Purchase journeys looked like this linear structure a while ago: Awareness-Consideration-Purchase.
Consumer journeys are constantly evolving and more so, with the advent of social media, smart phones and innumerable choices.
‘Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments. People turn to their devices to get immediate answers. And every time they do, they are expressing intent and reshaping the traditional marketing funnel along the way.’
Source: Think Google
What does this mean?
- Consumer journeys are no longer linear. Consumers don’t just land on an eCommerce brand’s homepage, surf through the products and make a purchase – all in one go!
- Most purchases happen after a number of touch-points. According to Google sometimes as many as 28 touch points are required to make one purchase.
So what is consumer journey?
Consumer journey is simply, the various stages a customer goes through from discovering/ brand awareness of a brand’s product or service to finally purchasing it.
However, it’s important to map out this journey from initial awareness to consideration to final purchase.
Mapping this journey can help in:
- Identifying the key channels and/or touch points that are leading to that purchase
- Buying behaviour process. How’s your customer moving from one channel to the other? How are they interacting & engaging with each channel and finally, which channel/s is finally converting best?
- Most importantly, identify the gaps in the buying process. Where are your customers dropping off? What are the lost opportunities?
Traditionally, this is how consumers flow through the different stages of buying:
- Awareness: A customer becomes aware of a brand
- Consideration: After research, that particular product from a few brands comes into their consideration
- Purchase: Finally, after weighing options, the customer buys that product
This is how it’s evolving:
As an eCommerce business owner you’d know that customers see your ad on Google or Facebook, or on Instagram. And after seeing it a few times, they’d click to your product page, maybe, even add to cart (to abandon it immediately). After a few days of retargeting, they might even make a purchase.
And this customer journey is unique to each customer. Unpredictable, different and challenging for an eCommerce business owner or marketer.
Google indicates that an estimated 85% of shoppers begin the purchasing process on a different device than the one they ultimate use to make the purchase.
Many eCommerce brands struggle to map, understand, analyse and act on this shifting consumer journey.
As an eCommerce brand, it’s important to first of all, get tracking tools such as Google Analytics implemented on your website.
Mapping out eCommerce customer’s journey:
Understanding behavior flow
It’s important to understand, how customers are moving around your eCommerce store. What pages do your visitors visit apart from the homepage. Are they spending too much time on the FAQ pages? Where are the drop-offs happening?
Google Analytics will help find & track these trends.
- Understanding where’s the e-Commerce store getting maximum traffic from
Potential customers might be visiting the website from various different traffic sources: Facebook or Instagram., Google Ads, YouTube or simply organic.
With changing consumer journey, consumers keep going back to different channels to do their research. For example, you run a women’s swimwear brand, and the customer saw your ad on Instagram, and later did a Google search of your brand, on their desktop. And finally, made a purchase after seeing a Facebook ad on their mobile.
So, what does all this mean for an eCommerce brand?
- It’s important to understand how customers are interacting with your eCommerce store. Where are they coming from, where are they dropping off? What’s making them stick around?
- Providing value at each stage of the funnel is important. Don’t think your job ends after the customer has made that one purchase. Get an understanding of their lifetime value and how you can leverage upon this as a brand. For it’s always cheaper to resell to an existing customer than acquiring a new one!
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