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What Kind of Ecommerce Shopper Journey Are You Creating?

The moment an online shopper clicks “Confirm Purchase” is just one tiny slice of their  buying excursion. A consumer’s experience with your brand begins long before they enter your website and ends well after they’ pay for their chosen purchase. It helps to think of the entire experience as a narrative arc—and it’s crucial to offer a smooth experience from start to finish. Tribulations along the way can cause a customer to exit your site prematurely.

From time to time, ecommerce leaders have to sit back and ask themselves what kind of ecommerce shopper journey they’re creating. If there are rough spots, it pays to address them as quickly as possible for the sake of your bottom line and reputation.

Check Your Site Load Times

Ecommerce is on the rise, as is the usage of mobile devices for online shopping. Slow site load times can repel customers before they even get a chance to shop your product catalogue or learn more about your brand. Curious about how long mobile users will wait before exiting? According to one Kissmetrics infographic, most online users say they’d wait six to 10 seconds before abandoning a page (30 percent). Still, 16 percent of survey respondents would only wait one to five seconds, and others claim they’d wait less than one second for the page to load (3 percent).

As online shopping becomes more prevalent, people expect results faster and everything from your choice of an ecommerce platform to your image sizing can affect load times. Knowing this, you should do whatever it takes to start the customer’s journey off strong with a quick load in a highly readable format.

Streamline Website Navigation

Online stores must walk the tightrope between offering customers too much information on their website and offering too little. Both extremes will hinder efficient site navigation, possibly prompting shoppers to simply leave. You see, a huge component of the customer journey hinges on the shoppers’ ability to navigate your website and end up in the desired place. Difficulty finding the products and services they need will encourage shoppers to terminate the transaction.

A good website is a must in any industry. If you start a furniture business, you’ll need a well-designed website to help consumers find the products they seek. Your main navigation bar should include furniture broken into categories (like “Tables”) or rooms (like “Bedroom Furniture”) with dropdown menus to more specific choices. You should also have a search bar as a shortcut to specific wants and needs. Remember: Your website is the map leading site visitors to your product lineup, also known as their destination. Site architecture matters in the grand scheme of the shopping journey.

De-Clutter the Checkout Process

Once your customer has a product in their cart, you’ve got the sale in the bag, right? Not quite. Approximately 75 percent of all shopping carts are abandoned. To reduce the chances of repelling customers this late in the process, make your checkout process as simple as possible (without sacrificing cybersecurity principles, of course). Allow visitors to expedite checkout by only asking them to create an account after they’ve paid.

Optimize Post-Purchase Experience

Your relationship with your customers is ongoing, even after they complete a purchase. Make sure their post-purchase experience, including follow-up customer service and returns, goes just as well as the actual buying did. A thorough ecommerce journey, including after-purchase communication, means shoppers will be more willing to stay loyal to your brand and repeat a transaction in the future. Reliable product delivery through a 3PL partner (third-party logistics) is also critical.

When was the last time you asked yourself what kind of an ecommerce shopper journey you’re creating? To make it the best it can be, always prioritize the customer experience before, during and after buying.