The e-commerce user journey is an important phenomenon that needs to be understood well by companies looking to succeed in the online space. The user journey begins from awareness of a brand/service and ends at the point where they make a purchase. In other words, the initial step of the user journey is making customers aware that you have products to sell, and the final step is convincing them to make a purchase from your ecommerce store.
The e-commerce teams running stores need to construct a user journey map that includes where their customers come from, how many days or visits it takes to move them through each journey stage, and what they do in each phase of the journey. In this article, we will discuss the user journey in detail.
Let us first analyse the benefits of having a user journey map:
• In cross-functional teams, a user journey helps keep all the team members synced.
• Whenever a problem arises, a user journey map helps you pinpoint which phase is causing trouble and assists in finding out ways quickly to help resolve the problem.
•The customer’s journey map also helps the business accurately measure the ROI on its marketing activities.
• Sales teams can also access the same intelligence as marketing and product teams. This means they can work more effectively towards an overall goal by knowing how customers arrive at their business!
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the user journey map is also valuable in helping teams prioritize their time and effort. When multiple things need to be done, a user journey map can help determine priority and help visualize the different stages of the buyer's journey.
Now let’s analyse each of the phases of the user journey in detail:
During this first stage of the eCommerce customer journey, potential customers are experiencing problems and are trying to solve them. Customers will overcome misconceptions about their issues and prioritize solutions accordingly. In this phase, social media plays an important role as it is used for carrying out market research. A good social media strategy could be to focus on brand building as it can do wonders for the customers in the awareness phase. From the point of view of brands, this is the phase where they need to know the pain points and needs of the customers.
During this stage, people are researching to find a solution for their problem. In this phase, customers understand what they should do before making their purchase decision. They will compare and contrast multiple options and pick one that is the best fit. This stage can include researching on the company’s service, looking at the return policy, or making a payment. Customers will be looking for ways to solve any remaining problems before buying a product from your store. In this stage, customers need to be constantly updated on changes in your products or services and how it benefits them. In short, this stage requires a good customer engagement strategy.
Customers are now ready to purchase a product from your eCommerce store. Before they make their purchase, your site needs to guide them through the process well. The last thing that you want is for a customer to have a bad experience with your store and leave without completing his or her purchase.
Customers have completed their purchase from your eCommerce store. At this stage a brand would want to check-out quickly and efficiently so that they do not lose interest in the product. The longer an order takes, the higher the chances of a customer abandoning his or her cart.
This is an important phase for your eCommerce store as you need to retain customers after they purchase. You need to try and offer discounts, reward programs or free products so that you can increase your chances of having them return for more purchases in the future.
User journey maps help brands understand if it’s easy for buyers to interact with their business. Big names in eCommerce include detailed research as part of their user journey mapping process. They carry out interviews with potential customers who become existing customers and then identify customer pain points where user experience can be improved. This user research helps eCommerce sites create new user experiences as well as improve on some of the existing user experiences.
Following are some of the questions asked by eCommerce brands that enable them to identify user problems and how they can be solved easily:
1. Are the user stages ordered in a linear fashion?
2. Do customers have to repeat some processes to achieve their goals?
3. Is there a seamless user experience?
From focusing on identifying conversion points to improving customer experience along each touchpoint, user journey maps help big names in eCommerce to direct their focus and resources on the right channels and steps of user journeys. Big name online eCommerce stores use various techniques to capture potential customers' attention at different stages of the customer journey.
SEO helps companies improve their brand visibility and authority on the search engine result pages – vital for the user journey.
Another important aspect of the user journey map is that it helps companies inform users about new products and services and be aware of the customers' needs. Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest help companies stay engaged with their customers and prospects.
These help companies deliver personalized messaging to their customers. They increase customer engagement by sending discount offers or campaigns related to their interests. The email open rates can help gauge how interested a user is, consequently helping to determine which stage of the journey map the user is at.
Google AdWords campaigns help companies drive traffic to their online stores and increase brand visibility. These advertising campaigns help companies showcase their products to potential customers.
Google Analytics helps eCommerce stores track the results of their advertising and promotional campaigns. Google Analytics is a free service that companies use to understand their website's performance, user behaviour and customer journeys at different stages of the sales funnel.
These insights help eCommerce stores simplify the user journey and make it easier for buyers to engage with their brand.
While having a user journey is essential for success, there are various challenges that your ecommerce team will face when creating the user journey map:
• You cannot just have a team member responsible for knowing everything about each phase of the user journey. Your eCommerce store needs to have one person responsible for creating user journey maps, with different team members updating them at different times.
• The user journey map needs to be updated regularly for it to keep up with changes that might take place on your eCommerce store.
• You need to involve customers in the process of creating and updating the user journey map. You can do this by inviting your customers to participate in surveys and questionnaires.
• Since this task is not in the job description of any employee, you need to have someone that will be willing to work on creating a user journey map for the ecommerce business.
• The data for the user journey map needs to be collected and analysed before it can be added on the map.
Nevertheless, the rewards of knowing each phase of the user journey far exceeds than the challenges associated with it.
• The interface of the eCommerce store is also an important factor that will affect the user journey. If it is too cluttered and confusing, this could cause problems for customers when they are trying to complete a purchase.
• As the eCommerce industry is constantly evolving, you need to ensure that your customer journey remains updated and relevant. You can check your competitors to see what they are doing so that you do not fall behind.
• A successful eCommerce store has both a great product offering and a smooth user journey. Remember that a user journey is not just a plan for your eCommerce store. It is a way to provide customers with the best experience overall.
The journey of a customer is not always what you expect. Humans are not always expected to behave in a fixed pattern. Sometimes their purchase decisions might even be irrational(which is a bonus for most brands). However, it is fair to say that the perspectives, challenges and pain points can change along the way, which makes them take another path than planned by your company's marketing team or sales team. Overall it can be said that investing time in creating user journey maps is fruitful as you can predict how potential customers will behave as they move through your sales funnel. You might be able to spot behavioural patterns and proactively assist them with finding the right products or taking appropriate steps so that conversion is more likely!