Your ecommerce website customer journey is unique to your business. There is not a single user experience solution that will improve the customer journey across all ecommerce websites, but you can follow these helpful tips to improve UX on your site.
The 3 stages of the customer journey
All sales cycles regardless of product or service includes, at the very least, these three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. For the sake of ecommerce, we will refer to the stages as: Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase.
During the awareness stage, the customer begins actively searching for the product or service they are interested in purchasing and are introduced to your ecommerce website. Customers can find your ecommerce website several different ways, including your paid advertising campaigns, social media, and customer reviews.
Next is the consideration stage, when the customer has already completed the basic research to find your ecommerce website, but they have other options to buy from as well. During this stage, the customer is doing further research to see what sets you apart from your competitors. They will probably be looking through your website, your competitors sites, and third-party sites for reviews.
If the customer makes it to the purchasing stage, they have decided they are making the purchase, but it does not necessarily mean they are purchasing from you. It’s important to think about the user’s experience in each stage in an effort to continue to push through the sales cycle.
What is UX and why does it matter?
User experience, or UX, is the overall usability of your website, how easy it is for a user to navigate your site, find what they are looking for, and seamless processes, such as for checkout and customer service.
And why does it matter? UX describes the level of quality of everything you want a user to do on your website. If there is poor UX, users could leave your site, abandon or cancel their order, and maybe even leave a poor review.
User experience doesn’t just describe functionality, design is just as important. When 38% of users will leave a site if the layout is unappealing and 39% will stop engaging if images don’t load fast enough, it’s important to design your site around UX as well.
Now that you know what UX is, let’s dig deeper into how you can improve UX on your ecommerce website for each stage of the sales cycle.
You’re going to want to do some type of advertising to capture consumers in the awareness stage. The way you advertise is going to depend on your product and target audience, but social media is always a good place to start. Users can buy straight from your advertisement in “Shoppable” Instagram posts; brands who have used this feature have seen amazing results, such as 2,666% increase in Instagram traffic. So... it’s probably worth a shot.
Advertising on social media is a two-for-one solution during the awareness stage, it allows you to grow your fanbase (as you can see from the 2,666% increase in Instagram traffic) and grow your sales. 77% of consumers say that authentic customer photos have a larger impact on their purchasing decisions than polished marketing photography. If that fact tells us anything, it’s that you should use customer photography in your advertising efforts and influence customers to leave detailed product reviews with photos.
Customer product reviews help build loyalty and trust in your brand and product. Consumers trust other people more than they trust your brand, especially if they’ve never purchased from you before, and product reviews can make or break this stage of the customer journey. Shopify reports that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site if it has products reviews and ratings displayed.
Product reviews are also essential to the consideration stage, as this is the stage when consumers actively look through your website to differentiate you from your competition. At this stage, you want to give the consumer every possible reason to buy from you, and when 70% of customers consult product reviews before making a purchase, incorporating product reviews to your website would add considerably to their user experience.
In addition to product reviews, providing quality product descriptions will improve UX during the consideration stage. You should always write detailed product descriptions that include information on sizes, material used, texture, color, etc. Just think about all five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) and describe those that apply. Then, taking it a step further will help differentiate your products from competitors.
Videos are a great way to show off your products and allow customers to see more than what just a photo would show them. You can use a product video to showcase all of the angles of your product, how it would work worn or in use, or how to assemble it. 49% of shoppers say their least favorite part of online shopping is not being able to to physically touch the product, so using video content can alleviate this stress from their shopping experience. The more product information you can provide the customer, the better their user experience will be.
In the purchase stage, the customer is going to purchase the product somewhere, but not necessarily from you. Now, you’re going to need to ensure your website’s UX is excellent, as there are a lot of points in the purchase stage that you can lose the sale.
First, make sure that your website’s security is top-notch. You don’t need to be an ecommerce website to have an SSL certificate (this is the HTTPS and padlock in your URL), in fact, all pages on all websites should have the SSL certificate, as Google prioritizes these websites in searches. It makes for a more secure user experience and allows users to have peace of mind while browsing your website. Users will be wary to continue on through your site or input any personal information if you are missing this point of security.
In addition to an SSL certificate, you should look into other third-party cybersecurity features to integrate into your ecommerce website. The more security the user can see (this includes badges displayed on site and lock symbols), the more they will trust your business.
When the customer does choose to buy from you, they are going to want a smooth, quick checkout process. The less steps, the better. Try to keep your checkout process to just one screen, it can increase your conversion rates by 10%. Allowing digital wallet payments like PayPal or Masterpass is another way to speed up the checkout process and decrease the amount of steps shoppers need to take.
An average of 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. It’s a common habit among online shoppers and it doesn’t always mean they left because of your website’s UX, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to enhance the shopper’s experience in order to prevent this from happening. Integrating a cart abandonment strategy to your website can save some of those purchases. You can send customized emails that include couponing or promotions, or because it’s saved for the user, they might come back on their own and decide to make the purchase as long as their items are still readily available in their shopping cart.
Now put it all together
Within the three stages of the customer’s journey, they will touch a lot of points of your website and interact with your advertisement and social media. Be sure you’re continuously strengthening UX everywhere that it matters so you don’t lose potential customers throughout the stages of their buying journey. Learn more about how Electric Enjin helps ecommerce websites develop a strong customer journey.