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Optimizing the Customer Journey for eCommerce Businesses

Optimizing the Customer Journey for eCommerce Businesses

Customers are at the core of ecommerce efforts – and the way that they progress through a website is what stands between a successful experience, and one that leaves them feeling less than satisfied. Delivering a positive customer journey across every touchpoint and channel is the ultimate goal for online merchants who strive to delight and gratify shoppers.

Beyond just marketing-speak or a fancy sounding industry buzzword, the “customer journey” is a vital element of a successful ecommerce strategy. Like any trip, the journey can be short – for example, a customer goes directly to a website knowing the exact product they want, and within a few clicks, places an order. For the majority of ecommerce experiences, however, there are several micro-actions at play that have a direct impact on the shopper’s overall satisfaction with the entire process - from start to finish. Each of these areas can be shaped by savvy merchants who decide to take advantage of a cross-platform strategy designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience at every stage.

According to Salesforce’s 2017 “State of Marketing Report,” 67% percent of marketing leaders believe that creating a customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to their success. The goal is to understand your customers fully and then cater every interaction you have with them to encourage them along in their journey – from discovery, through to purchase and then post-purchase care and support.

These interactions define your one-to-one relationship with customers and position you for success. This is where technology comes into play and helps to support your efforts in attracting and satisfying customers. OSF Commerce has developed several products that will support you in unifying your sales, marketing, service, and operations teams and positioning you for success in engaging your customers at every step of their journey.

Attract

Awareness and discoverability are where it all begins. If shoppers can’t find you or don’t know that you sell what they’re looking for, the customer journey is cut short, and they’ll be looking for your competitors to meet their needs. To know if your efforts are paying off and whether you’re adequately attracting people to your site, you’ll want to be measuring traffic to your website.

A great way to draw shoppers to your ecommerce site is by developing interesting and useful content published to a blog. It’s the ideal way to share your personality, showcase your products and provide valuable information to readers. It’s important to note that, 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog.

If you are using WordPress, BlogLINK is a tool that helps you to unify your content and commerce. Keep your audience engaged on the same platform while you seamlessly manage content for the Commerce Cloud platform using your WordPress powered blog as a CMS.

Engage

Encouraging sustained and meaningful interaction with your website is the ultimate goal for any merchant. This can be measured through metrics such as engagement rate, bounce rate, time on page, and pages visited during the session.

Knowing what shoppers are doing on your site in the first place is crucial to gaining insight on how you can engage with them. Their browsing activities present a robust set of data that you can act upon to sell, upsell and cross-sell. Customer BEHAVIOR TRACKER is a LINK cartridge that connects Google Tag Manager with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The resulting benefits from using this product are reducing page loading times gained from centralizing your website’s tags in one container, having the ability to provide increased conversions, offering greater customer satisfaction with your website, and obtaining more page views. Using the Google Analytics conversion tracking tag and other built-in transactional triggers, you’re able to track every action that your customers take on your site and increase retention by rewarding them with special promotions based on their behavior.

Gaining a 360-degree view of your customer is at the core of any personalization efforts you may wish to undertake to keep your clients engaged with your site. Being able to access complete profiles containing information synchronized from in-store activities and the ecommerce site into Salesforce’s Sales, Marketing, Service, and Community Clouds ensures that you are well-positioned to recommend products that are relevant and of interest to shoppers. OSF UnifyCOMMERCE unifies the Salesforce Clouds and helps you to both put the customer at the center of your ecommerce strategy to gain additional sales revenue and positive brand sentiment.

Convert

At this step of the process, your main aim is to help shoppers to purchase from your website. To measure your success in these two areas, you’ll want to look at the number of products that have been added to your shopper’s carts, as well as the conversion rate for your website.

One way to encourage sales is to ensure that there’s a persistent shopping cart available on your site. OSF UnifyCOMMERCE helps to unite the consumer’s journey outside of the Commerce Cloud storefront and keeps them from dropping off along the way. You’ll encourage conversions by offering a shopping cart that is visible and within reach at all times. In addition, you’ll have access to real-time information across both Community and Commerce Cloud – saving you time from switching from website to website.

Another method you can use to encourage conversions is to contextualize the shopping experience you offer. Suggesting recommended or related products when a customer is looking at a particular category or product type helps to influence the purchasing decision. Research conducted by both Gartner and Forrester show that product recommendations can increase revenue by up to 300%, conversion rates by 150%, and the average order value by 50%. It’s clear that it’s worth investigating this strategy to see what benefit this has on your ecommerce site.

Nurture

Now that your customer has gone through the process listed above and has selected items from your online store, you’ll want to move into the nurturing phase to keep them interested. They’ve already opted in to receive information from you, and a well-timed email can be just the thing to ensure that they complete their purchase. 63% of abandoned shopping cart merchandise is recoverable, so it’s vital that you transform these lost sales into real earnings. OSF CartUP allows you to send cart recovery emails directly from your Business Manager dashboard. Insert highly personalized promotions and discounts into these emails to further incentivize customers to return.

Close

Purchasing can be seen as the ‘closing’ step of the customer’s journey. The KPI’s you’ll be examining at this stage include the number of orders placed, the amount of revenue generated, and the number of customers that return to your website after purchasing from you.

The checkout stage of the buyer’s journey must be as easy as possible to eliminate confusion or frustration on the part of the customer. Like a broken wheel on a shopping cart at the local grocery store, an online cart isn’t much use if it’s slow, difficult to use or doesn’t get you to where you want to go.

One Page CHECKOUT assists you in consolidating the checkout process from three pages down to one, leveraging an improved user interface to deliver a reduction in the number of abandoned carts and an increase in conversion and retention rates. Better checkout design has been seen to help a large-sized ecommerce site gain a 35.26% increase in their conversion rate. It’s been recorded that 27% of online shoppers have abandoned an order due to a “too long or complicated” checkout process.

Delight

Delighting shoppers extends past the checkout phase into the post-purchase phase of the buyer’s journey. Smart ORDER REFILL empowers your clientele with the ability to automate the purchase process for individual products they wish to replenish on a regular basis. This simplifies their busy schedule and ensures that they always have their preferred products on hand. Loyalty is secured because you are giving special consideration to their needs by providing them with this service.

It’s important to note that the customer journey process isn’t always linear since human behavior can’t easily be predicted. A shopper can immediately click on a stylish faux-fur hat – adding it to their cart, only to get carried away with something else and leaving the product to sit for days – weeks – or months. It’s your responsibility to meet their needs – or suffer the consequences of losing your valued shopper to a brand who is better positioned to know what they’re looking for. What causes them to leave the hat for a week, return to your site to purchase it – or get frustrated with you when the hat has sold out when they log back in is all part of the customer’s journey. You have more control over the outcome than you think if you employ data-driven strategies to improve your sales and marketing communications. Let the revenue roll in!

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