eCommerce Customer Journey:
3 Steps To Increase Conversion in 2019

7 Min. Read

Ever gone window shopping?

Of course you have – we all have. 

Window shopping is fun! 

Sometimes it results in us making a purchase there and then, but most times it doesn’t.

However, window shopping can give us ideas and it can encourage us to revisit a certain store at a later date.

The way purchases are made online are a tad similar, except online prospects go through something that’s known as a sales funnel. 

From the top to the bottom of the funnel, customers go on a journey that starts with their initial interaction with a brand and – hopefully – ends with a purchase.

Sometimes, however, a lead will fall out of the funnel somewhere along the way and the business will never see them again. 

And because only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates, you can figure that customers drop out a lot.

customer-journey

Wondering how to do that? 

Let’s take a look at exactly what you need to do.

Create Audience Personas

Before you dive into the customer journey proper, it’s important that you’ve nailed your audience personas first.

It’s a good idea to create in-depth audience persons that your sales and marketing team have access to.

This way, you know exactly who to market to and with what type of content at each stage of the journey.

multi-chanel-marketing

To create an in-depth buyer person, you need to go beyond spending habits and demographics.

Delve deeper into your analytics to uncover insights into their general buying cycle, their needs and the way they use your products.

The aim is to understand more about your existing customers so that you can create stronger customer journeys that convert more leads.

You might find that you have two, three or four different buyer personas.

buyer-persona-eCommerce


That’s perfectly fine.

Adidas, for example, has at least two – those who are fashion conscious and who won’t mind spending lots of money just to look good, and those who are in need of outdoor sneakers that are designed to last.

Create in-depth personas and then modify how you market to them according to their characteristics and needs.

The Three Main Stages of the Customer Journey

The customer journey (or sales funnel) involves three stages:

The awareness stage

This is the first point of interaction when the lead is looking for information

The evaluation stage

Otherwise known as the middle of the funnel, it’s at this point that a prospect is eliminating brands and deciding which product/service and brand is best for them

The purchase stage

It’s at this point that you just need to give the prospect that one final nudge in the right direction

buyer journey mapSource: HubSpot

Here’s what you need to do at each stage of the customer journey
to increase conversions:

 

The Awareness Stage

To improve the first stage of the customer journey, you can use tools that dig deep into your existing customer data in order to create your target audience persona (see above).

Predictive analytics, for example, will provide you with patterns of behavior that help you identify your ideal buyer.

audience-reports

Then, you need to create content and messages that catch your prospects attention and build trust and confidence straight off the bat.

It’s important to note that at this stage in the customer journey, you shouldn’t go in for the sale.

Instead, you need to ‘warm’ leads up and spark their interest with valuable content such as blog posts and short-form videos that go some way to positioning you as the expert in your niche while solving their initial problems.

ecommerce-crm

Use content to provide value and solutions.

As Adweek points out, 81% of consumers carry out research online before making a purchase. Your goals at this point, then, are to:

  • Understand your audience persona
  • Carry out extensive keyword research
  • Understand the questions your consumers are asking (you can use a tool like Answer the Public to help)
  • Create in-depth content that provides solutions
  • Optimize said content with keywords

Another way to spark your leads’ interest is via an exciting, compelling and engaging social media campaign.

facebook-ads

Take advantage of Facebook and Instagram to generate a buzz around your brand and capture peoples’ imaginations.

The Evaluation Stage

The middle of the funnel should come with a warning: Caution – handle with care. This is where things get delicate.

It might seem a tad depressing to read that only 3% of people in your market are ready to buy.

But it’s totally fine.

pay-per-click-ads-in-eCommerce

As long as you know how to pinpoint the right customers and frame your content and message so that it’s directed at them, your business will consistently provide a superior customer experience.

During the evaluation stage, you have to engage your prospects and educate them with content that goes above and beyond what your competitors are delivering.

This content can include white papers, long-form in-depth videos, case studies and so on that push your product while positioning you as the go-to people.

Use your content to educate and inform.

Experiment with virtual reality, too, as this creates an unparalleled, unique and memorable experience that can ensure your brand stands out from the competition.

It’s also a really smart idea to create gated content, as this gets your leads to make a small commitment to you.

You could offer an educational eBook, for example, in exchange for their email address.

eCommerce-email-marketing

This can be key because, while your content might be persuading them during the evaluation stage about your products, the prospect might still buy the product – but from a rival.

To get them on your side, then, offer gated content/lead magnets.

The Purchase Stage

When the bottom of the funnel ties in with everything you’ve created so far on the customer journey, you’re in a strong position to clinch the sale.

Usually at this stage, leads just need one final nudge in the right direction.

This could be a discount or an offer of free shipping.

free-shipping

It might also be that you need to optimize your checkout page so that everything that needs to be there is there.

This especially includes adding the right payment options, such as PayPal, and adding a POS card reader that just makes the whole payment process so much easier for the customer.

You need to make sure to optimize your content pages – and especially your call to action and meta description – with commercial intent keywords.

These include:

  • Buy
  • Discounts
  • Coupons
  • Buy now
  • Affordable
  • Limited time only

Such keywords and phrases push the right buttons and can convince the prospect (who is already convinced about you and your products) to go ahead and spend their money.

That said, a percentage of your leads might arrive at the purchase stage still really unsure.

Merchandising

Before they become your customer, they still a bit more nurturing.

As such, optimized CTAs won’t be enough all the time.

To seal the deal, you’ll need content that’s more personalized and more specific to the buyer and their needs.

You should also exploit user-generated content at this stage in the customer journey, too.

Use customer testimonials and reviews to outline the buyer benefits.

And how about a personalized demo that zones in on the decision maker?

If that won’t cut it, you could even offer to jump on a call with a hesitant prospect.

Whatever you do, you need to outline your company philosophy and values and outline exactly how the prospect will be treated when they become your customer.

What’s in this for them?

What perks can they expect?

Analyze Your Content KPIs

Before we wrap this up, it’s important that you identify drop-off points to learn more about eCommerce Analytics, wherein your funnel your leads are tumbling out.

Once you understand this, you can make the necessary tweaks at the right stages.

Here are the key content KPIs you need to track via your analytics:

The awareness stage:

  • Traffic
  • Click-through rate
  • Referring links
  • Brand Reach
  • Bounce rate

The evaluation stage:

  • Bounce rate
  • Sessions
  • Click-through rate

The purchase stage:

  • Bounce rate
  • Conversions

You can find further must have eCommerce KPI‘s in this article. 

Conclusion

Because the customer journey is so key to your success, it’s really important that you nail it.

Use the tips in this article to deliver the right content and message at the right time, and always be focused on creating valuable and educational content that nudges your prospects closer towards a sale all the time.

You don’t need to swing for a home run immediately.

Have patience, keep moving the prospect forward, until eventually, you need to go in for the close.

The author

ARE YOU IN?

20,000 subscribers already enjoy our premium Content.

Subscribe now.