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eCommerce Customer Journey Mapping – The Secret to Higher Conversion Rates



eCommerce business owners often struggle to find answers behind incomplete customer journeys and cart abandonments. Is there an issue with the lack of interest in the product catalog or is it the UI/UX that is breaking the customer experience? What offsets a customer from making a purchase? How do you know what went wrong? The first step forward is to consider eCommerce customer journey mapping.

eCommerce customer journey mapping is essential for businesses as it helps to track the steps a customer follows to perform an action on your website or the app. The journey maps help identify the impediments across the touchpoints and devices and understand the visitor’s psychology, which, in turn, lends a hand at mending the broken parts of the customer experience.

Without eCommerce customer journey mapping, you will be strolling the street blindfolded while ignoring the visitor’s pain points.

Here’s everything about how to track customers across touchpoints using eCommerce customer journey mapping.

What is an eCommerce Customer Journey?

An eCommerce customer journey is a path that the customer follows to interact with your brand across platforms, channels, and touchpoints.

This path is anything from entering the platform, exploring, performing the intended action, and exiting.

What is eCommerce Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey maps can be referred to as visual representations (hypothetical/real-time) of steps a customer follows when interacting with your digital commerce platform. This holistic view can help gather a lot of essential data about both the delights and disappointments that the customers experience. Thus, enabling customer service to resolve queries faster and effectively.

Tracking customer journey in eCommerce helps answer:

  • At what stage/touchpoint did you lose a visitor?
  • What is the element that contributed to a bad customer experience?
  • What channel brings you the most traffic and sales?

We can say that creating an eCommerce journey map is about surveying the entire pathway to the ideal customer’s destination and mending all the cracks that you encounter on the way. This, in turn, helps improve the frequency of purchases across channels.

What are the Stages of Customer Journey?

Before moving ahead with eCommerce journey mapping, it is a good idea to understand the different customer journey stages.

Here’s an overview of these stages:

1. Awareness Stage

Objective: To make your target audience aware of your brand and what you are offering

Awareness promotes the discoverability of your brand. For instance, if you post an advertisement online, awareness will ensure that your potential customers come across that advertisement and get to know your businesses’ existence.

2. Consideration Stage

Objective: To offer the best first-time customer experience across the website/app

When a customer first visits your website or app and browses through the catalog, it is the consideration stage. Here, they will skim through the platform and make an impression of your brand based on your offerings and experience design.

3. Acquisition Stage

Objective: To offer a simplified customer experience when a customer decides to make a purchase

At this stage, the customer decides to move ahead with the purchase and they add the product to the cart, make the payment, and receive acknowledgment for the same. The process continues until the product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep

4. Service Stage

Objective: To offer a good after-sales service to the converted customers

If a customer decides to exchange/return the product, the option should be available on the website/app to trigger the request. The after-sales service experience counts equally when evaluating customer satisfaction.

5. Loyalty Stage

Objective: To continue targeting the converted customers on a frequent basis

To ensure that a customer returns and makes a purchase again, they should be sent newsletters, discount coupons, and push notifications. Also, customers should be occasionally asked for their feedback and ratings. This greatly helps in making a customer for life.

Why is eCommerce Customer Journey Mapping Important?

Without customer journey maps for eCommerce, the gap between the customers and the retail brands will continue to persist.

The experience and expectation gap in the retail industry is around 21%. – PWC

eCommerce customer journey mapping aims to ensure that your customers have a seamless and consistent customer experience at all touchpoints. It boils down to understanding the customers and building ongoing communication with them across marketing channels.

Here are the benefits of customer journey mapping for your business:

  • Helps gain insight into the broken parts of the customer experience
  • Understand what are the pain points of the customers and what adds to the delightful experience
  • Helps in prioritizing rework based on customer journey stages

How to Create a Customer Journey Map?

Different methods for mapping eCommerce customer journey are:

1. Analytical Approach

You can easily find customer journey mapping tools that help you improve your customer experience with analytics. These data analytics tools can do everything – to where does the customer belong? How much time did they spend on the website? What made them abandon their cart? What page were your customers on when they abandoned you?

Google Analytics, for instance, could prove to be helpful here. Another tool, BrandMentions, helps you track the number of times your eCommerce brand was mentioned on any of the trending social media platforms. Where the positive mentions can motivate you, the negative ones could be your chance to make things better.

2. Heatmaps

Heatmap is a data visualization technique that helps understand how users act when interacting with your website. It provides an in-depth insight into — where customers look, on what part of the page they spend their time on, how far they scroll, and how much time they spend on the platform.

You can implement the heatmap strategy as you A/B test across the website. This will help understand the user behavior and what they like and dislike about the experience design. Leveraging heatmap tools such as Hotjar can help you move ahead with the process.

3. Leverage Surveys

When a customer gets added as a subscriber, you can consider emailing them surveys that help capture their experience with the website. These surveys should target questions related to customer experience.

The survey results will help gather vital information about how customers are perceiving your online brand — based on which — you can further introduce new changes that mend the broken experiences.

Components of a Customer Journey Map Template

Knowing your customers is the first step towards creating a flawless customer experience for them. As a part of the customer journey mapping process, being aware of the five components of your customers becomes essential. These include:

1. Buyer Personas

The buyer personas are profiles of your visitors/customers that hold their source to the information buried in your databases. Creating them might seem unnecessary and taxing, but it is truly what will offer value on a long-term basis.

While creating these buyer personas, remember to categorize them based on the following dimensions:
Demographic Dimension – This explains who the buyer is based on the persona’s location, gender, age, income, or even marital status.

Psychographic Dimension – This part explains why the persona wants to buy from you. It primarily covers the spending habits, needs, social media presence, and expectations from the brand.
Together, these dimensions help create a buyer persona that holds information about your existing and new customers.

2. Expectations

This part highlights the expectations of the buyer personas when they interact with your website. What are they looking for? How do they expect the interface to look? How do they expect the interface to respond?

3. Journey Stages

These cover all the stages a user passes through when interacting with the eCommerce website/app. In your eCommerce business context, these stages include — awareness, consideration, acquisition, service, and loyalty (discussed in detail in the above section).

4. Mindset and Emotions

What the visitor does and feels when interacting with your eCommerce interface needs to be analyzed too. Are they optimistic? What perception do they have about your brand? Are they feeling angry, excited, or frustrated with the experience?

5. Opportunities

The insights that you gather from the earlier steps point towards the opportunities you create to make things better. It is more about how you plan to move forward with all the new information at hand.

Here’s a customer journey map template that covers all the five components discussed above.

What Are Some Best Practices for eCommerce Customer Journey Mapping?

It might seem to be a difficult task to include all user groups in your customer journey model. Millions of customers, thousands of personas, and hundreds of minutes. So, how do you know all your customers?

Here are some tips and tricks that could help you down the line:

  • Create a customer journey framework for the primary customers, i.e., your target audience. This is possible by researching your target groups well.
  • Leverage the power of CRMs to enhance the customer experience. They can significantly help streamline sales processes.
  • Do not adopt the hit-and-trial approach by presuming to read the minds of your customers. Do involve your real customers.
  • Pick up the weak points from the customer journey maps for eCommerce and try to optimize the customer journey. Because personal touch ranks above all when attracting loyal customers.
  • Do not rely on one customer persona alone. Like, David may have a different objective, and Leena might have another. You need to have separate maps for both as both fall under a diverse target group altogether.

Conclusion

eCommerce customer journey mapping can act as a reality check for businesses that fail to realize the shortcomings in their customer experience. With these revelations and the implemented solutions, you can be sure of offering a customer experience that mirrors your brand promise.

Creating customer journey maps offer a win-win situation, where customers get to experience a flawless journey, and businesses get to see a startling conversion rate. Moreover, as more offline stores are moving towards online stores and vice-versa, customer journey maps become even more critical to offer an omnichannel experience throughout.

Mapping customer journeys is indeed the first step towards diminishing flaws and fostering your brand’s relationship with the customers.

Shaveta Wadhwa

About the Author

Shaveta Wadhwa works as a Tech Lead (PHP) at Net Solutions. She has over eight years of experience in PHP and has worked on eCommerce platforms such as Magento, CMS, such as Wordpress and Drupal, and frameworks like CakePHP and CodeIgniter. Shaveta is a Magento Certified developer who loves debugging codes and finds herself always up for problem-solving.

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