience that only you can provide.

Sell Feelings and Experiences

Have you ever noticed that some brands don’t seem to sell any particular product, but rather a feeling associated with it? Coca-Cola might be the prime example of this: in each country they operate, their ads adjust to culture and situation. It’s one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and their actual product doesn’t require advertising. So, they sell a sort of Coca-Cola experience.

That’s the kind of thing you should be thinking of when building your retail brand online. Keep in mind:

  • Experiences are products. You’re selling much more than an item: it’s one that can lead to a particular lifestyle.
  • People share their experiences with products. With social media in our pockets, we’re all perpetually signed in.
  • You can be an active participant in the market of experiences. Take advantage of the inspirational wave and create content around it. Be an active participant instead of trying to catch up.

Build a Great Relationship with your Customers

The only way to do that is by providing the best customer journey possible. You can do that by ensuring that the customer has the best experience shopping with you. Some of the factors for this are:

  • That you provide the right items.
  • That you have enough stock whenever customers look for something.
  • That you have someone who can answer customer questions promptly. This goes from a call center to a chat to email: you should provide options.
  • That you’ll act responsibly and quickly in case, customers need to return something.

Building an all-encompassing retail business that caters to every step of the eCommerce customer journey is nearly impossible. As a seller, need to be on top of many things and platforms. That’s why the best strategy is to find out who your customers are and how to care for them.

What’s an eCommerce Customer Journey Map?

We define as steps your customers or clients move through to engage with your company. The more your company interacts with customers; the more complicated this diagram can be. This also marks how necessary the map becomes, whether it’s an eCommerce store or brick-and-mortar.

What’s it for?

  • Track-specific customer-company interactions.
  • Check which sections of the process aren’t going smoothly.
  • Create a more satisfying user experience.

Customer Journey Map

Download an Example of a Customer Journey Here

Or see multiple examples in our post: How to Build a Customer Journey Map with Example PDFs

Sales Funnel

As you may already know, there are three stages to purchase from the customer’s POV.

  • Awareness: A person becomes aware of an existing product, and at some point decides to get one.
  • Research: They look into different options, weighing in pros and cons.
  • Purchase: They buy what appears like the best choice.
  • Unboxing: This is a newer step and one most associated with technology. The out-of-the-box experience has become an important part of gadget-buying, and it’s basically a YouTube genre. Tech sellers can tap into those expectations by adding some flair to packaging.

Marketing Map 2018

Download an Example of a Marketing Map Here

Where to Channel your Attention

You want to “script” your customers’ experience as much as possible. This way, you’ll lead them towards an experience they’re likely to repeat. You should know what’s happening at each stage of your customer’s timeline. And this knowledge comes from hours of customer research, including observations and even interviews.

Here are a few tips to focus on during the process of finding out how your customers are behaving:

  • Actions. What are your customers doing on each stage of purchase? How are they evolving to the next level?
  • Motivations. Why are your customers acting the way they are? What’s their thought process and their emotional journey?
  • Doubts. Is there anything keeping your customers from moving forward? These can come from uncertainties about the product, over-complicated jargon or any number of things. Perhaps an FAQ or an online chat to answer questions could be in order.
  • Problems. Is there anything about your purchase process that’s less than friendly? Are there any barriers keeping your customers from reaching the next stage of the process?

You should schedule a monthly or quarterly meeting to adjust your eCommerce customer journey maps. Regularly, you need to ask yourself how you can be more helpful to your visitors on each step. What can you do to improve your visitors’ experience on your eCommerce site?

Customer Persona Example - Fisherman

Creating Customer Personas

A customer persona “allows brands to better understand these homogenous groups, and to recognize key traits within them.” They focus on analyzing real customers, thus creating a more in-depth notion of how your customers think. And when you’re building this profile for the first time, it’s best to start small to avoid being overwhelmed.

The path to starting creating your buyer persona begins by interviewing your recent customers and interviewing them. Find who’s recently purchased something on your website and talk to them. What you need to find out here is:

  • Why were they interested in the product they purchased?
  • How did they find out more about the product? How and where did they research?
  • What were the criteria behind choosing this specific product?
  • Which competitor sites did they also evaluate?
  • Why did they choose you instead of your competitors?
  • What would they improve on the overall purchase experience?

Here is a free tool you can use to create your first customer persona. Go here.

This is a great start! The core of creating customer personas lies in the data you have so that you can build your eCommerce customer journey map from there. You can do this by:

1. Monitoring behavior flow

It’s essential to understand the way your visitors move around your eStore. Which pages are they visiting? Where are they clicking? How many of them are buying?

From your Google Analytics Behavior Flow report, you can find trends. Some of them include:

  • Drop-off points where many users left the site after going through different pages. What’s happening in that specific point that drives visitors away?
  • Page views. What page do visitors go after landing on your homepage?
  • Which part of the funnel your customers are in. Are they viewing more blog entries? That can mean they’re finding out more about your product, building awareness!

By using your Behavior Flow report, you’ll get a better understanding of what your visitors do when on your site. Studying each stop can help you find where to focus to motivate visitors to become customers.

2. Analyzing the conversion path

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s of the utmost importance to have a presence in several channels. If you’re a small eCommerce store, you need to get your name and brand out there. It usually takes someone to see your brand or products on different platforms before deciding to become a customer.

Potential customers might find you through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They might later bounce back to another social network and look you up there. Then go back and forth on your page before actually making a purchase.

Through the Google Analytics Top Conversion Paths report, you can find out:

  • Which path your visitors take. This includes entering your site from different channels.
  • Which platforms are your visitors using to get to know your product.
  • How visitors reached your site.

If you see that the majority of your influx comes from a specific social network, like Instagram, focus on it. Share content there that builds on your brand, showing what you’re about and the experience you’re selling.

3. Molding your eCommerce customer journey map to your specific needs

Now that you’re aware of who exactly is visiting your website, you need to adapt. What will ultimately set you apart from other similar sellers is your relationship with the customer. You need to understand your customers’ thought process, building a strong relationship with them. You want them to trust you, and find your eCommerce experience a pleasurable one.

With the data on your hands, you can understand why your customers act the way they do. Your job is then to offer just what they desire, from content to products.

Remember that:

  • You can’t control when and if they purchase. Your visitors will become customers whenever they’re ready, and not before. You won’t entice them with a particular sale if they’re not there just yet. If you push too hard, you might draw them away.
  • You depend on your eCommerce customer journey to know what content to place and where. Only after you see the way visitors act on your website can you test content on different sections. This can pave the way for the kind of content your visitors crave, from storytelling emails versus marketing campaigns.

You can do onsite testing and customization through platforms like Google Optimize or Nosto. Offsite, some apps include Shoelace and Klaviyo.

In Conclusion

What all this boils down to is quite simple: your primary focus should always be in how you relate to your customers. You need to understand who you’re selling to and what exactly do they require from you.

Psychologically understanding where they’re coming from is a big factor towards success. The way you respond to customer needs is a significant factor in whether they’ll remain loyal to your brand. Provide value at each stage of the eCommerce customer journey map, and you’re on your way to greatness! Bright Vessel provides eCommerce solutions for all types of businesses, with custom strategies for your specific industry. Contact us now to find out more!

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