Getting a user to your site, across the anonymity threshold, and into a converting (paying) customer is not as easy as it used to be. The customer journey is no longer linear. Rather going from anonymous user to eCommerce conversion can be a long and winding path, depending on what you sell.
Multi-channel marketing inevitably means multiple ways of attracting customers. It also means there are multiple ways for your customers to drop out as well.
Keeping your customers engaged and on the customer journey, therefore, is a challenge. Not least because competition is fierce so anything less than your best can cause you to lose business.
While this does put a great deal of pressure on your business, it’s also an opportunity. Customers expect more from the businesses and brands they engage with. That means, providing you know your customers, you can create a customer journey that delights them.
By analysing your customer data, including the channels they use and what they do when they’re on your website, you can learn what matters to them.
As soon as you understand what matters, then you can start shaping the customer journey into one that they will engage with.
The more they engage the more likely they are to generate eCommerce conversions.
Analyse and Plan
Before you can build the customer journey you want, you need to analyse and map out the customer journey you have.
This will help you to identify any strengths and weaknesses in your existing approach to customer engagement. Unless your business is brand new, you should have a reasonable amount of data across your business to achieve this.
Your website reporting and tools like Google Analytics will give you key indicators as to where customers are coming from. They’ll tell you what pages are being viewed, how many are being viewed and at what points they’re either converting or dropping out.
The clearer the picture you have the easier it is to carry over the stuff that works, and adjust the stuff that doesn’t.
Map out the steps your customers take on the current customer journey. Look for patterns – both good and bad – and use these to improve the customer journey further down the process.
List out all of your touchpoints and group them into three categories:
Your pre-purchase touchpoints include any paid advertising on Google, YouTube or social media, any content marketing or SEO to drive traffic to your website, the website itself and any collateral you use or traditional advertising be it radio, press or television.
At the purchase stage touchpoints include hero images, offers, the product pages themselves, product images, product videos, reviews and key messaging like free shipping and returns.
Post-purchase covers customer service, customer engagement, long term nurture emails, loyalty programmes and managing returns and refunds.
Things to Consider
When mapping out these three areas, bear in mind they need to drive four objectives.
- Raising brand awareness
- Drive decision making
- Generating conversions
- Building repeat purchases and building loyalty
For each stage of the process, assess the desired outcomes against the customer experience.
Determine what you want your customer to experience and what actions do you want them to take as you work through the stages.
Take the time to explore each stage, noting the different kinds of customer experience your users can have depending on how they access your site.
Identify your Ideal Customers
You don’t want to sell to everyone. No really. Not every customer will see the value of your products or service.
Customers like this are more likely to complain, return products and demand compensation for a bad customer experience. Even if you did everything right.
Your marketing, content and even the design of your website is as much about qualifying out as it is qualifying in.
Take some time to consider who your ideal customers are, what their needs are and how your business can best serve them.
This level of understanding is essential to creating both a customer journey and a customer experience that your audience will love.
While creating customer personas is fairly common practice, a better approach is to consolidate your customer data.
Rather than making decisions based on assumptions, you’ll be making them based on buyer behaviour.
This won’t take all the guesswork out of the customer journey, or the customer experience, but those guesses will be educated.
Approaching your ideal customers in this way tells you how much your ideal customers spend and how often. You’ll know what products are of greatest interest and what offers or promotions they respond to.
So not only do you have a clear idea of who your ideal customers are but also how to market to them more effectively.
This is an immensely powerful tool when it comes to growing your business through customer retention. Returning customers spend on average 69% more than first time customers. The time and effort you spend understanding your customer data the more effectively you can market to them.
You can develop this idea further and create a highly targeted customer loyalty programme that nurtures those customers to spend incrementally more over time.
Mapping your Touchpoints
Before your customer becomes a customer they will likely enter your brand’s orbit multiple times. They’ll see shared content on social media, ads and even receive word of mouth recommendations from friends.
Depending on what you sell and your target audience your touchpoints will need to be tailored to match your customer preferences and behaviours.
You don’t have to use every channel available. Just the ones that convert.
If your audience responds well to email marketing then put your efforts into making those campaigns as personalised, relevant and effective as possible.
In addition to understanding the touchpoints that work for you, use your customer data to tailor the messaging. Remember, you don’t need to appeal to everyone so focus on enticing your ideal customers through your touchpoints.
This gives you the best chance of getting them to your site, and turning them into a customer.
Part of this process is using your data to identify the products that will be of greatest interest. You’ll need to create multiple iterations of your visuals to appeal to different audiences, and split test the messaging to maximise engagement.
The more effort you put into this stage of the process, the easier it will be to convert users once they’re on your website.
While you want to make sure that your communications are personalised, relevant and timely you need to make sure you are contactable too.
One of the most frustrating things for customers is not being able to communicate with an online business. Especially if there’s a problem.
Provide your customers with as many ways to communicate with you as possible and then make them super easy to find.
Offer users a contact form to complete as well as an email address. A phone number or the option to request a call back also plays well with customers who would rather speak to someone.
Consider leveraging chatbots to interact with your customers. You can link your chatbot to your customer data platform so responses are tailored to each of your customers.
The chatbot can access purchase history so can respond accurately if a customer is trying to return an item. Or it can make relevant product recommendations based on the query it is being asked.
You can also leverage WhatsApp, Messenger and other IM tools.
The easier you make it for customers to get in touch the more they’ll trust you. It will also alleviate some of their frustration if there’s a problem. The assumption is returning an item or raising a concern will be frustrating and difficult.
Make your customer service and processes straight forward and customer-centric. A generous returns policy won’t lose you money. It’ll help you keep the customers you’d lose by making returns difficult.
Consolidate your Data
For your customer journey to flow you need to get your data working as hard as possible.
While you can analyse your data in silos, across your entire estate, the reality is you’ll struggle to get the insight you need.
Or if you can, the data will be so old it won’t be actionable.
Consolidating your data into a customer data platform, or a hybrid customer data and engagement platform, allows you to see all your data in real time.
The Single Customer View gives you a complete 360 view of each of your customers. That allows you to segment your customers by everything from product to average spend.
That means you can make better decisions faster.
It provides you with the insight you need to build a robust customer journey and a retention strategy.
It also gives you the means to create your personalised interaction, whether that’s email, SMS or push notifications that deliver value.
To find out more about how a customer data platform can help you with your customer journey and customer retention, get in touch today to book a demo.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.