The Journey of the Ecommerce Customer
Not every ecommerce customer follows the same path to a sale. It’s not as simple as “in through the homepage and out through checkout.”
Ecommerce stores are complex and challenging. So how do you make the customer’s journey as easy and simple as possible?
First, let’s take a step back and compare the journeys of offline customers and online customers.
Land of 1,000 Doors
In a traditional offline retail setting, there’s one front door. All customers walk through that door to get into the store.
An online store could literally have thousands of doors. Most customers arrive through the home page. Typically more than half. But they could arrive through a landing page. A blog. A product page. Or some other page buried deep in your website.
Every page of your website is a door to your store.
The challenge is to provide a consistent experience, regardless of which door they use, and make it easy to find what your customer is looking for, whether they are lasers or browsers.
Provide a Clear Blueprint
Having a solid information architecture will help your customers find what they’re looking for.
Logical product categories, intuitive filter, sort and search functionality, breadcrumb navigation – little things like these make it easy for users to figure out where they are and where they need to go.
Visual consistency throughout the site is critical so users also know who you are and what you do.
Very often, we come into situations where marketing departments aren’t able to create and manage landing pages within their existing website, so they used apps like LeadPages and UnBounce to create pages.
Third party apps like these are great and can be helpful, but not if it means branding and site design get tossed out the window. No matter which door a customer enters through, you need to be consistent with your branding and site design.
Don’t Get Carried Away
Ecommerce stores present a lot of opportunities that don’t exist in a brick-and-mortar retail store.
You can build more traffic channels and customize them for specific categories or products. You can use tools like Optimizely to tailor the user experience according to user profiles and locations. You can even use analytics tools to gain insights into your customers – insights you could never get in a physical store.
But with the power of technology comes great responsibility.
Ecommerce stores are complex and challenging. The ecommerce customer’s journey shouldn’t be. Make that journey as easy and simple as possible.