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Out of 7.9 billion people worldwide, statistics show that 2.14 billion or 27% of these people shop online. This is even expected to grow with how the internet easily allows e-commerce companies to sell without a physical store. As an e-commerce owner, you must strive to attract attention and compete with other businesses in your industry.
And while we all know Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay dominate the market, you can still make it big through customer journey personalization.
What Is E-Commerce Customer Journey?
The e-commerce customer journey is a series of stages that reflects a customer’s experience when purchasing a product or service. It starts from the moment they first learn about a certain store or product to the point of purchasing and beyond.
Here are typical stages consumers go through in this journey:
- Awareness. Customers become aware of your brand through social media posts, advertising, online reviews, blog articles, search engine results, and word-of-mouth referrals.
- Consideration (evaluation). Potential customers know your brand and begin considering whether your offerings meet their needs and solve their problems.
- Purchase (acquisition). The customer has decided to buy a specific product or service.
- Retention. This is a crucial stage wherein you must implement strategies to keep customers interested and make repeat purchases.
- Advocacy. This is the final stage wherein a customer advocates for your brand. They are so pleased with your products or services that they actively promote your brand to others.
The ecommerce customer journey map illustrates this process. A good customer journey map includes various details about your customers, such as where they are coming from, how many days or visits it takes them to move from one stage to another, their goal in each stage, etc.
The goal of customer journey mapping is to understand customer behavior and other things they go through so that you can improve the quality of experience you provide them.
Why Is the E-Commerce Customer Journey Important?
Understanding your customer’s journey is crucial for several reasons, such as:
- Improving customer experience
- Improving your marketing strategies
- Customer retention and brand loyalty
- Data-driven decisions
How to Build E-commerce Customer Journey Maps?
Here’s how to create ecommerce customer journey maps:
- Define your objectives. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your map. For example, do you want to improve customer experience or identify why your customers stop patronizing your products or services?
- Create customer personas. Identify and group your key customers according to their characteristics, needs, location, wants, behaviors, etc. This allows you to align your offerings and marketing strategies to meet each group’s specific needs and desires.
- Identify touchpoints. Touchpoints are all the interactions between you as a brand and your customers throughout their journey. This can include visiting your website, following your social media accounts, receiving promotional emails, contacting customer service, etc.
- Map the customer journey stages. When mapping, follow the customer journey through every step—from awareness to purchase to after-sales.
- Analyze customer behavior at each stage. Understand what actions your customers are taking at each stage. Also, find out what motivates them to do the next step and what obstacles they might encounter.
- Include emotional data. How do they feel at each stage? Are they confused, frustrated, or pleased? This data helps you understand a customer at a deeper level.
- Identify improvement opportunities. Look for any obstacles or challenges they face when customers interact with your brand. These factors disturb the smooth flow of their journey, causing frustration, dissatisfaction, inconvenience, etc, which may result in lost sales.
- Implement necessary changes and measure results. Make necessary changes based on your findings, then measure the results to see if those changes have had a positive impact. This could involve A/B testing, customer surveys, or analyzing sales and engagement data. You can use tools like Google Analytics and Heatmaps.
How to Personalize the E-Commerce Customer Journey for a Better ROI
Here’s how to personalize customer experience:
1. Personalize Your Offerings Based on Locations
If you have an international market, consider personalizing their experience on your website by displaying items in their local currency or language. You can also do this based on your customer’s region. For instance, if you manage an online boutique, you can offer fashionable clothes suitable for people in Texas.
2. Display Recently Viewed Items
Customers usually browse multiple items before buying. By displaying recently viewed items, you make it easier for customers to find and revisit products they’re interested in, which can increase the chance of a purchase.
3. Suggest Popular Products
Feature popular products or best-selling items on your home page so that when customers visit it, they can see which one is more popular than the others. This may influence their buying decision and even simplify their shopping using the “wisdom of the crowd” technique.
4. Offer Rewards to Repeat Customers or First-Time Buyers
Offer rewards to loyal customers, like giving points for every purchase, which they can redeem for discounts for their preferred products. Similarly, you can also offer incentives to first-time customers if they buy another product or sign up for your email list.
5. Attract Lost Customers
Make sure that when users visit your website again, they can see buttons like “continue checkout” or “return to cart.” This is to remind them where they left off when they last visited and encourage customers to continue shopping. This is especially beneficial for busy customers who forgot to check out or those who couldn’t decide whether they will purchase or not.
6. Offer Personalized and Proactive Customer Support
Good customer service can turn a one-time buyer into a loyal customer. Use customer data to provide personalized support. For example, if a customer had an issue with a previous order, follow up with them to see if they’re satisfied with the resolution.
7. Send Emails to Customers with Relevant Offers or Suggestions
Remember that not all emails are seen by the intended recipients. So, ensure your email is relevant and timely. For instance, you could send a promotional email with a limited-time offer, such as free shipping, a discount, or a gift. Don’t forget to highlight the offer validity like “only 5 hours left” or “valid for 3 days only.”
Personalizing customer journeys is a powerful technique to enhance their experience, which could foster customer loyalty and eventually boost your ROI. Consider following the seven tips above, but remember that the key to successful personalization depends on understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors.
You can check out our other articles to learn more about helpful methods to provide positive customer experiences that benefit your online store.