Of all the things that people do online, online shopping is one of the most popular. In 2019 alone, sales from eCommerce rose by 14.9%. Since the industry is only projected to increase in the coming years, it's clear that those who invest in creating online shops are making the right choice.

As an eCommerce store owner, it's important that you appeal to your target audience to rise above the vast amount of competition that you have. Understanding the eCommerce customer journey is a huge part of making sure this happens.

Read on to learn what this means, the stages of this journey, and how you can track and increase your shop's success!

What Is the eCommerce Customer Journey?

The 'eCommerce customer journey' is a term used to refer to the stages of your customer's experience with your online business. The journey begins the moment that the customer learns about the product's existence and continues beyond the first time they make a purchase. The journey then continues assuming that you establish a relationship with the client and inspire brand loyalty.

This journey is important because it causes your customers to develop opinions of your business. These opinions can be positive or negative and are based on their interactions with your eCommerce shop. If you view these interactions as a 'journey' that's made up of several stages, you will spend more time and effort perfecting each part and therefore make the final entire journey better.

There are four main steps to the eCommerce customer journey. Each of these steps can be conceptualized as a gear in the machine that is the customer journey.


1. Reach

Each step in the customer journey should be considered the outcome of you solving a specific business challenge that eCommerce shops face. The 'reach' stage is the product of you solving problems with not getting enough web traffic. When your site isn't getting enough clicks, isn't SEO optimized, and isn't compatible with mobile devices, you're unlikely to get a desirable amount of traffic. 

To ensure that customers can experience the reach phase, you must promote your website more effectively. This means implementing SEO strategies, promoting your webpage on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, publishing engaging content, and making your site compatible with all platforms.

2. Engage

Once visitors make it to your website, you need to engage them. This is the second stage of the eCommerce customer journey.

There are a few business challenges that must be solved in order to get consumers to this stage. When visitors don't spend time on the website, don't look at multiple pages, and bounce, this is a sign that you aren't engaging your audience. The same applies for when the website loads slowly and visitors don't touch their carts.

You can solve these issues by structuring your site in a way that encourages customers to click around and explore. You also can put interesting visuals on pages that catch the eye and give enough information that people feel comfortable investing in your products.

3. Convert

So you've engaged your customers- great! It's time to convert that engagement into doing actionable things that benefit your business. Many businesses struggle with their conversion rates, but you can make shopping with you more attractive.

You need to stop customers from abandoning their carts and ordering less than average. This means simplifying the checkout process and providing accurate shipping prices to save the customer time. It also means optimizing payment methods and offering better prices than competitors.

Once you do that, you can convert your engagement to profit!

4. Nurture

After you've converted engagement and boosted your ROI, the customer journey still isn't over. Many businesses have a problem with customers never returning, too many guest checkouts (people who don't make accounts with you), and a lack of reviews being posted online. This ultimately needs to low enough customer satisfaction that the 'nurture' stage can't take place.

To solve this problem, you'll want to communicate with your customers even after making a purchase. Send emails with coupons to those that have bought from you before and encourage them to sign up for your site in exchange for a coupon code or small gift. Encourage them to leave reviews for your site and make it easy for them to do so.

Once that's done, your customers are sure to come back for more and take part in the eCommerce customer journey all over again!


Metrics for Tracking Progress

In order to improve the customer journey for your clients, you will need to know what you're doing right vs what you should improve on. This will let you see what areas of your webpage need to be updated and changed and how you can make them look more like the pages that get more clicks. To figure this out in a methodical way, you will need to track metrics on your website.

To track metrics, you will need a service like Google Analytics.  This versatile software allows you to see complete information on your website and helps you connect this information with strategies to boost your ROI. You can see almost every part of the eCommerce customer journey on this platform.

Track Your Visitors

The first thing that you should look at is how many overall visitors your web page gets. You should look at the number of visitors, but also the ways that they found your site.

Did they find it on social media or from an inbound link that another website posted on their page? Did they find it via a Google search? What keywords did they enter into the search engine? This will help you understand your traffic and show you whether or not you need to invest in more social media services. It will also show you whether you should use different keywords on your page.

Recognize Your Bounce Rate

When you see the overall number of people visiting your site, you will want to assess how many of them are actually sticking around to look at your products. Since you only have about 15 seconds to engage your audience, a high bounce rate may indicate that you need to update your homepage or optimize your navigation system.

You also should look into what pages people usually look at before they choose to bounce. This will help you discover which of your products are disinteresting to consumers and should be deprioritized.

Look Into Conversions

Conversion rate is a  metric that tracks the amount of time that someone does something productive after interacting with your off-page content. Basically, when someone interacts with an ad or free product listing that you have posted, it can be said to have 'converted' if they take an action that you have previously defined as valuable to your business.

For eCommerce shops, this usually means making an online purchase. However, valuable action can also include following you on social media, contacting you via your landing page, or signing up for your shop's newsletter.

Discover Average Orders Per Customer

Because nurturing loyalty and drawing in repeat customers is an essential part of the eCommerce customer journey, it's important that you track the average amount of purchases that each person makes. You can do this without any external analytics software- simply check how many purchases were made by one customer account.

This will let you find out how good you are at customer retention. Because you can also track where the customers that make purchases found your page from (ads, social media, search engines, etc), you can figure out what marketing efforts have the greatest ROI.


How Can You Improve Your Customer's Experience?

To improve your customer's experience, you will need to take specific action based on the metrics that you see. Each of the most important actions is done for the purpose of ensuring that each stage in the customer journey is positive and successful. Ultimately, this will inspire brand loyalty and increase your ROI.

Perform Social Media Outreach (Reach)

One thing you can do to reach out to customers is to use social media appropriately. Since 3.8 billion people worldwide use social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you will be more successful at engaging users here than anywhere else. Create a page on each of these platforms and upload information about your business to them. Make sure that you keep your DMs open so that customers can reach out and ask questions.

Use services like Facebook Ads to find the right audience. You will enter a budget and the demographics (age, gender, occupation) of your eCommerce shop's target audience. The PPC ad that you want to show off will be displayed to the most relevant users who will click it and be redirected to your website. On Twitter, you can pin properly-tagged posts to get the word of your shop out there.

As for your page, keep it up-to-date. Like pages similar to yours without being your direct competitors to foster relationships with shops that might help promote your business. Post frequent images, videos, promotions, and links to your official website to remind your followers about your business frequently.

Create High-Quality, SEO-Optimized Content (Reach & Engage)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating content to your page that's rich in high-traffic keywords and links to relevant websites. The goal of SEO is to make your page more appealing for search engine crawlers.

These crawlers will see keywords and associate you with relevant searches. They also will see the links to reputable sources that are incorporated in your post and believe you to be reputable as well. This leads to them boosting you to the top of Google.

Since 92% of people don't go past the first page in Google, this is a surefire way to reach your audience. It also segues them into the 'engage' stage of the eCommerce customer journey because they can see engaging content the moment that they click on your site.

Enhance Your Website's Navigation (Engage)

We brushed on the idea of encouraging site exploration, but only as a vague concept. It can be achieved specifically by making sure that the page has a good navigation system. This means including sections for different types of products and tabs under each section so that each buyer can find exactly what they're looking for. It also means including a search bar for those who know exactly what they want (because they saw it on your site earlier.)

A good navigation page saves customers time and makes them less likely to get frustrated. This lowers your bounce rate substantially.

Ensure Fast Load Speeds (Engage)

Like poor navigation pages, slow-to-load sites are incredibly frustrating for consumers. Luckily, this can be easily fixed so that customers have the opportunity to further engage with your website. Combining files and minimizing HTTP requirements are two simple and highly effective ways to make your site load faster.

Don't Overlook Video Content (Engage & Convert)

Did you know that 73% of consumers are more likely to invest in a service after viewing a video about it?

Well, it's true. This means that video content isn't only essential to engagement- it's necessary for conversion. Embed videos showcasing new or popular products on the home page of your eCommerce shop. Make sure that you show these products from multiple angles and provide some facts and figures on how they're the best on the market.

You may also want to use animated infographics if you have numeric or textual data to showcase. This will be much more memorable to customers than simply reading a paragraph about your store.

Nurture Customer Relations Post-Purchasing (Nurture)

There are a variety of ways to ensure that customers get the most out of the 'nurture' stage of their journey. These strategies include:

  • Encouraging customers to leave reviews
  • Making those reviews visible on your website's home page
  • Sending direct emails to your previous customers asking for feedback
  • Sending those same customers coupon codes and exclusive promotions for future services
  • Continuing to engage with old and new clients alike on social media
  • Displaying PPC ads to those who have already shopped with you

This will help you nurture client relationships well into the future and inspire brand loyalty.


Start Engaging Consumers Today

Now that you know all about the eCommerce customer journey and how you can improve it for your site's guests, it's time to get started. Create a free online store with 3dcart so that you can begin selling and marketing your original goods. Our platform is committed to helping you sell your products to your target audience and give them the best consumer experience possible.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!